Facebook Pixel

When shopping, take heart!

June 10, 2008 - 7:30am
Rate This

When shopping, take heart!

]]>Back to Heat Disease Center]]>

Here are some practical guidelines to help you buy low-saturated fat, low-cholesterol foods at the grocery store. This list provides only a small sample of the foods you can eat on a heart healthy diet. It is still important for you to read food labels.

Breads, cereals, rice, and pasta group

  • Breads (like whole wheat, rye, pumpernickel, or white)
  • Buns, dinner rolls, bagels, English muffins, pita breads**
  • Low-fat crackers (like bread sticks, saltines, rice crackers)**
  • Soft tortillas, corn or whole wheat
  • Hot and cold cereals** (except granola or muesli)
  • Pasta, like plain noodles, spaghetti, or macaroni
  • Rice: white, brown, wild, basmati, or jasmine
  • Grains: bulgur, cous cous, quinoa, barley, hominy, millet, amaranth

    **If you're watching sodium intake, be sure to find low-sodium varieties.

Fruit and vegetable group

  • Fruits: any fresh, canned, dried, frozen, without added sugar
  • Vegetables: any fresh, frozen, or canned without cream or cheese sauce (If you're watching sodium intake, be sure to find low-sodium varieties).
  • Fresh or frozen juices, without added sugar

Milk, yogurt and cheese group

  • Skim or 1 % milk
  • Cheese (3 grams of fat or less per serving) If you're watching sodium intake, be sure to check the label to find low-sodium varieties.
  • Low-fat or non-fat yogurt

Meat, poultry, fish, dry beans, eggs, and nuts group

Lean cuts of meat

  • Beef: eye of round, top round, sirloin
  • Pork: tenderloin, sirloin, top loin
  • Veal: shoulder, ground veal, cutlets, sirloin
  • Lamb: leg-shank
  • Lean or extra lean ground beef
  • Chicken or turkey, white or light meat (remove skin)
  • Luncheon meats, 95% to 99% fat free

Fish (most white meat fish is very low in fat, saturated fat and cholesterol)

  • Tuna, light meat canned in water
  • Shellfish: shrimp, scallops, crab (Shellfish is very high in cholesterol. Don't consume a total of more than 300 milligrams of cholesterol per day).

Dry peas and beans

  • black-eyed peas
  • chick peas
  • kidney beans
  • lentils
  • navy beans
  • soybeans
  • split peas
  • peanut butter

Reduced fat tofu (soy bean)

Eggs, egg whites, egg substitutes

Sweets and snacks

  • Cookies that are low in fat: animal crackers, devil's food cookies, fig and other fruit bars, ginger snaps, graham crackers, vanilla or lemon wafers
  • Angel food cake or other low fat cakes
  • Low-fat frozen yogurt, ice milk, fruit ices, sorbet, sherbet
  • Pudding (make it with skim or 1% milk), gelatin desserts
  • Popcorn without butter or oil, pretzels, baked tortilla chips (If you're watching your sodium intake, be sure to check the label to find low-sodium varieties).

Fats and oils

  • Margarine: soft, diet, tub, or liquid (If you're watching your sodium intake, be sure to check the label to find low-sodium varieties) .
  • Vegetable oil (canola, olive, corn, peanut, sunflower, safflower, or sesame oil)


  • Herbs
  • Spices
  • Non-stick cooking spray
  • Imitation butter (flakes or buds)
  • Reduced calorie or fat-free salad dressing
  • Reduced fat or non-fat sour cream
  • Reduced fat or non-fat mayonnaise
  • Mustard (Dijon, etc.)
  • Horseradish
  • Ginger
  • Garlic
  • Catsup
  • Vinegar
  • Lemon juice
  • Lime juice
  • Jelly or jam
  • Sodium-free salt substitute
  • Salsa or picante sauce
  • Soup that is low in fat: broth or tomato-based, bean soup, vegetable, minestrone (If you're watching your sodium intake, be sure to check the label to find low-sodium varieties) .
  • Spaghetti sauce


  • Water
  • Sparkling water
  • Milk, non-fat skim or low-fat (1%)
  • 100% fruit juice, regular or low-calorie
  • Lemonade, regular or low-calorie
  • Iced tea, regular or low-calorie
  • Tea

Tips for buying frozen foods

Many prepared and frozen foods are high in saturated fat and cholesterol. Look for frozen food packages that say, "Light," "Lean," "Reduced Fat," "Reduced calorie," "Healthy," or "Diet." These versions will be lower in saturated fat, cholesterol, calories, and/or sodium than the regular versions.

Tips for buying prepared foods

When choosing prepared foods, choose vegetables, pasta and grain salads and side dishes made without high fat mayonnaise and oil. Steer clear from high saturated fat meats, dressing and other spreads, and dishes with creams and other sauces. Fruit salad is usually available and is always a great choice.


The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute

Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

Heart Disease

Get Email Updates

Heart Disease Guide

Have a question? We're here to help. Ask the Community.


Health Newsletter

Receive the latest and greatest in women's health and wellness from EmpowHER - for free!