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Stock a heart-healthy kitchen

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Do you want to eat a heart-healthy diet, but aren't sure what staples you should keep in your home? With the help of this heart-healthy kitchen essentials guide, you can start stocking up on nutritious foods to help you reduce your risk of heart disease.

Fresh fruits and vegetables:
  • Fresh seasonal fruits including berries, oranges, apples, pears, bananas, mangoes and grapes
  • Dried fruits such as raisins, dried cranberries, dates and dried apricots
  • Fresh seasonal vegetables including yellow, green and red bell peppers, cucumbers, broccoli,  kale, escarole, cauliflower, tomatoes, dark leafy greens, celery, eggplant, zucchini, yellow squash, acorn squash, spaghetti squash and many others
Dairy and dairy alternatives:
  • Skim or 1% milk
  • Soymilk (plain, unsweetened, vanilla or chocolate)
  • Low-fat or non-fat buttermilk
  • Non-fat half and half or non-fat creamers
  • Non-fat or reduced-fat cheese (bricks, slices or shredded)
  • Soy-based cheeses (bricks, slices, or shredded)
  • Non-fat or light cream cheese
  • Non-fat or 1% fat cottage cheese or ricotta cheese
  • Non-fat or 1% fat yogurt (includes fruited, vanilla or plain)
  • Soy-based yogurts
  • Non-fat sour cream
  • Egg substitutes or egg whites
Fats and cooking oils:
  • Assorted raw nuts and seeds (almonds, walnuts, peanuts, sunflower seeds or sesame seeds)
  • Whole or ground flaxseeds
  • Assorted cooking oils (olive, canola, walnut, grapeseed, peanut and sesame)
  • Non-fat cooking sprays (e.g. Spectrum Naturals, PAM)
  • Baking fat replacements (e.g. pureed prunes, applesauce or Smucker's Healthy Bake)
  • Non-hydrogenated shortening (e.g. Spectrum Naturals)
  • Trans-free liquid or tub margarine (e.g. Take Control, Benecol, Fleishmann's Light or Smart Balance)
  • Reduced fat or non-fat salad dressings
Herbs, seasonings and spices:

Leave the salt container on the countertop. Here are some fabulous seasonings that everyone should stock in their kitchens:

  • Allspice, basil, bay leaves, black pepper, caraway seeds, cayenne and chili powder
  • Chinese five-spice, cinnamon, cloves, coriander, cumin and curry powder
  • Dill, garlic powder, ground ginger, Italian seasoning, marjoram and mint
  • Nutmeg, onion powder, oregano, paprika and parsley
  • Red pepper flakes, rosemary and reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • Assorted sodium-free Mrs. Dash seasonings
  • Splenda, Equal, Nutra Sweet, Sugar Twin and/or Brown Sugar Twin (sugar substitutes)
  • Sugar-free or "light" maple syrups
  • Honey
  • Brown rice syrup for a sweetening alternative to use when baking
Pantry essentials:
  • Dried beans (lentils, split peas, garbanzo beans and black beans)
  • Assorted canned beans such as lentils, kidney, garbanzo, pinto and black beans (Note: Choose low- or reduced-sodium if you have high blood pressure)
  • Reduced-sodium soups with beans (e.g. Health Valley)
  • Vegetarian chili beans (e.g. Westbrae Naturals or Health Valley)
  • Vegetarian or non-fat refried beans
  • Rolled, steel cut or Irish oats
  • Oat bran
  • Whole-grain cold cereals (Note: Choose cereals that contain 5 or more grams of dietary fiber and fewer than 8 grams of sugar per serving)
  • Barley
  • Brown rice, wild rice and/or brown basmati rice
  • Grains such as wheat berries, couscous, polenta, millet, bulgur or quinoa (pronounced keen-wa)
  • Whole wheat, spelt or kamut pastas (Note: These whole-grain pastas come in bowtie, fettuccini, lasagna, spaghetti, fusili, spiral, elbow macaroni and ravioli varieties)
  • Baking potatoes, red potatoes, and sweet potatoes
  • Whole-grain breads, tortillas and pitas
  • Whole-grain, trans-fat free crackers (such as Health Valley whole-wheat crackers, Kashi TLC crackers, Reduced Fat Triscuits, Fat-Free Rye Crisp and Wasa)
  • Baked, trans-fat-free tortilla chips
  • Brown rice cakes and popcorn cakes
  • Whole-grain pretzels (such as Snyder's oat bran or honey wheat)
  • Plain popcorn or light (98% fat free) microwave popcorn
  • Wheat germ
  • Whole-wheat flour and whole-wheat pastry flour
  • Soy flour
  • Cornmeal
  • Reduced-sodium canned diced tomatoes, whole tomatoes and tomato sauce
  • Tomato paste
  • Low-fat or fat-free pasta sauce
  • Reduced-sodium soups
  • Reduced sodium chicken, beef and vegetable broths
  • 98% fat-free cream of mushroom or chicken soups (e.g. Campbell's Healthy Request)
  • Assorted vinegars: rice, red wine, balsamic, apple cider or raspberry
Frozen foods:
  • Frozen vegetables and vegetable blends without added sauces, gravies and sodium
  • Frozen fruits without added sugar (e.g. frozen blueberries, strawberries or raspberries)
  • Frozen soybeans (edamame)
  • Frozen meatless burgers, ground meat, sausage patties or links (e.g. Boca, Yves, Morningstar Farms or Gardenburger)
  • Reduced fat and sodium frozen entrees like Lean Cuisine, Smart Ones or Healthy Choice (Note: These products should be used sparingly)
  • Reduced-fat and sodium vegetarian chili, burritos and entrees (These include Amy's Organic and Health Valley)
  • Whole-grain breads, tortillas, and pitas
  • Reduced-sodium ketchup
  • Assorted mustards: whole grain, honey, Dijon and yellow
  • Reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • Reduced-fat or non-fat mayonnaise
  • Barbecue sauce
Meat, poultry, fish and meat substitutes:
  • Skinless, boneless chicken or turkey breasts and tenders
  • Skinless, white breast meat ground chicken or turkey
  • Pork tenderloin, trimmed of fat
  • Lean ground beef such as ground round or ground sirloin (Note: When buying beef, look for words like "round" or "loin" and choose lean cuts—the less marbling, the lower the fat content)
  • Assorted fish, especially salmon, mackerel, tilapia, trout, herring and tuna
  • Tofu—silken, firm or extra firm
  • Tempeh
  • Seitan

Stocking your cupboard with these heart-healthy items will encourage you and your family to eat better. Having these items on hand will also make menu and meal preparation a snap!

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