You are what you eat, or so the saying goes. This applies to your heart too. Making small adjustments to your daily diet can make a big impact on your heart health. Here are some ideas for smart choices you can make for your heart throughout the day.
Quick, healthy breakfasts
Breakfast give you a chance to start your day with foods packed with energy and nutrition. People who eat breakfast typically have lower cholesterol and lower weight than those who skip it. Some great options include:
- Oatmeal: Cooked or overnight oats have complex carbs and lots of fiber. Skip the sugar and throw on some berries to get the antioxidants going for your day.
- Avocado toast: Top whole-grain toast with sliced avocado and drizzle with a little heart-healthy olive oil.
- Smoothies: Stick to plant-based ingredients like the power greens in this amazing power smoothie.
Healthy lunch ideas
A combination of lean protein and fresh produce will help fuel your body midday and keep your energy going through the afternoon. These food groups can be turned into:
Salads: Salads don’t have just be “rabbit food.” But piles of salad dressing, croutons and cheese can steer salads the wrong direction. Instead, aim to load up on a rainbow of fresh veggies. And don’t forget to throw on a few berries for some heart-healthy antioxidants.
Wraps: Take your favorite protein and salad vegetables and wrap them in a whole-wheat tortilla to create a delicious, heart-healthy wrap. Check out our raw taco recipe.
Sandwiches: Whole-grain above and below your favorite lean protein and veggies is a lunchtime classic. Keep your sandwiches heart smart by skipping the mayo and adding a light vinaigrette or hummus instead.
In addition to helping your heart, you’ll be helping your wallet as you avoid costly trips to local restaurants for lunch.
Delicious dinners for your heart
Lean protein and fresh vegetables are as key to a great dinner as they are to your heart-healthy lunch. A few steps can keep your dinner as heart-focused as your other meals.
Consider choosing a plant-based menu at least a couple times each week. Dr. Derek Anderson, one of Adventist Health Portland’s primary care physicians, offers a recipe for vegan risotto that will have you shouting, “Mangia!”
Pick your protein carefully. Plant-based proteins — like beans combined with whole grains — are a great way to reward your heart for a job well-done. Or choose baked cold-water fish or skinless chicken breasts and skip the fried foods.
Don’t forget dessert
Believe it or not, you can even enjoy dessert while staying focused on keeping your heart healthy. Take it easy on the sugar and load up on really nutritious fruit like berries. And if you’re ready for a real culinary adventure, check out this recipe for a plant-based, heart-healthy spice cake.
No matter how well you plan, you may find times when you need some help keeping hunger at bay between meals. Choosing your snacks wisely is one of the best ways to make sure you’re feeding your heart the foods it needs to serve you well.
- Nuts and seeds: These are a great source of healthy fats. Just eat them in small amounts, as they are dense with calories. And avoid salted nuts and seeds.
- Fruit: Fruit gives you an energy boost that satisfies a sugar craving while adding lots of vitamins to your diet.
- Popcorn: Stick to air popped popcorn for some whole-grain goodness without piles of oil and salt.
We have so many more snack ideas in our blog! And you can always check with your primary care provider or heart doctor for more ideas of the best way to fuel your heart for life.