Eggs Eggs are a complete source of protein, very economical, easy to prepare and can be created into a variety of main entrées. Eggs contain lutein and zeaxanthin, which may protect your eyes against damage caused by free radicals and sunlight exposure. They contain 20% of your Daily Value (DV) for selenium and are a good source of omega-3 fatty acids.
Skim Milk One cup of milk contains up to 316 milligrams of calcium or 30% of the 1000 milligrams adult men and women need each day to keep their bones strong. It contains 8 essential minerals and at $0.27 per serving it’s very economical.
Calcium and Vitamin D Fortified 100% Orange Juice Only 50% of American women get the recommended amount of calcium per day so every great source counts! In addition to containing 100% of your DV for Vitamin C, fortified orange juice contains 30% of your DV for Calcium and 45% of your DV for Vitamin D.
100% Grape Juice Grape juice contains the same heart health benefits as red wine. It has high levels of polyphenols called flavonoids, which increase good HDL levels and reduce the risk of arteries becoming clogged. Flavonoids are an antioxidant that helps prevent and correct cell damage that has already occurred. Do limit your 100% fruit juice to 1 serving per day as it is a source of liquid, sugar calories and should not be substituted for whole, fiber rich fruit.
Low Fat Greek Yogurt Greek Yogurt contains twice the protein of regular yogurt and one ½ cup serving contains 244 milligrams of calcium. Look for the Nike-like swoosh symbol indicating live and active cultures that help improve your gut health. Plain low fat yogurt is a healthy substitute for sour cream.
Low Fat Cottage Cheese One-half cup serving contains 14 grams of protein, 8% of your DV for calcium and only 90 calories. It is easily incorporated into a tasty salsa, pancake batter, scrambled eggs, potatoes, pasta or salads.
Benecol, Take Control, Smart Balance These brands of margarine contain sterol and stanol esters that come from plants and help prevent the body from absorbing cholesterol. The National Cholesterol Education Program recommends that people who have high cholesterol get 2 grams of sterols or stanols per day. Note, the use of these products will not correct an unhealthy diet.
I Can’t Believe It’s Butter Spray At 0 grams of fat and 0 calories per 5 sprays, it’s a heart healthy way to top off your cooking. Look for the newest version that contains extra virgin olive oil.
Low Fat Ranch Dressing For many, ranch dressing has become the new ketchup. ¼ cup of regular ranch dressing contains 286 calories, 31 grams of fat and 4.5 grams of saturated fat. Swapping to the low fat version results in only 96 calories, 8.6 grams of fat and 1.3 grams of saturated fat. We suggest you try this Low Fat Ranch Dressing Alternative: 2/3 cup Non-fat Greek yogurt, 1 1/3 cup low fat buttermilk, 2/3 cup reduced fat sour cream, 2 tsp. each finely chopped chives/dill/parsley, 1 tsp. onion powder, 1 tsp. garlic powder, 2 tsp. Kosher salt, ¼ tsp. fresh ground pepper.
Reduced Fat and Fat Free Soft Cheese or Strong Hard Cheese While processed, reduced fat, soft cheese is higher in sodium; the calorie and fat savings can be pretty significant. One slice of regular Kraft Single contains 60 calories, 4 grams of fat, 2.5 grams of saturated fat. The Fat Free version contains 25 calories, 0 grams of fat, 0 grams of saturated fat, and 15% of your DV for calcium. If you’re a cheese lover, another heart healthy option is to opt for smaller amounts of stronger flavor cheeses such as Parmigiano-Reggiano, Manchengo or Feta Cheese.
Deli Chicken or Turkey Purchasing your sandwich contents from the deli counter, while more costly may save you from extra sodium. For example, 2 ounces of ready packaged turkey contains 460 mg sodium versus deli purchased turkey that contains 330 mg sodium. You can also request the lower sodium, deli counter options.
Hummus This dip or spread is made from a base of chickpeas and olive oil. Beans are a good source of fiber that help lower cholesterol and keep your blood sugar levels regulated and olive oil is a rich source of heart healthy, monounsaturated fats. Hummus is easily substituted as a sandwich spread, can be mixed into meat salads instead of mayonnaise, used as a dip, or stuffed in cherry tomatoes or deviled eggs.
Ready to Munch Vegetables: Baby Carrots, Cucumbers, Celery & Peppers Ready to Munch Fruit: Melon, Grapes and Berries Considering only 14% of Michigan adults and 9.5% of adolescents get their 5-A-Day fruits and vegetables each day, convenient, eye level offerings are encouraged!
Spinach Whenever Popeye needed a little extra strength, he’d pop open a can of spinach. At a mere 40 calories per cup and a very good or excellent source of more than 20 different nutrients, spinach is a nutrition powerhouse. Buy it fresh or frozen.
Cruciferous Vegetables: Cabbage, Bok Choy, Broccoli, Cauliflower and Brussel Sprouts These add crunch in the form of fiber, vitamins, disease fighting phytochemicals and may contain cancer-fighting substances. You gain the most nutrition from eating these raw, steamed, sautéed, stir-fried or microwaved.
Omega 3 Rich Fish Salmon, Halibut, Rainbow Trout, Albacore Tuna and Arctic Char are a few examples. The American Heart Association recommends that we eat omega-3 rich fish at least twice a week as they may reduce the risk of heart disease. Omega-3 oils have been shown to reduce the tendency for arteries to become blocked by lowering the “bad” LDL cholesterol.
Frozen Treats Frozen yogurt and popsicles made with 100% fruit juice are better alternatives to cream or sugar based frozen desserts. Make sure to portion out desserts that come out of carton as today’s bowls can make portions sizes deceiving.
Frozen Fruit and Vegetables Fresh is best, but Michigan living makes it challenging to eat both fresh and local during the winter months. Frozen produce is lower in sodium and sugar than their canned alternatives. However, the bottom line is eat your fruits and veggies in any form except fried.
Fresh or Frozen Ground Turkey, Chicken Breasts and Tilapia Purchasing 1 1/2 pounds of each of these proteins on your weekly grocery visit provides you with a number of heart healthy, dinner recipe options.
Your turn, what might you add to the list?