FORT LEE, Va. – February is American Heart Month and a perfect time to focus on heart health. Many of the factors of cardiovascular health are under our control. One of the most significant weapons is the food we eat.
The Defense Commissary Agency (DeCA) offers customers plenty of opportunities to make better product selections for their heart health while saving significantly in the process.
“Heart disease doesn’t occur overnight, it is a result of lifelong choices,” said Deborah Harris, DeCA’s dietitian and health and wellness program manager (who holds a master of Public Health degree and is a registered dietitian and certified diabetes care and education specialist).
“One of the best ways to keep our hearts healthy is to make food selections that will help us protect our hearts,” she added. “As you shop the commissary aisles, start with a few heart-healthy changes, like reading nutrition labels and choosing “Dietitian-Approved Thumb” tagged items, then begin to add others.”
According to the American Heart Association, when making the following choices, it will help ensure you are eating nutrient-dense foods for a heart-healthy dietary pattern.
- Eat a variety of fruit and vegetables – all forms (fresh, frozen, canned and dried) and all colors
- Choose whole grains
- Select healthy sources of protein, mostly from plant sources like legumes and nuts, fish or seafood, low-fat or nonfat dairy and lean cuts of meat
- Limit red and processed meats, sodium, added sugars and alcohol
- Choose foods and oils with healthy fats, avoiding saturated and trans fats
- Scan the entire nutrition label to identify nutrient-dense foods. Look further down the label to identify beneficial nutrients such as calcium, potassium and fiber. This analysis has already been done for commissary customers. Simply look for the “Dietitian-Approved Thumb”-tagged items on the commissary shelves
As you menu plan and shop, the commissary places these heart healthy choices at your fingertips. Try some new recipes like Shepherd’s Pie with Cauliflower Topping , Shrimp and Grits, or any of the other dietitian-approved recipes found on commissaries.com.
Use the monthly menu planning resources: the Printable Nutrition Month Dinner Meal Plan or the Tasty. Simple. Nutritious Dinner Meal Plan to add variety to your heart smart choices.
Even when shopping online using Commissary Click2Go, the commissary’s online ordering service, instantly add the ingredients of your favorite dietitian-approved recipe to your virtual grocery cart by selecting the recipe you would like to add to your meal plan for the week and simply click the “Add to Cart” button beside each of the ingredients you need to prepare the meal.
“The commissary has made it easy to stock your fridge and pantry with nutrient-dense foods that are kind to your heart. These food choices will help you achieve success in transforming to a heart-healthy diet that will support your heart health in the years to come,” Harris said. “Small steps like these now can lead to big strides toward better heart health later.”
In Hawaii, authorized patrons have four commissaries they can shop at:
- Marine Corps Base Hawaii Kaneohe
- Pearl Harbor (at the NEX)
- Schofield Barracks
About DeCA: The Defense Commissary Agency operates a worldwide chain of commissaries providing groceries to military personnel, retirees and their families in a safe and secure shopping environment. Commissaries provide a military benefit, saving authorized patrons thousands of dollars annually on their purchases compared to similar products at commercial retailers. The discounted prices include a 5-percent surcharge, which covers the costs of building new commissaries and modernizing existing ones. A core military family support element, and a valued part of military pay and benefits, commissaries contribute to family readiness, enhance the quality of life for America’s military and their families, and help recruit and retain the best and brightest men and women to serve their country.