3 heart-healthy snack ideas
Following a heart-healthy diet can help to prevent heart problems later in life, especially for those already at risk for heart disease. For people with high blood pressure, diabetes and those who struggle with obesity, making small changes to how you eat can make a big difference. Replacing processed or salt-heavy options with heart-healthy snack ideas can be one way to make a change that doesn’t feel overwhelming and help set you on a lifelong path toward improving your health.
Lisa Money, RD, offered a few heart-healthy snack ideas easy to make right at home.
Replace salt-heavy buffalo dip with a protein-packed bean-based option
“It’s never too early to change your habits to work toward improving your health,” said Money. “But that doesn’t mean you have to give up your favorite flavors! This take on buffalo dip gives you the flavor and spice you’re familiar with but with more varied nutrition.”
White Bean Buffalo Hummus Dip
- 1 15-ounce can of cannellini or Northern beans
- 1/4 cup tahini
- 2 tablespoons of buffalo sauce (or more, depending on preferred spice level)
- Maple syrup for sweetening, to taste
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice
- Celery, carrots, tomatoes and other fresh veggies for dipping
- Sweet potato chips (try homemade to lessen the fat intake!)
Blend the first five ingredients until smooth. Keep covered in the refrigerator until serving.
Replace less nutritious storebought trail mix with homemade, customized flavor
“Trail mix is a great snack option, whether you’re out hiking or at home, but processed storebought trail mix often has higher levels of sodium or sugar that outweighs the nutrition,” said Money. “What I like to do is build a trail mix all my own, starting with a base of high-protein cereal.”
This isn’t a recipe so much as a series of recommendations. Choose a cereal option with at least 8 grams of protein to help keep you full in whatever flavor you like most, add toasted unsalted almonds, pumpkin seeds or your favorite nuts or seeds for healthy fats, and add in dried cranberries, which give you a heart-healthy hit of potassium. Adding the zest of an orange can give you an unexpected citrusy flavor you’re sure to love.
Start your day with a beet berry smoothie that offers delicious heart-healthy benefits
“One thing I really want to emphasize is increasing your intake of potassium,” said Money. “Potassium is great for helping to mitigate inflammation caused by sodium intake and helps to regulate blood pressure, and most Americans simply do not get enough potassium in their diet.”
One way to increase potassium intake? Adding coconut water and beet juice, both good sources of potassium, into your morning smoothie.
Beet Berry Smoothie
- Beet juice (available from juice brands like V8 or Juice Performer, or you can make your own at home) or use canned beets
- Vanilla Greek yogurt for protein and flavor
- Coconut water
- Strawberries, raspberries or blueberries (use frozen to replace the need for added ice!)
- ½ banana
- Unsweetened coconut flakes, chia seeds or fresh fruit for topping (optional)
Combine ingredients into a blender. Blend until smooth. Pour into a glass, add toppings if using, and serve. Works well as the base for a smoothie bowl if you use whole beets instead of beet juice or use more Greek yogurt for a firmer texture.
Looking for more heart-healthy ideas?
You can find more advice on heart-healthy lifestyle choices and ideas for every meal of the day right here on Flourish, including:
- 5 heart-healthy seeds to add to your diet
- How to live a heart-healthy lifestyle
- How does salt affect hypertension?
- Is the Keto diet heart-healthy?
- 5 tips on how to get more fruits and vegetables into your diet
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