This is What a Heart-Healthy Diet Looks Like

meals

If you’re hungry right now, forget about chowing down that bacon-wrapped double-stack burger with fries, and wrap your mind around this.

About 1 in 3 adults has elevated or high blood pressure, according to the American Heart Association. If you don’t have elevated or high blood pressure, you know someone who does. It’s a major risk factor for a heart attack, stroke, or heart disease.

But here’s the thing...Your diet can have a major impact on heart health. Eat a lot of junk food, red meats, fried food, fast food, processed meals, and foods high in sodium, and it’s going to take a toll on your heart and your health.

But it doesn’t have to be like that. Eating healthy foods can improve heart health and lower your risk for chronic diseases. 

Here’s what a heart-healthy diet should include according to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans:

  • Whole grains: Try whole-grain breads, pasta, rice, cereal, and oatmeal.
  • Vegetables & Fruits: Half your plate at every meal should be fruits and vegetables. They’re low in calories, but high in vitamins, nutrients, and antioxidants.
  • Low-fat dairy: Try low-fat milk, Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, low-fat creamer
  • Lean-protein: This includes chicken, poultry, eggs, lean beef, legumes, and fish
  • Healthy fats: Try avocados, fish, nuts, seeds, and foods made with extra virgin olive oil.

If you’re not used to eating this way, you might find it hard to navigate your way through the grocery store. And it might be hard to figure out what to eat and what to avoid when you’re staring at a restaurant menu.

Don’t worry. Following a heart-healthy diet doesn’t have to be hard. With a little practice, you’ll be able to adjust your eating habits to keep your heart healthy.

Need a little help with heart-healthy meal planning?

Check out the complete menu of Low-Sodium meals for heart health. They’re all made from fresh ingredients and only take minutes to prepare in the microwave.

The top-five favorite heart-healthy meals are:

  1. Basil Chicken with Rice & Zucchini Saute
  2. Eggplant Parmigiana and Polenta with Spinach & Roasted Peppers
  3. Salmon Caponata with Orzo & Spinach
  4. Spinach Mushroom Lasagna with Garlic Green Beans
  5. Vegetable Caponata with Orzo & Spinach