Shopping Tips for a Healthy Heart Diet

Filed Under: Heart Health, Food and Nutrition
Last Reviewed 05/30/2014

Dr. Sinatra Shopping for Heart Healthy ProduceSome people think I have someone do my grocery shopping for me, but nothing could be farther from the truth. Even my wife Jan (who knows my healthy heart diet guidelines) gets the same instructions when she heads out with her healthy grocery shopping list. 


Lest I sound demanding, I must confess that I love grocery shopping—truly I do! Here's a picture of me picking out produce at our local market with my healthy grocery shopping list in hand. 

But as a cardiologist, I’m also very concerned that grocery stores are filled with foods that are anything but a healthy heart diet. In fact, more than once I’ve stood in the check-out line, only to notice a grocery cart filled with heart health hazards that shouldn't be on a healthy grocery shopping list. So, I thought I would share my top tips for making sure your grocery cart improves your health.


Grocery Shopping Tips for Your Healthy Heart Diet

  • Eat before you shop. If you shop when you’re hungry, you may make less healthy heart diet choices and/or buy too much.
  • Shop the outside aisles of the market first. That’s usually were the fresh produce and refrigerator cases are.
  • Select fresh, organically grown fruits and vegetables as much as possible.
  • For dairy selections, look for organic on the packaging, and select cage-free eggs, too.
  • When buying meats and poultry, look on the package for those that are grass fed, free range, and/or “natural.” 
  • At the fish counter, avoid farm raised and large fish that have more mercury. Local and fresh caught are my choices for a healthy heart diet.   
  • Check the expiration dates on everything you buy. Fresh foods that don’t contain chemical preservatives have a shorter shelf life, so get the latest expiration date you can find.
  • Read labels. If you need a PhD to read the label, it means the product is loaded with chemicals and preservatives, which isn’t good. You also want to avoid products that contain sugars (any ingredient that ends in “ose” is a sugar), and especially high fructose corn syrup (HFCS).
  • Fresh is always best, even when it comes to herbs and spices.

Now it's your turn: What's on your healthy grocery shopping list?

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