woman shopping for produce
Submitted by Etienne Nemanishen, Public Health Dietitian

Remember these three simple tips the next time you're grocery shopping for better heart health.

Healthy eating is important for preventing heart disease and many other chronic illnesses. But healthy eating doesn’t have to be complicated. Remember these three simple tips the next time you are shopping and your whole family will be eating healthier.

1. Buy more vegetables and fruit

Most Canadians aren’t eating the recommended 7-10 servings of vegetables and fruits daily. By not eating enough vegetables and fruit, we are missing out on important vitamins, minerals, and fibre, all of which impact our risk of developing heart disease.

Change up your vegetable and fruit choices at the grocery store. Buy more of the items you already enjoy and try a new one every week. Not sure how to incorporate more servings each day? Try adding a vegetable or fruit at every meal and snack, and they’ll quickly add up. For example, add some berries to your cereal in the morning, pack your sandwich or wrap with extra veggies at lunch, and consider doubling the vegetables in your dinnertime recipe. An easy tip is to remember to fill half your plate with fruits and veggies.

2. Buy legumes

Legumes (beans, peas, and lentils) are a great source of soluble fibre, which has been shown to improve blood cholesterol. Keeping cholesterol in check is an important part of heart disease prevention.

You can buy beans canned or dried. Dried beans are less expensive but need to be cooked. When buying canned beans, opt for the low-sodium (salt) versions most often, and rinse them before use to reduce your salt consumption even more.

Try making meatless meals more often. Some simple recipes to try if you’re new to beans are things like hummus or tacos. Or if you’re feeling adventurous, you can try making vegetarian burgers using lentils.

3. Buy high fibre grains

Most of us don’t get enough fibre in our diet. Fibre not only helps with our digestion and keeps us feeling full longer, but it has also been shown to protect against heart disease.

Try replacing white rice, bread, and pasta with brown rice and whole grains to increase your fibre intake (Remember, if half your plate is veggies and fruits, one-quarter is grains). Read labels and compare the number of grams of fibre in a serving. Choose cereals with at least four grams of fibre per serving, and breads with at least two grams of fibre per slice.


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