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Eating Heart Healthy While on a Budget Can Go Hand in Hand

Published in Heart & Vascular, For the Health of It, Healthy Eating Tips Author: Danielle Armbrust,RDN,LD

With grocery prices climbing, adapting to a heart healthy diet is a great way to keep your grocery budget in check.

Here are five key points in a heart healthy diet that also are budget friendly.

  1. Eat less meat. Limiting your intake of saturated fat is key when trying to lower your cholesterol. Saturated fat primarily comes from animal products, so eating them less often and/or in smaller amounts is recommended.
  2. Eat more beans and lentils. As you work to decrease your intake of meat, consider beans and lentils as an excellent way to incorporate plant-based protein. Beans and lentils do not contain saturated fat and have the added bonus of being full of fiber, which also is beneficial when trying to lower your cholesterol.
  3. Fill up on whole grains. Whole grains are another way to incorporate more fiber into your diet. By choosing to buy minimally processed whole grains such as brown rice, quinoa and old-fashioned oats, you can save money in comparison to buying highly processed, prepared foods.
  4. Limit highly processed snack foods. Generally, when we reach for a snack, it is something that is full of sodium and/or added sugar. We generally try to limit added sodium and sugar in a heart healthy diet, mostly because many foods are just loaded with one or the other. Instead, when you want a snack, try to stick with whole foods such as fruit, low-sugar yogurt or lightly salted nuts.
  5. Finally, load up on vegetables. While many people are concerned that eating more vegetables will be expensive, when you choose the right vegetables, you will be saving money. Choose vegetables (and fruit) that are in season. Also, consider buying frozen or no-salt-added canned vegetables. No matter how you choose to buy them, when it comes to vegetables, the more the better!

To learn more about a whole food, nutrient-dense, plant-based eating style, sign up for the 10-week L.I.F.E. Program (Lifestyle, Food & Exercise).

If you are struggling with food choices and could benefit from cardiac nutrition guidance, Call the CentraCare Heart & Vascular Center at 320-251-2700, ext. 57449.

Try this vegetarian White Bean Tuscan Soup recipe — you won’t miss the meat!

White Bean Tuscan Soup


  • Two 15 oz. cans reduced sodium cannellini beans; drained and rinsed well
  • 1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 1 cup diced carrots
  • 1 cup diced celery
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, diced
  • 1 Tbsp. minced garlic
  • 4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
  • Two dried bay leaves
  • ¼ tsp. black pepper
  • ¼ tsp. turmeric
  • ¼ tsp. Italian seasoning
  • 2 cups chopped spinach (fresh or frozen)


In a large saucepan, sauté the onion, carrots, celery and peppers in oil until vegetables are tender. Add garlic and sauté for 1 minute, then stir in the beans. Add broth, bay leaves and seasonings. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to a simmer. Cover and simmer for 45-60 minutes. Before serving, remove bay leaves. Stir in chopped spinach.


Yield: 8 (1 cup) servings

  • Calories per serving: 145
  • Fat per serving: 2g
  • Saturated fat per serving: 0g
  • Carbs per serving: 26g
  • Protein per serving: 9g
  • Fiber per serving: 8g
  • Added sugar per serving: 0g
  • Sodium per serving: 150mg