Taking care of yourself is so important, and a main way to do so is by filling your plate with the right set of wholesome, nutritious foods and heart healthy meals that can benefit your mind and body, both short- and long-term.
Whether it’s adding healthy dinner recipes to your repertoire or keeping snacks on hand for midday munchies that contain fiber, protein, and good fats to fill you up and provide fuel, making sure you are eating foods that are nutrient-dense and of high quality ingredients will protect your heart and lower your risk of various diseases, such as heart disease, diabetes, and stroke.
So, if you’re unsure what to eat for your ticker throughout the day, here’s a handy guide for what to eat for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snack time that will contain those energy-boosting nutrients you’re looking for.
Starting the day with a heart healthy breakfast will set you up for a great day ahead, as your body needs fuel upon waking up to get the mind thinking and the body moving. And those nutrients include protein, good fats, fiber, and some vitamins and minerals. Here are a few foods you might enjoy—and pair with coffee, which also perks you up and provides antioxidants for your heart health.
Waking up with an omelet or a fried egg on avocado toast will provide choline (from the yolk, so keep it!), which boosts cognitive thinking, as well as ample protein to fill you up faster and longer. Plus, they’re versatile. What’s more, a recent study just found that an egg a day doesn’t hurt your heart, but offers great nutrition, so enjoy!
Smoked Salmon on Toast
Spread salmon on a slice of whole grain toast or add smoked salmon to your eggs in the morning for breakfast, as salmon has omega 3’s, which protect your heart and lower inflammation to ward off disease. It’s also beneficial for your brain, so it’ll fire up your mental clarity bright and early, too.
Oatmeal and Blueberries
Oatmeal is a great source of fiber, to fill you up in the morning, and oats act as a heart healthy breakfast, too. The blueberries have antioxidants to further benefit your heart and fuel your brain cells.
Heart healthy snacks not only aid in satisfying hunger and providing a burst of energy, but they also act as a replacement for office junk (think cookies, chips, and leftover takeout from lunch!), where you can save yourself from the sugar rush and excess calories and fat and choose something else that you brought from home that contains good-for-you ingredients instead. Try these.
Greek Yogurt with Berries and Nuts
Greek yogurt (go for plain!) has good protein and probiotics to benefit your gut, which then protects your heart. The nuts and berries have good fats, fiber, and antioxidants, as well.
Oats are a heart healthy snack, so keep a bar on hand for on-the-go snacking. The fiber boosts satiety, too.
Apple + Nut Butter
Apples have fiber in the skin and nut butter has good protein and fats, as well as protective benefits for your heart, so use them together for a quick, tasty snack. You can also sub for a banana, too.
By lunchtime you are likely pretty hungry, and so you want to reach for something nutritious and filling that can tide you over until your next snack or meal and help you maintain the mental and physical stamina to tackle the second chapter of the workday. So, pick a heart healthy meal that also has protein, fiber, and good fats to boost satiety and add some great flavor. Here are some options.
Salad with Tuna
Open a can of tuna and top it on a salad of leafy greens, along with some other toppings that benefit your heart, such as berries, nuts like slivered almonds or walnuts, more veggies, and a drizzle of olive oil for moisture and anti-inflammatory properties.
The olive oil is part of the Mediterranean diet, which consists of heart healthy foods in general, and the tuna has those omega 3’s and protein. Plus, walnuts also have omega 3’s, as well as fiber, making them an excellent choice. And berries contain antioxidants—which also protect your heart.
Grain Bowl With Protein
Fill a bowl with hearty grains, like quinoa, buckwheat, or brown rice, which have fiber and good carbs to benefit your heart. Then add in protein, like grilled chicken, poke, diced turkey, or tofu/edamame, for some protein.
A soup that has tons of bright veggies contains antioxidants that keep your heart strong. Use a clean broth and add in hues of orange, yellow, and green, like spinach or kale and sweet potato. You can also add protein, like chicken.
Enjoy your last meal of the day by pairing a prime protein source with some good carbohydrates and veggies as sides. That makes a balanced meal. Steer clear of pastas, pizzas, and fried foods, which can be heavy close to bed. Here are some ideas.
A stir-fry is great for easy cooking, since you wok it all up in a matter of minutes. And healthy chicken recipes contain great protein and can take on different flavors, so they’re super versatile. Play with the veggies—broccoli, bok choy, bell peppers, and more.
Spaghetti + Meatballs
Grab some turkey or beef to make meatballs and top on spaghetti—though not pasta, but a chickpea pasta, like Banza, or zucchini or squash spirals. Add in veggies to bulk up the nutrition for your heart.
Soup is easy to make in bulk and then re-heat for busy weeknights. Make a chili made with plant protein, like beans and legumes, which protect your heart and offer great fiber too. Top with sliced avocado—also great for your ticker and it adds creaminess!
By incorporating these heart healthy meals into your diet, you'll both reap the nutritious benefits and pack in some great flavor. Make a shopping list each week and meal plan accordingly to help simplify the process!