Heart smart in your cart

By Haley Burton

February 4, 2014 Updated Feb 4, 2014 at 6:26 AM EST

(WBNG Binghamton) Eat heart smart starts in your cart at the grocery store.

Beth Stark, Weis Markets Dietitian, explains what to stock and what to skip for a heart-healthy diet.

Filling your cart with heart-smart foods is the first step to lowering your risk for heart disease.

"If these types of foods are out of sight in your kitchen, it's likely they will be out of your mind and off your plate too," said Stark.

Some of the grocery cart must-haves including finding heart-healthy foods that can be used to make homemade meals easy, For example, stock up on ready-to-use and nutritious canned foods such as beans, fruit, tuna, salmon and vegetables.

According to a University of California-Davis study, many canned fruits and vegetables have equal, or more nutrients than their fresh or frozen counterparts, said Stark.

Since the canning process locks in nutrients at the peak of ripeness, there are plenty of options without a lot of additives, such as fruits packed in water, juice or light syrup and vegetables that contain no added or reduced-amounts of salt.

Stark explained that you can go a step further and drain and rinse beans and vegetables for even more sodium savings.

There are more than 1,500 food items available in cans providing many cooking and recipe options.

Stark added, "I often add them to my everyday recipes, like casseroles, soups, salads and more to give them an instant nutrition boost".

Pumpkin & black bean salsa

In a large bowl, combine one can each of drained and rinsed reduced sodium black beans and corn, a can of drained tomatoes with jalapenos and a ¼ cup of pumpkin.

Add a little chili powder, cumin, smoked paprika and cayenne pepper, followed up with a squeeze of fresh lime juice to brighten and round out the flavors.

Visit CansGetYouCooking.com for recipe ideas, facts on cans, and more.

For more heart healthy tips pick up volume 65 of Healthy Bites magazine at Weis Markets stores and online at weismarkets.com.

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