Health Topics

Stocking a Heart-Healthy Kitchen

Stocking a Heart-Healthy Kitchen

Heart-Healthy Kitchen Essentials Guide

If you want to eat a heart-healthy diet but are not sure what staples you should keep in your home, check out this heart-healthy kitchen essentials guide. With the help of this guide, you can start stocking up on nutritious foods to help you reduce your risk of heart disease.

Fresh Fruits and Vegetables

Fresh seasonal fruits:

  • berries
  • oranges
  • apples
  • pears
  • bananas
  • papaya
  • figs
  • mandarins
  • grapefruit
  • plantains
  • pineapple
  • apricots
  • mangoes
  • grapes

Dried unsweetened fruits:

  • raisins
  • cranberries
  • dates
  • figs
  • berries
  • bananas
  • mango
  • papaya
  • apples
  • apricots

Fresh seasonal vegetables

  • yellow, green, and red bell peppers
  • cucumbers
  • broccoli
  • kale
  • escarole
  • cauliflower
  • tomatoes
  • dark leafy greens celery
  • eggplant
  • zucchini
  • yellow squash
  • acorn squash
  • spaghetti squash

Dairy and Dairy Alternatives

  • Skim or 1% milk
  • Soymilk (plain, unsweetened, vanilla, or chocolate)
  • Low-fat or non-fat buttermilk
  • Non-fat half and half or non-fat creamers
  • Non-fat or reduced-fat cheese (bricks, slices, or shredded)
  • Soy-based cheeses (bricks, slices, or shredded)
  • Non-fat or light cream cheese
  • Non-fat or 1% fat cottage cheese or ricotta cheese
  • Non-fat or 1% fat yogurt (includes light fruited, vanilla, or plain)
  • Soy-based yogurts
  • Non-fat sour cream
  • Egg substitutes, egg whites

Fats, Cooking Oils

  • Assorted raw nuts and seeds (almonds, walnuts, peanuts, soy nuts, cashews, sunflower seeds, or sesame seeds)
  • Whole, milled, or ground flaxseeds or flax meal
  • Assorted cooking oils (olive, canola, walnut, rapeseed, peanut, and sesame)
  • Non-fat cooking sprays (e.g., Spectrum Naturals®, PAM®)
  • Baking fat replacements (e.g., pureed prunes, applesauce, or Smucker’s Healthy Bake®)
  • Non-hydrogenated shortening (e.g., Spectrum Naturals)
  • Trans-free liquid or tub margarine (e.g., Take Control®, Benecol®, Fleischmann’s Light®, or Smart Balance®)
  • Reduced fat or non-fat salad dressings

Herbs, Seasonings and Spices

Leave the salt container on the countertop. Here are some fabulous seasonings that everyone should stock in their kitchens:

  • Allspice, basil, bay leaves, black pepper, caraway seeds, cayenne and chili powder
  • Chinese five-spice, cinnamon, cloves, coriander, cumin, and curry powder
  • Dill, garlic powder, ground ginger, Italian seasoning, marjoram, and mint
  • Nutmeg, onion powder, oregano, paprika, and parsley
  • Red pepper flakes, rosemary, and reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • Assorted sodium-free Mrs. Dash® seasonings


  • Splenda®, Equal® NutraSweet®, Sugar Twin®, and/or Brown Sugar Twin® (sugar substitutes)
  • Sugar-free or "light" maple syrups
  • Honey
  • Brown rice syrup for a sweetening alternative to use when baking

Pantry Essentials

  • Dried beans (lentils, split peas, garbanzo beans, black beans)
  • Assorted canned beans such as lentils, kidney, garbanzo, pinto, and black beans (Note: Choose low- or reduced-sodium if you have high blood pressure.)
  • Reduced-sodium soups with beans (e.g., Health Valley®)
  • Vegetarian chili beans (e.g., Westbrae Naturals® or Health Valley)
  • Vegetarian or non-fat refried beans
  • Rolled, steel cut, or Irish oats
  • Oat bran
  • Whole-grain cold cereals (Note: Choose cereals that contain 5 or more grams of dietary fiber and fewer than 8 grams of sugar per serving.)
  • Barley
  • Brown rice, wild rice, and/or brown basmati rice
  • Grains such as wheat berries, couscous, polenta, millet, bulgur, or quinoa (pronounced ‘keen-wa’)
  • Whole wheat, spelt, or kamut pastas (Note: These whole grain pastas come in bowtie, fettuccini, lasagna, spaghetti, fusilli, spiral, elbow macaroni, and ravioli varieties.)
  • Baking potatoes, red potatoes, and sweet potatoes
  • Whole grain breads, tortillas, pitas
  • Whole grain, trans-fat free crackers (such as Health Valley whole wheat crackers, Kashi TLC® crackers, Reduced Fat Triscuits®, Fat-Free Rye Crisp®, or Wasa®)
  • Baked, trans-fat-free whole grain tortilla chips
  • Brown rice cakes, popcorn cakes
  • Whole grain pretzels (such as Snyder’s® oat bran or honey wheat)
  • Plain popcorn or light (98% fat-free) microwave popcorn
  • Wheat germ
  • Whole-wheat flour and whole-wheat pastry flour
  • Soy flour
  • Cornmeal
  • Reduced-sodium canned diced tomatoes, whole tomatoes, and tomato sauce
  • Tomato paste
  • Low-fat or fat-free pasta sauce
  • Reduced-sodium soups
  • Reduced sodium chicken, beef, and vegetable broths
  • 98% fat-free cream of mushroom or chicken soups (e.g., Campbell’s Healthy Request®)
  • Assorted vinegars: rice, red wine, balsamic, apple cider, or raspberry

Frozen Foods

  • Frozen vegetables and vegetable blends without added sauces, gravies, and added sodium
  • Frozen fruits without added sugar (e.g., frozen blueberries, strawberries, or raspberries)
  • Frozen soybeans (edamame)
  • Frozen meatless burgers, ground meat, sausage patties, or links (e.g., Boca®, Yves®, Morningstar Farms®, or Gardenburger®)
  • Reduced fat and sodium frozen entrees like Lean Cuisine®, Smart Ones®, or Healthy Choice®. (Note: These products should be used sparingly.)
  • Reduced-fat and sodium vegetarian chili, burritos, and entrees. (These include Amy’s Organic® and Health Valley®.)
  • Whole grain breads, tortillas, and pitas


  • Reduced-sodium ketchup
  • Assorted mustards: whole grain, honey, Dijon, yellow
  • Reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • Reduced-fat or non-fat mayonnaise
  • Barbecue sauce

Meat, Poultry, Fish, and Meat Substitutes

  • Skinless, boneless chicken or turkey breasts and tenders
  • Skinless, white breast meat ground chicken or turkey
  • Pork tenderloin, trimmed of fat
  • Lean ground beef such as ground round or ground sirloin (Note: When buying beef, look for words like "round" or "loin," and choose lean cuts—the less marbling, the lower the fat content.)
  • Assorted fish: salmon, mackerel, tilapia, trout, herring, and tuna
  • Tofu – silken, firm, or extra firm
  • Tempeh
  • Seitan

Stocking your cupboard with these heart-healthy items will encourage you and your family members to eat more heart-healthfully. Having these items on-hand will also make menu and meal preparation a snap.

Find healthy and delicious recipes in our Speaking of Women’s Health Recipe Box.