Vanderbilt Heart

How to Build a Heart Healthy Kitchen

Buying healthy "building block" foods is the first step to a heart healthy lifestyle change. If you have these basics on hand, it's easier to make healthy choices when it's time to eat.


  • Fresh fish
  • Lean meats like turkey breast or chicken breast
  • Low-fat cheese and yogurt
  • 1% or skim milk
  • Fresh fruits and vegetables


  • Olive oil or canola oil
  • Light bottled vinaigrette salad dressings
  • Herbs and spices to add flavor without adding salt
  • Whole-grain, low-sugar breakfast cereal or low-sugar oatmeal packets
  • Low-salt mixed nuts
  • Reduced-fat whole grain crackers
  • Light popcorn
  • Low-sodium broth and soups
  • Whole grain pastas and brown rice (also consider alternative options like couscous, barley, or quinoa for variety)
  • Tomato-based canned pasta sauce (look for organic versions with low sodium content)
  • Canned tuna packed in water
  • Whole wheat flour
  • Canned beans
  • Flavored, sugar-free mineral water, no-calorie iced tea, or ice water flavored with lemon or lime


  • Frozen fruit (just add low-fat yogurt and orange juice and blend for a healthy smoothie)
  • Frozen spinach adds color and nutrients to any omelet, pasta dish or casserole
  • Frozen broccoli florets
  • Frozen whole grain waffles
  • Frozen all-natural chicken breast
  • Veggie burgers (look for low-sodium varieties)
  • Frozen mixed vegetables (perfect for a quick and easy side dish)
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