Shopping List

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Congratulations! You are on your way to eating healthy and improving your health.
These ideas from WebMD and the US Department of Health and Human Services will help you stock up on healthy foods to start eating better, feeling better, and reducing your risk of stroke, heart disease, diabetes, and high cholesterol.

Bread And Pasta

On grains, check for the words “whole wheat” or “whole wheat flour” as the first ingredient. Choose whole-grain products that have at least 3 to 4 grams of fiber and fewer than 100 calories per serving. Try whole- wheat pastas, or ones that are high in protein like couscous or quinoa. Look for:
  • Bread, bagels, or pita bread
  • English muffins
  • Corn tortillas (not fried)
  • Low-fat flour tortillas
  • Rice crackers
  • Whole wheat bread, pita pockets, and English muffins
  • Whole-grain flour tortillas
  • Couscous or kasha
  • Grits
  • Quinoa
  • Oatmeal
  • Brown rice

Meat And Seafood

Choose the leanest red meats, and opt for ground chicken or ground turkey over ground beef, as they are lower in fat. Look for:
  • Skinless chicken or turkey breasts
  • Ground turkey or chicken
  • Salmon, halibut, trout, mackerel
  • Reduced-sodium and 95% fat-free lunch meats
  • Other options such as tofu, beans, and eggs

Oils And Sauces

This area is where it’s easy to take in extra sodium, sugar, and fat. Read labels and choose products with low salt, sugar, and fat content. Look for:
  • Tomato sauce
  • Barbecue sauce
  • Red-wine vinegar
  • Salsa
  • Extra virgin olive oil or canola oil
  • Nonfat cooking spray
  • Jarred capers and olives
  • Hot pepper sauce
  • Fat-free or low-fat salad dressings
  • Mustard
  • Salsa or picante sauce
  • Canned green chilies
  • Soy sauce (low- sodium)

Cereals And Breakfast Foods

Buy cereals and cereal bars that are high in fiber and low in sugar, and sweeten them with berries, dried fruit, or nuts. Look for:
  • Whole-grain or multigrain cereals
  • Steel-cut or instant oatmeal
  • Whole-grain cereal bars

Canned Goods

When buying canned vegetables, fruits, protein, and soups, always choose the low- sodium, low-sugar, and low-fat options. Look for:
  • Diced or whole peeled tomatoes
  • Tuna or salmon packed in water
  • Low-fat soups and broths
  • Black, kidney, soy, or garbanzo beans
  • Lentils
  • Split peas
  • Diced green chilies

Frozen Foods

Frozen vegetables, whole grains, proteins, and fruit are an easy way to create a meal or add nutrition to soups, casseroles, stews, and smoothies. Look for:
  • Frozen, no sauce added, vegetables such as broccoli, spinach, peas, and carrots
  • Frozen fruit with no added sugar, such as strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries
  • Frozen, cooked shrimp
  • Pre-portioned, low-fat ice cream or frozen yogurt
  • Whole-grain waffles
  • Whole-grain vegetable pizza
  • Unbreaded fish fillets
  • Egg substitute

Dairy, Cheese, And Eggs

Opt for low-fat dairy products and plain unsweetened yogurt. Choose cheese like Parmesan or goat cheese that provides more flavor in smaller amounts. Avoid products with high sugar and fat counts. Look for:
  • Skim or low-fat milk or soymilk
  • Fat-free or low-fat yogurt
  • Fat-free or low-fat cottage cheese
  • Low-fat cheese or string cheese
  • Eggs or egg substitutes
  • Firm tofu
  • Butter or spread with no hydrogenated oils


Even when you’re faithful to healthy eating, it is normal to crave something sweet or salty. There are several healthy snacks. Look for:
  • Whole-grain crackers
  • Dried fruit like apricots, figs, prunes, raisins, and cranberries
  • Roasted and unsalted nuts like almonds, walnuts, peanuts, pecans, and pistachios
  • Sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, or whole or ground flaxseeds
  • Peanut, almond, or soy butter
  • Hummus
  • Dark chocolate containing more than 70% cocoa

Fruits And Vegetables

Buy foods that are in season and locally grown. Also select fruits with a lot of color, as they are richest in nutrients. Look for:
  • Fresh bananas, apples, oranges, mangoes, strawberries, and blueberries
  • Sweet potatoes, baby spinach, broccoli, and carrot sticks
  • Exotic vegetables like okra, eggplant, kale, bamboo shoots, and bok choy


Make sure fruit juice is 100% fruit juice. Also opt for drinks that are low in sugar. Look for:
  • Unsweetened green and flavored teas
  • Calcium-fortified orange juice
  • Sparkling water
Note: This fact sheet is compiled from general, publicly available information and should not be considered recommended treatment for any particular individual. You should consult your provider about any personal medical concerns. All publications are reviewed by National Stroke Association’s Publications Committee.