Insider’s Viewpoint: Heart Your Cart! How to Grocery Shop with Heart Health in Mind
How does all the heart healthy advice translate into what you put in your grocery cart?
Picture your cart like a plate. Divide the large section into quarters > 1 quarter each for fruits, veggies, grains, and protein, and then add dairy, fats and extras to the small top portion.
- Fresh, frozen or canned – Vary colors for optimal nutrition
- Vegetables that have no added salt sauces
- Fruits that are packed in their own juices
TIP: Rinse and drain canned items to reduce sodium
Grains & Starches
Grains and starches can be good sources for fiber and B vitamins.
- The first ingredient should be a “whole” grain
- Breads with at least 2g of fiber per slice, compare sodium!
- Cereals with 3-5g fiber, limited added sugar!
Watch out: ‘Multigrain’ does not equal whole grain
Milk & Dairy
Milk and dairy provide protein and calcium but may come with fat and sodium, so choose carefully.
- Skim or 1% milk
- Reduced-fat or 2% milk cheese (compare sodium, choose the lower option)
- Yogurt based on individual calorie, carb and protein goals, and compare sugar
- Milk, orange juice and margarine are sometimes fortified with plant sterols (2g/day recommended for heart health)
- Eggs: 3-5 yolks per week (and unlimited whites) are acceptable unless your doctor has advised differently.
Best bets for your heart are spreads, olive or canola oil with no trans fats (each has a different use in the kitchen).
- Butter: 1 Tbsp = 11g fat (7 saturated)
- Oils: 1 Tbsp = 14 g fat (2 saturated)
- Looking to trim calories?
1 Tbsp of oil =140 calories
1 Tbsp light butter = 5 g fat, 50 calories
1 second spray = 1g fat, 7 calories
Meat, Poultry & Seafood
Key points here are limiting cholesterol, saturated fats and sodium while maximizing protein and adding good fats.
- Choose lean products > 0-3 g of fat per 1 oz serving
- Limit products with breading and sauces
- Poultry > White meat more often and go skinless!
- Eye of round roast or steak
- Sirloin tip side steak
- Top & bottom round roast and steak
- Ground meat > 90% Lean or above
- Tenderloin is the leanest cut of pork
- Boneless pork loin roast or chops
Eat 2-3 times per week for heart benefits and focus on those with Omega-3s at least once/week (think salmon).
Shellfish is low fat but higher in cholesterol.
Bonus > Herbs and Spices will boost flavor without sugar and sodium.
1 Tbsp Fresh = 1 tsp dry
Following these guidelines to “Heart Your Cart” will address major dietary recommendations for heart health. Be sure to add adequate physical activity too!
Caroline Passerrello, MS, RD, LDN
Manager of Dietitian Initiatives
Giant Eagle, Inc