What On Earth Do I Look for At the Grocery Store?! How to Shop for Heart Healthy Options without Compromising your Sanity!

You walk into the grocery store, that is a 75,000+ square foot, 50+ aisles, 40 varieties…AH. Overwhelm. So, I want to help narrow down your shopping list so that you both protect your heart and offer less anxiety when entering into the grocery store.

When you go to the Grocery Store next time create your shopping list with one-option from each of the following.

Sauces/Condiments: Look for items that contain olive oil or canola oil on the back of the ingredient panel. These are fats that may help to reduce the risk of coronary heart disease. Also, look for condiments that have 5% or less of sodium under the Daily Value column.

Bread Aisle: Breads that state they are made from 100% whole grains, is what you want to look for as a heart healthy option. It means it contains all the “good” parts and you’re getting more vitamin and fiber “bang for your buck!” 

Cereal Aisle: I like cereals that are higher in fiber because that ensures you’re giving your body the opportunity to increase its good (HDL) cholesterol (1). Plus, it aids in keeping your bowel movements regular. Therefore, when you’re checking out the nutrition facts panel look for 20% or higher in the fiber column. 

Freezer Aisle: Many times I hear my clients say they don’t want to buy fresh fruits and vegetables because they go bad so quickly! Thankfully, I’m happy to state that frozen fruits and vegetables are just as good! They are immediately picked at its peak ripeness and frozen therefore, preserving most of their nutrient quality. Frozen vegetables can be a quick complement to your favorite baked meal and fresh fruit to your refreshing smoothie or fresh made dessert. 

Beverages: Now, I could sit here and say “drink more water,” and although that is a great option sometimes you want something that has a little something extra. Just look for beverages that contain 100% fruit juice. This way it is not supplying your body with a little refreshment but also the extra vitamins and minerals that come with it. Just be mindful however, that sweet drinks continue to be added calories, and added calories beyond what your body may need can contribute to weight gain. 

Now, you may be wondering what to be mindful of when you’re running through the following aisles

Research highly recommends anything that is a simple carbohydrate, or the carbohydrate that gets digested really quickly to be limited. Especially white flour and white rice because it’s missing the parts that contain all the fiber, vitamins and minerals that protect the heart (2).

Also, I know the pastry section is incredibly tempting [I myself love some Tiramisu!]. However, a lot of these baked goods use a fat that contributes to bad cholesterol and their names are trans fat and saturated fats found in butter, crisco and lard. If you must grab a sweet treat, run for a chocolate, almond and pretzel trail mix to satisfy that sweet tooth with a dash of cinnamon. It is recommended to limit added sugars and encourage the use of seasonings! What an untapped option that we don’t exhaust!

Lastly, if you’re looking for a refreshing drink, yet concerned on what exactly is sweetening it up, just check on the back of the ingredient label to see what the first 5 ingredients are. If one of them is high-fructose corn syrup reconsider as it’s directly associated with an increase in bad cholesterol (3). 

I’d love to know how to continue helping you on your wellness journey and if this list was helpful feel free to let me know below!


(1) Zhou Q, Wu J, Tang J, Wang JJ, Lu CH, Wang PX. Beneficial Effect of Higher Dietary Fiber Intake on Plasma HDL-C and TC/HDL-C Ratio among Chinese Rural-to-Urban Migrant Workers. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2015;12(5):4726-4738. Published 2015 Apr 29. doi:10.3390/ijerph120504726

(2) Pallazola VA, Davis DM, Whelton SP, et al. A Clinician’s Guide to Healthy Eating for Cardiovascular Disease Prevention. Mayo Clin Proc Innov Qual Outcomes. 2019;3(3):251-267. Published 2019 Aug 1. doi:10.1016/j.mayocpiqo.2019.05.001

(3) Hieronimus B, Medici V, Bremer, AA, er al. Synergistic effects of fructose and glucose on lipoprotein risk factors for cardiovascular disease in young adults. Metabolism Clinical and Experimental. 2020; 112: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.metabol.2020.154356 0026-0495

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