Pantry Staples for a Heart Health Diet
Finding time to cook healthy meals has become a major challenge for most families, with many people feeling that cooking is a "luxury they don’t have much time for.
However, if you’re trying to maintain a healthy heart you’ll know just how important eating well is. The good news is that with a little preparation, sitting down to a home cooked meal, even on the busiest of days, isn’t impossible.
By making sure that your kitchen cupboards are well stocked with a few staples you’ll be able to put together a healthy meal in no time.
- Grains: whole wheat pasta, noodles, couscous, brown rice, oatmeal, whole grain cereal, unsalted/unbuttered popcorn, whole grain crackers, wholegrain bread (also pita pockets, tortillas, muffins).
- Wholewheat flour, sugar and other baking goods.
- No added salt canned tomatoes, and vegetables such as corn, peas, beans, and lentils.
- Dried beans and peas (pinto, kidney, black, chick).
- Tomato based spaghetti sauce.
- Tinned fish: tuna, salmon, and mackerel.
- Low-fat, reduced-sodium soups.
- Fruit canned in natural juice.
- Dried fruit: such as raisins, pineapple, and apricots.
- Unsalted nuts.
- Potatoes, onions, garlic, and ginger
- Salt and pepper.
- Herbs and spices: such as coriander, basil, parsley, curry powder, cumin, and garam masala.
- Low-sodium stock cubes.
- Oil for cooking, and also for dressing salads.
- Peanut butter, and honey.
- Low-fat dairy products: such as milk, yoghurt, reduced-fat cheese, cottage cheese, and sour cream.
- Free-range eggs.
- Lean deli meats: such as sliced ham, turkey or beef.
- Reduced sugar jam.
- Selection of fresh fruit: such as berries, grapes, and cut fruits.
- 100% pure fruit or vegetable juice.
- Selection of fresh vegetables: such as bagged salad greens, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, sugar snap peas, and peppers.
- Useful condiments: such as low-fat salad dressing, low-fat mayonnaise, ketchup, barbecue sauce, and mustard.
- Meat: such as fish fillets, chicken breasts, extra-lean beef, and cuts of red meats.
- Vegetables: such as spinach, green beans, stir-fry mixes, and peas.
- Frozen fruit: such as raspberries, and blackberries.
- Wholegrain bread, rolls, and muffins.
The items listed above could be used to make any number of main meals, including:
- Stir fries
By simply stocking your kitchen with a range of useful items you really can put a healthy meal together in no time, and save money to boot!
If you’re stuck for meal ideas, why not purchase a heart healthy cookbook, or recipe magazine for more tips and suggestions? This is a great way to revive your inspiration for food preparation and cooking again.
Melanie Thomassian is a professional dietitian and author of the award winning Dietriffic.com.