- Fresh fruit is nature’s best snack, complete with its own wrapper.
- Frozen fruits are especially delicious in baked desserts.
- Canned fruits, especially those canned in fruit juice, can add variety to your meals.
- Dried fruits add pizzazz to salads, rice, and pasta dishes.
- Frozen vegetable medleys and chopped onion are great timesavers.
- Fresh vegetables like zucchini, broccoli, cauliflower, etc are easy to prepare. Look for store specials to get even more nutrients for your money.
- Canned tomatoes with no added salt but additional ingredients (with basil, fire-roasted, with peppers etc) are very convenient because they add many flavors from a single can.
- Pasta sauce, no-salt-added tomato sauce, and tomato paste are the workhorses of a heart-healthy kitchen.
- Canned beans add tons of fiber and nutrients to every meal. Just give them a rinse and add them to whatever you’re cooking.
- Split peas and lentils cook quickly without needing any soaking time.
- Chicken, turkey, and fish all freeze well, so stock up on store specials. Be sure to choose lean poultry!
- Veggie burgers make quick, heart-healthy meals.
- Canned tuna and salmon add extra staying power to salads.
- Instant brown rice is a whole grain that cooks in only 5-10 minutes. Save money by making large batches of brown rice and freezing it in small portions that you can use later.
- Small pastas like macaroni, rotelle, penne, rotini, and mini shells all cook quickly in the skillet or microwave as part of “one pot” meals. Often they don’t need to be boiled and drained first.
- Whole wheat pitas and tortillas are super versatile. Use them to make personal pizzas or wraps, or toast them and pile a salad on top for a tasty take on the tostada.
- Quick cooking barley is a speedy and healthful addition to soups, risottos, and pilafs.
- Nonfat plain yogurt makes a great topping.
- Nonfat vanilla yogurt is perfect as a salad dressing for sweet salads (made with a combination of fruits and veggies) or as a dessert sauce.
- Fat-free or low-fat grated cheeses offer healthful alternatives to full-fat cheese. For best results, only bake or microwave these cheeses briefly -- they can become tough when they’re cooked for too long.
- A little bit of Parmesan cheese goes a long way, packing tons of flavor into a relatively small serving.
Stephanie Ronco has been editing in a professional capacity for the past 10 years. In addition to her work as an editor, Ronco has also served as a ghostwriter and writing tutor. A voracious reader, Ronco loves watching language evolve and change. When she’s not delving into her latest project, Ronco can be found teaching acting classes, performing in community theater, or sailing with her husband.