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Heart Health Center

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Make Over Your Kitchen for a Healthy Heart

8 ways to stock your kitchen for heart health.

4. De-junk Your Refrigerator and Freezer

Fill your refrigerator with healthier foods that you enjoy eating and drinking.

  • Instead of soda, try flavored, sugar-free mineral water, no-calorie iced tea, iced decaf coffee, nonfat or low-fat milk, diet soda (consumed in moderation), or iced water flavored with fresh slices of lemon or lime.
  • Instead of high-fat frozen foods, consider light frozen entrees that contain lean meat, vegetables, and possibly a grain.
  • Instead of frozen pies or pastries, keep frozen fruit on hand (unsweetened) so you can whip up a smoothie or yogurt/fruit parfait with a moment's notice.

Also stock your refrigerator with products that help you cook and bake heart-smart meals at home:

  • Egg substitute
  • Fat-free half-and-half
  • Reduced-fat cheese
  • Fat-free sour cream
  • Nonfat plain yogurt
  • Light cream cheese
  • Light bottled vinaigrettes
  • Assorted mustards and vinegars
  • Pesto sauce made with olive oil

5. Dial It Down on the Bad-Boy Products

At least 10 ingredients should carry a red flag warning if you are trying to boost nutrition while cutting fat, calories, and cholesterol.

  • Mayonnaise (regular)
  • Bacon and bacon grease
  • Heavy whipping cream
  • Light whipping cream
  • Half-and-half cream
  • Puff pastry
  • Cheese (full fat)
  • Sausage
  • Coconut oil
  • Butter
  • Pie crust dough

Beware of using these ingredients in recipes. They'll load up the meal with fat.

For example, a quarter cup of mayonnaise has 396 calories and 44 grams of fat -- and that's not even counting the fat from other ingredients in the recipe!

And it's not unusual for soup, sauce, and dessert recipes with liquid heavy whipping cream to call for a quarter cup per serving. That's 205 calories and 22 grams of fat per serving! Half-and-half cream brings it down to 79 calories and 7 grams of fat per quarter cup. But if you're making a cream soup, each serving could contain a cup of half-and-half cream, which comes to about 300+ calories and 28+ grams of fat.

6. Fill Your Fridge With Must-Have Heart-Smart Foods

Start with the fresh and frozen vegetables and fruits you like. Then add whole-grain products that you can make into quick entrees (like whole-wheat pita, whole-wheat tortillas, and whole-grain pasta cooked al dente and chilling in the refrigerator). Next, shop for:

  • Fresh and frozen fish you enjoy
  • Lean meat and vegetarian meat options like veggie burgers or soy-based meatballs
  • Low-fat dairy products such as low-fat yogurt, cheese, and cottage cheese
  • 1% or skim milk
  • Egg substitute
  • Sugar-free beverages that you like to drink, such as iced green tea, unsweetened, and mineral water

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