Swinging Girl

Stocking a Healthy Pantry

Stocking a healthy pantry is easy if you know what to purchase.

By sticking to foods low in fat and sodium but high in fiber, you can make delicious, healthy meals for your family.

  • Canola oil and olive oil are two heart healthy choices. Both are rich in monosaturated fats- the kind that boost HDL (the good cholesterol) and lower LDL (the bad cholesterol).

  • Lean fish is full of omega-3 fatty acids, which help with growth, brain development and heart health. Put it on a salad or pair it with some whole grain rice to create a healthy meal.

  • Get your fiber! Known for relieving constipation, fiber has many important benefits including lowering cholesterol levels and reducing blood pressure. Fiber can also slow sugar absorption, which can help control blood sugar levels. Dried goods contain a lot of fiber and will keep you feeling full longer. Look for the dried fruits that don’t contain added sugar.

  • Beans are good for your heart. Black beans contain anthocyanins, an antioxidant compound that improves brain function. A half-cup serving provides 8 grams of protein and 7.5 grams of fiber.

  • If you’re like most Americans, you’re consuming 5,000 milligrams of sodium per day. That’s over twice the amount the American Heart Association recommends (2,400 milligrams or around 1 teaspoon). Try flavoring your meals with low-sodium options like vinegar and mustard.

  • There are a variety of ways to make your food delicious without adding fat, calories and sodium. Try using herbs and spices to flavor chicken, fish or lean red meat.

  • When it comes to choosing cereals, you want a small amount of sugar with as much fiber and protein as possible. Look for cereals with less than 10 grams of sugar and at least 3 grams of fiber.

  • Buyer beware! Tomato sauces tend to be loaded with sugar. Look for sauces with 8 g or less of sugar. Avoid sauces that list sugar as one of the first five ingredients. Fill your freezer with frozen fruits and veggies. These mealtime solutions are easy to microwave for a quick lunch or dinner and you don’t have to worry about spoiling.

  • Be mindful when purchasing your frozen foods! Manufacturers tend to pack frozen meals full of ‘flavor’, which translates to sky-high sodium content. Always read the label before purchasing.

  • Eat your dairy! Packed with calcium and vitamin D, foods like low fat milk, yogurt and cheese are smart choices when consumed in moderation.

  • Yogurt is a great snack choice but be mindful of the type of yogurt you select. Greek yogurt is low in sugar and packed with protein.

  • Provide healthy choices that are ready to eat. Cut up your fruits and veggies and place them in storage containers. This will make you more likely to choose these foods for snacks and meals.