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Grocery List for Healthy Diet

By Karen Hellesvig-Gaskell

It may be tempting to grab a few prepared frozen food items or processed baked goods at the grocery store in the name of time-saving simplicity. But shopping for nutritious foods doesn't have to be an overwhelming and confusing chore. The American Heart Association says a grocery list for a healthy diet contains food items that promote heart-health. Key grocery list items include vegetables, fruits whole grains, low-fat dairy products, fish, lean meats poultry and nuts, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention or CDCP.

Dairy Products

Dairy products are good sources of calcium. Milk is fortified with vitamin D which helps with calcium absorption. When choosing dairy products select skim or 1 percent milk and fat-free, or low-fat or cheeses advises the AHA. Rather than buying butter, select soft margarines that are free of trans fat. Scratch cream and ice cream off your grocery list unless its for a special event. Also stay away from chocolate milk or other added flavorings that contain added sugars, points out the AHA.

Fruits and Vegetables

Vegetables and fruits should be high on your healthy grocery shopping list, according to the AHA. Keep in mind that deeply colored veggies and fruits like carrots, berries and peaches generally contain more vitamins and minerals than items such as corn and potatoes. Good fruit choices include apples, oranges, bananas and strawberries. Fresh, canned or frozen items are all healthful choices, according to the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center or UPMC. When you choose frozen or canned fruits and vegetables look for products without added sugars, salts or saturated fats.

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Fish, Poultry and Meat

Baked or grilled fish should be on your menu at least twice per week, according to the AHA. Good fish items to add to your grocery list include herring, salmon and trout. When picking out pork and meat select "loin" and "round" cuts because they tend to have the least amount of fat. When buying chicken and other poultry items, choose breasts over thighs and legs because light meat tends to be leaner than dark meat. Consider buying skinless poultry or remove the skin before you prepare it, advises the University of Michigan Health System.

Whole Grains, Nuts and Seeds

Choose fiber-rich whole-grain breads, advises the AHA. Whole grains should be listed as the top ingredient on the label. Other good sources of nutrient-rich whole-grains include oatmeal, brown rice, buckwheat, whole-wheat pasta, unsalted pretzels and popcorn. Whole grain foods may lower the risk of obesity, heart disease and type 2 diabetes, according to the UMHS. Nuts and seeds are good sources of protein. Items like almonds, hazelnuts, peanuts, mixed nuts, sunflower seeds and walnuts should be consumed in moderation since they are generally high in calories.

Cooking Oils

When shopping for cooking oils look for canola oil, corn oil, olive oil or sunflower oil.These oils contain the lowest amount of cholesterol and saturated fat, according to the AHA.

Snacks and Deserts

A grocery list for a healthy diet can include snacks and desert items. Look for crackers and chips that are low in fat and sodium advises, the AHA. Choose fruits or gelatin for desert rather than cakes, cookies and other baked goods.

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