Heart Conscious Shopping List

January 26, 2010 1:30:13 PM PST
A good rule of thumb when shopping at the grocery store is to stay along the outer perimeter. That’s usually where the healthier options are located. The interior aisles tend to be filled with foods that have added sugar, salt or sodium preservatives – products that have a longer shelf life.

Fruit and Vegetables

  • It can’t be said enough: Eat plenty of fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables a day.
  • Pick a variety of vegetables and fruits that are deeply colored throughout (spinach, carrots, peaches, etc.).
  • Check labels of canned foods for sodium content and select foods with little or no salt (sodium).
  • Choose low-fat desserts such as fresh, dried or canned fruit.

Dairy, Eggs and Butter

  • Always select fat-free or low-fat milk.
  • Choose fat-free or low-fat cheese (e.g., low-fat cottage cheese) that is made from skim or low-fat milk instead of full-fat cheese (made from whole or 2% milk).
  • Use egg whites or egg substitutes, instead of egg yolks.
  • Choose a “zero trans fat” tub margarine or spread instead of butter or stick margarine.

Meat, Poultry, Fish and Nuts

  • Eat one serving of grilled or baked fish at least twice a week. Fish is high in omega-3 fatty acids, which may help lower your risk of death from coronary artery disease.
  • Choose red meat and pork labeled “loin” and “round,” which have the least amount of fat. Buy “choice” or “select” grades of beef rather than “prime” and be sure to trim the fat off the edges.
  • When eating poultry, choose the leaner light meat (breast) rather than the fattier dark meat (legs and thighs) and remove the skin.
  • Select meat substitutes, when possible, such as beans, peas, lentils or tofu in entrees, salads or soups.
  • Eat nuts and seeds as a snack or as a topping on a salad, but remember to eat them in moderation, as they tend to be high in calories.

Breads, Cereals & Baked Goods

  • Choose whole-grain, high-fiber foods, such as whole-wheat breads and rolls, brown rice, oatmeal and popcorn.
  • Limit the amount of commercially baked or fried foods you eat like donuts, pies, cookies and crackers.

Oils, Dressings, Shortening and More

  • Use fats and oils in limited amounts.  Always select those lowest in saturated fat, Trans fat and cholesterol when cooking.  Oils lower in saturated fat tend to be liquid at room temperature, except for tropical oils (coconut and palm oils) that are high in saturated fat.
  • Cut back on foods containing partially hydrogenated vegetable oils to reduce Trans fats in your diet.  Trans fats are found in many foods – but especially in fried foods and baked goods, such as French fries, fried chicken, cookies, crackers, doughnuts, pastries, muffins, cakes, pie crusts, biscuits and other foods made with partially hydrogenated vegetables oils, shortening or hard margarine

For more information please visit www.heart.org/thefacts