Your heart health starts right at home! What you have in your fridge and pantry will help ensure you stay healthy and keep your heart happy. Going into a grocery store can be overwhelming without understanding what to buy, that’s why we have some tips that you can use to make your next shopping list.
Tip #1: Start with the perimeter! Most grocery stores surround their store with its fruits, vegetables, dairy, and meats. This will ensure you are eating more fresh foods and less processed foods. The more fruits and vegetables the better! When choosing dairy products, make sure to choose skim milk and low fat yogurts and cheeses. Always choose leans meats chicken and turkey and eat red meats in moderation. Fish is a great source of Omega-3’s, which can beneficial for improving your heart health.
Tip #2: The nutrition facts label is your best friend! Use it to avoid products that are high in fat, especially saturated and trans-fatty acids. These fats increase your bad cholesterol and triglycerides and increase your risk of a heart attack and stroke. In addition to that, avoid products with cholesterol and sodium. A general rule is to choose products that have less than 5% of the daily value of all the above. Obviously 0% is the best! Choose products that are high (20% of the daily value) in vitamins and mineral as well as fiber, which can help lower your cholesterol.
Tip #3: Choose foods with the Heart check mark! This is the official symbol that the American Heart Association uses on products that are certified heart healthy that can be found on packaged foods. But if the heart check mark is not there make sure to read the nutrition label!
Tip #4: Prepare before you go shopping! Have you ever been to grocery store hungry? This makes you want to buy everything that you are craving. Make sure to go shopping after eating a meal or a snack. Also make sure to go to the grocery store prepared with a list of items that you know are heart healthy. You can find heart healthy recipes online to help you come up with the list of items you might need.
Following these few tips will help you fill your cart with heart healthy foods and leave no space for the other junk. Happy shopping!
Written By guest blogger Maryam Mahmood, Dietetic Intern from Oklahoma State University