Quick Ways to Keep Your Kitchen Heart Healthy

Erika Tallan

What would happen if a dietician walked into your kitchen pantry or peeked in your fridge?

Here are a few of Madonna Proactive Dietitian, Katie Taylor's, suggestions:

If Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays are really tough with schedules, put a few extra chicken breasts in the oven on the grill on Sunday night when you're making them. That way during the week you can either just grab that whole chicken breast or cut it up or shred it so you can put it in salads, sandwiches, throw into a soup... something that's quick and easy and already fixed.

Use mustard instead of higher calorie ketchup.
Use vinaigrettes over creamy ranch type dressings.

Popcorn is a great snack. Stick to the mini bags. Look for the type that's popped in canola oil. Avoid buttered popcorn.

If you have a hard time getting in all 4-6 serving of fruits and vegetables each day, try paring vegetables like carrots or celery or fruits like grapes and apples with cheeses instead of crackers. Those options still give you that crunch like crackers.

Add canned vegetables to your cupboard, especially when it comes to winter time if you're not going to spend the extra money on the fresh produce go with the frozen.

A trick for canned veggies: rinsing them before you cook them cuts the sodium by 40%.

If you buy canned fruits, look for them canned in water or light syrup.

Add beans to the cupboard. Black beans, garbanzo beans, kidney beans. Katie says as the weather is getting colder, beans are excellent ingredients to have in your cupboard to throw together in soup. Even if you want hamburger but you don't have it, add the extra beans.

Gravy lovers - keep your gravy lower in calories by cutting it in half. Adding skim or 1% milk to thin it out, then add some flour for thickness. Add pepper or basil or other herbs to bring out the flavor.

Just something to watch for: If you see reduced fat on the label, watch to see if that sugar content goes up.

Steamers are an excellent option for getting those quick veggies at dinner.

Pistachios, almonds, walnuts, pecans are excellent ingredients to have in cupboard, even in the baking cupboard. Adding in those nuts will increase the protein content and nutritional value. They also give you heart healthy fat.

Make sure your produce drawer is full of color and variety.

Have fresh fruit and fresh veggies on the counter because they are easy to grab.

Keep dairy products like milk and cheese low fat or fat free.

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