woman prepping veggies to cook

Stocking a Heart Healthy Kitchen

February is American Heart Month. Did you know…
  • Heart disease is the 2nd and stroke is the 6th leading cause of death in SD
  • Together cardiovascular disease (CVD) accounts for 27.5% of all deaths in SD
  • Risk factors for CVD include high blood pressure and high blood cholesterol
We know that saturated fats can raise cholesterol levels and too much sodium has a negative effect on blood pressure. One way to keep your heart protected and your blood pressure and cholesterol in check is eating a healthy, balanced diet. 

Heart-healthy foods are essential for a heart-healthy diet, so be prepared with a well-stocked kitchen. This means always having some basic ingredients in your cabinets, pantry, fridge and freezer. It can save time and worry on those busy days when you don’t have a chance to get to the grocery store. Check out this list of staple ingredients for healthy meals from the American Heart Association.

Cabinets and Pantry

  • Dry beans like black beans, chickpeas, pinto and red beans
  • Canned “dinner builder” items like beans, chicken, salmon, tuna and soup
  • Canned vegetables for adding to soup, rice, pasta and sauces (like carrots, corn, green beans, peas, pumpkin and tomatoes)
  • Canned and dried fruits like apple sauce, dates, oranges, peaches, pineapple and raisins (look for items with no added sugars)
  • Whole-grain pasta, brown rice and other easy whole grains like couscous and quinoa
  • Whole grain bread or tortillas (if you don’t use it daily, store in the freezer)
  • Old-fashioned rolled oats, instant oatmeal and whole-grain cereal for a quick breakfast
  • Whole-wheat flour, oat flour and cornmeal for baking
  • Nuts, seeds and nut butters for healthy snacking
  • Healthy cooking oils like canola, corn or olive (buy in limited amounts because they can go rancid over time)
  • Balsamic vinegar and low-sodium soy sauce for salad dressings and sauces
  • Spaghetti or marinara sauce in jars
  • Low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth for making soup
  • Dried herbs and spices, salt-free seasoning blend, pepper

Fridge and Freezer

  • Frozen vegetables without salty sauces make easy sides and add-ins (like broccoli, cauliflower, mixed vegetables, spinach and squash)
  • Frozen fruits without added sugars for cereal, yogurt and smoothies (like berries, mixed fruit, peaches)
  • Low-fat/non-fat dairy products like milk, yogurt and cheese
  • Frozen meats like fish fillets, skinless chicken breasts or lean ground beef
  • Soft margarine with no trans fat (made with non-hydrogenated vegetable oils, usually in a tub)

Make it a habit to compare nutrition labels. Choose products with the lowest amounts of sodium, added sugars, saturated fat and trans fat that you can find in your store.

Source: American Heart Association