Want to get heart healthy? Follow these guidelines to help you choose heart-healthy foods while shopping in the supermarket:
- 1 Shop the perimeter.
- 2 Shop Smart
- 3 Keep a list of low fat foods.
- 4 Give yourself more time.
- 5 Check all of your options—don’t just reach for the national brands.
- 6 Buy fresh produce.
- 7 Choose your meats carefully.
- 8 Compare “as packaged” to “as prepared.”
- 9 Consider “semi-prepared” foods.
Shop the perimeter.
The departments around the perimeter of the store tend to contain the “fresh” foods. The center aisles have more of the processed foods.
Shop with a list and try not to shop when you are hungry.
Always shop from a grocery list and try to buy the items on your list. Impulse buying usually results in less healthy purchases.
Keep a list of low fat foods.
Keep a list of low fat foods that you have tried and liked. Write the brand name on your grocery list. This will save time comparing brands and labels.
Give yourself more time.
Once you make a conscious decision to shop for more healthy foods, give yourself more time on your first visit to the supermarket. In the beginning, label reading in the grocery store will slow you down. Realize that it takes longer and be patient. It will get easier over time (see tip #2).
Check all of your options—don’t just reach for the national brands.
There are many store brands and off-brand low fat foods available that are less expensive than the national brands. Read the labels carefully.
Buy fresh produce.
All fresh produce is low fat except coconut and avocado. Fresh fruits and vegetables are less expensive and tastier than vitamin pills.
Choose your meats carefully.
Few meats have nutrition labels on them. You can always trim edge fat, but it’s the marbled fat you can’t cut out. If nutrition labels are not on the package, find the cuts that look the leanest and have the least marbling.
Compare “as packaged” to “as prepared.”
Combination foods and mixes will often have two sets of numbers on the nutrition information label — one “as packaged” and one “as prepared.” If the “as packaged” numbers are good and you can make it with low fat or fat-free ingredients, these will be acceptable choices.
Consider “semi-prepared” foods.
If time is a factor, many low fat foods are available “semi-prepared.” Boneless, skinless chicken breasts, broccoli and cauliflower florets, peeled baby carrots, salad or coleslaw in a bag, shredded low fat cheese, and marinated meats are some examples.
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