If, when you open your refrigerator, you are greeted with a selection of high-fat, high-sugar foods, your efforts to switch to a heart-healthy diet are unlikely to succeed. The following tips can help you stock your refrigerator with the kinds of foods that will put you on the path to better heart health.
1. When you get home from the grocery store, take time to chop up all your fresh fruits and vegetables. Portion them in zipper bags or containers to make them a ready-to-grab snack when hunger strikes.
2. Place ready-to-eat healthy items (fruits and vegetables, Greek yogurt, 1-ounce portions of low-fat cheese, hummus) on the front shelves of the refrigerator. Then they are within reach when you need a snack.
3. Place favorite indulgent foods in the crisper to hide them. Out of sight, out of mind. Or better yet, try eating them only when out of the house, so they don't tempt you at home.
4. Replace some foods with lower-fat alternatives.
- Replace whole milk with nonfat or 1 percent milk.
- Replace butter or stick margarine with tub margarine spread or sprays (with 0 grams of trans fat).
- Replace fattier cuts of meat for leaner ones (chicken or turkey breast, pork loin, beef sirloin or fish).
5. Prepare extra portions of a meal in order to have leftovers. Portion them into individual servings for homemade, healthy "TV dinners." Freeze the portions and defrost for an easy meal at a later time.6. Check your beverage shelf and consider stocking only nutritious, lower-calorie choices. For example, keep on hand nonfat or 1 percent milk, water and one type of 100 percent fruit juice if you drink juice (for example, orange juice). If you want more choices, consider keeping only calorie-free, sugar-free choices, such as tea or coffee.