Don’t pass up beans, sardines and healthy oils when shopping

07/21/2014 1:36 PM

07/21/2014 6:17 PM

I love sound bites as much as the next nutritionist. These are the catchy, easy-to-remember phrases that are meant to make healthy nutrition choices memorable.

A few of my favorites: Eat your colors, consult your gut and eat when you are hungry, not when you are bored.

But there is one sound bite I would like to retire, that is, “Shop the perimeter of the supermarket.” There are great fresh foods on the borders of the store but avoiding the aisles means missing some super staples. Three to consider:.

• Benefits of beans: Kudos to everyone cooking their own, but for the rest of us canned beans are a nutritional bonanza. Most come in a low-sodium version, and if not available, rinsing removes about 40 percent of the sodium. Enhancing salads, spreads and sautés with beans adds protein, fiber, folate, copper and manganese to name just a few beans nutrients. Other healthy canned foods that jazz up a dish are artichoke hearts, low-sodium diced tomatoes and hearts of palm.

• Friendly fish: One of the most concentrated and reasonably priced sources of the Omega 3 fatty acids of DHA and EPA are sardines. Omega 3s help reduce inflammation, a root cause of many diseases. They also lower triglyderides, which contributes to cardiac disease. Other nutrients hiding in sardines are protein, selenium, vitamin D and calcium. Canned wild salmon has the same nutrition as fresh, is less expensive, and is perfect for salmon burgers and salads.

• Oil up: How do you cook all the fresh foods from the perimeter if you don’t visit the oil aisle? For everyday use, canola and olive oil are great choices. Peanut oil with its high smoke point is stir-fry perfect. Avocado and walnut oils are two artisan oils that add zing to a salad. All these oils are rich in monounsaturated fatty acids that help control blood cholesterol.

If I had a magic wand there is one aisle I would change, the candy-loaded checkout line that sends children begging and adults sneaking in one more purchase.

Sheah Rarback is a registered dietitian on the faculty of the University of Miami Leonard M. Miller School of Medicine. Follow her on Twitter @sheahrarback.

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