How to Stock a Heart-Healthy Kitchen

11 months ago 21

A well-stocked kitchen is essential for a healthy heart. But you don’t need to run out and buy expensive gadgets and gourmet food to eat in a heart-healthy way. The best way to achieve hassle-free meal prep is to ensure you’ve got a fridge and pantry filled with simple, healthy staples. This way, you can whip up a delicious but good-for-your-ticker meal even when it’s a busy weeknight and you’re looking to make a quick and easy dinner.

In the Cabinets and Pantry

Proteins. Look for sources of protein that you can build a whole entrée or salad around: think canned or dried beans, such as kidney, pinto, black, or garbanzo (choose low or reduced sodium if you have high blood pressure); canned or pouched tuna, salmon and chicken, unsalted nuts and seeds, and nut butters, like almond or peanut.

Canned veggies. These are a good option for easy side dishes, plus you can always add them to soups or sauces for some additional heart-healthy fiber. Keep a variety of tomatoes on hand for almost any dish: reduced-sodium canned diced tomatoes, whole tomatoes, tomato sauce, and tomato paste.

Whole grains. Stock up on whole grains rather than refined grains. Whole grains are higher in fiber, which has been shown to lower blood cholesterol levels. It also lowers your risk of heart disease, stroke, obesity, and type 2 diabetes. Think brown rice, oats, couscous, bulgur, and quinoa, as well as whole-grain pastas, breads, and tortillas, and, of course, whole-grain flour for baking.

Cooking oils. Use these instead of butter or margarine for cooking. The healthiest ones are any of the non-tropical vegetable oils, like olive, canola, corn, safflower, soybean, or sunflower. Stay away from coconut oil: It may be trendy, but it’s high in saturated fat.

Broths. Fat-free and low-sodium chicken, vegetable, and beef broths to make soups.

Herbs, seasonings and spices. These are a healthier alternative to salt. It’s a good idea to keep a variety on hand. Some top choices include:

  • Basil for pasta sauces and stir-fries
  • Curry powder to add to brown rice, quinoa, or eggs
  • Cumin for Mexican dishes or fish
  • Rosemary for roasted meats like chicken, pork, lamb, or salmon, or for veggies like butternut squash
  • Smoked paprika to add to egg dishes, spice rubs for meats or tofu, fruit salsas, and tomato sauce
  • Thyme for bean dishes or r...
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