Pantry Staples for a Heart Health Diet

Melanie Thomassian Health Pro
  • 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.

    Pantry essentials:

    • 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.

    Refrigerator essentials:

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    • 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.

    Freezer essentials:

    • 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:

    • Stews
    • Casseroles
    • Curries
    • Soups
    • Risottos
    • Pasta
    • Stir fries
    • Salads

    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.

Published On: May 22, 2008