Stock a Heart-healthy Fridge

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When you’re trying to eat healthier, fruits and vegetables are often the typical fridge staple, but there are many other items you should have on hand. Stock your fridge with healthy essentials to make a variety of meals, including leaner options of your favorite recipes.

Dairy products
Low-fat milk:
Getting the right amount of calcium is important because kids are growing and developing strong bones and mothers are working to prevent osteoporosis and avoid symptoms of low calcium. Milk is also a great source of protein to help recover after a workout. Help your family get plenty of calcium without sacrificing taste.

Greek yogurt:
The fat-free alternative offers a bolder taste than regular and reduced-fat yogurt while boasting two times the protein. Mix in fresh fruits and low-sugar granola for a low-calorie snack that will leave you full for hours.

Low-fat or fat-free cottage cheese:
This creamy snack can offer calcium and other important nutrients. Look for lower-sodium varieties and mix with cut-up fruit.

Cooking and baking substitutions
Applesauce:
Use all-natural applesauce to replace butter and oils when baking to reduce the fat content. While most recipes will taste and look the same with this substitution, some may be affected differently than others. If it doesn’t remain the same, substitute half the butter or oil with applesauce. Try this the next time you bake to create a healthier treat.

Egg whites:
Cholesterol lurks inside egg yolks. Lower it by using egg whites when you cook or bake.

Super foods you need on hand
Cooked quinoa:
This ancient grain is popular because it’s a pure protein, which means it contains all the amino acids your body doesn’t produce and must be obtained from your diet. It’s also a great source of fiber to help prevent diet-related cancers and it’s essential to healthy digestion. Quinoa is similar to rice and can be incorporated in almost any meal.

Hummus:
This dip is made of chickpeas and is high in fiber, packed with healthy fats and very filling. Hummus is a perfect low-calorie snack that’s great for sandwiches and wraps and pairs perfectly with many raw veggies.

Bagged spinach:
If you’re a smoothie lover, spinach is your best friend. Packed with nutrients, vitamins and antioxidants, this green veggie can be added to rice, salads, smoothies, fresh juices and egg white omelets or eaten alone. Get creative and find even more ways to add more spinach to your diet.

For more information on healthy nutrition and recipes, visit heart.org.

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