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During American Heart Month in February, I’ve focused on posts that promote cardiovascular health. Heart Health Tips offers simple and yet important ways to take care of the heart. Lemon Blueberry Baked Oats provides an easy to prepare recipe featuring a food that supports heart health. And Eight Ways Kindness Boosts Health shows that practicing kindness is good for health, including the cardiovascular system.
Today’s post lists suggestions for heart healthy snacks. Doctors agree that a plant based lifestyle and the Mediterranean diet both support heart health. These diets…or a combination of the two…decrease the risk of cardiovascular disease and offer protection for the heart.
When thinking about the best heart healthy snacks, focus on these three vital factors: fiber, unsaturated fatty acids or omega-3s and antioxidants.
Apples + Unsweetened Nut Butter
High fiber fruits like apples, paired with a no sugar added nut butter, checks all the boxes for heart friendly nutrients and antioxidants. Choose a red skinned apple for even more benefits and leave the peeling on.
Apples offer bioactive polyphenols and soluable fiber that’s proven to boost cardiovascular health. Skip nut butters loaded with sugar. Instead, choose a natural peanut butter, such as Crazy Richard’s. Or look for no sugar added almond or cashew butter.
Hummus + Crunchy Veggies
Traditionally made from chickpeas, delicious creamy hummus provides antioxidants that protect the heart and blood vessels.
Create a snack or a meal from hummus and crunchy, fiber rich vegetables such as celery, carrots, red, orange, yellow or green sweet peppers and cucumbers. These veggies add vitamins A and C to the diet along with more antioxidants.
Avocado Toast + Fruit
Considered a fruit, rather than a vegetable, avocadoes are a rich source of good-for-you fatty acids and anti-inflammatory compounds that help thin the blood naturally.
Top multi-grain, gluten free toast with sliced or mashed avocado. Eat along with fresh berries, apple or orange slices or chunks of melon. Berries are full of antioxidants and plant compounds that protect heart valves and ventricles and dissolve plaque within veins and arteries.
Non GMO Popcorn + Turmeric
Popcorn is a fiber rich snack option. Just look for non GMO varieties to reduce the risk of inflammation. Create a healthy twist on this traditional snack by sprinkling on the powerful healing spice turmeric.
Due to its anti-inflammatory properties, turmeric’s curcumin protects the whole cardiovascular system. Plus it lowers bad cholesterol while raising the good.
Nuts or Seeds + Raisins or Dried Cranberries
Nuts and seeds contain fiber, omega-3s and antioxidants, making them excellent for heart health. Create your own trail mix by combining a variety of unsalted seeds such as pumpkin, sunflower, hemp or chia and nuts such as almonds or walnuts with unsweetened dried coconut, raisins or dried cranberries.
Raisins, which are dried grapes, provide iron and polyphenals that benefit the heart. Dried cranberries are high in antioxidants that heal cardiovascular disease and arteriosclerosis.
Frozen Banana Dessert
Also called Banana Nice Dream, create this snack using ripe, frozen bananas. Blend in a high speed blender until the frozen banana chunks become a smooth and creamy “ice cream”. Bananas offer fiber, antioxidants and nutrients that boost heart health.
Add frozen wild blueberries or frozen grapes to create fun variations of this yummy dessert. Or top the treat with fresh berries.
Chia Pudding + Berries
Chia seeds are an excellent source of protein, vitamins E and B complex, and minerals such as calcium, magnesium, zinc and iron. They are higher in omega-3 fatty acids than any other food and especially beneficial for chronic inflammation and heart disease.
Chia pudding is so simple to make. Combine 1 cup dairy free milk, such as almond milk, with 1/4 cup of chia seeds in a mason jar or container with a lid. Cover and chill overnight in the refrigerator. Add berries, nuts or sliced fruit and enjoy.
Oatmeal + Fruit + Nuts
No longer just for breakfast, oatmeal is a fiber rich food long promoted for its heart health benefits. Oats lower bad cholesterol and protect the heart against oxidation.
Make overnight oats and enjoy for breakfast or for an anytime snack. Combine in a small mason jar:
- 1/3 cup gluten free oats
- 1/4 cup chopped nuts
- 1/3 cup dairy free milk, such as almond or coconut milk
- 1/3 cup dairy free plain yogurt, such as coconut milk yogurt
- fresh fruit of choice…berries make an excellent addition
- 1 tbsp chia seeds
- add 1/4 tsp cinnamon if desired
Cover jar and place in the refrigerator the night before. Open and eat right from the jar the next morning.
Sweet Potato Fries + Avocado Dip
This superfood offers an abundance of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that nourish the body and protect the heart. Try sweet potatoes as a heart healthy snack by slicing them into a bowl and adding a small amount of olive oil, a teaspoon of onion powder, a teaspoon of garlic powder, a teaspoon of paprika and dashes of sea salt and black pepper. Coat fries then place in a single layer on a parchment paper covered cookie sheet. Bake at 400 degrees for 40 minutes, turning fries halfway through baking time.
Enjoy sweet potato fries with this easy avocado dip. Combine in a blender 1 ripe avocado, 2 garlic cloves, minced, 1/4 cup plain non dairy yogurt, 1 tablespoon lemon juice and sea salt and black pepper to taste. Blend until smooth and serve immediately.
Make Snacks Count
The next time you head to the kitchen, hungry for a snack, make the conscious choice to make the snack count. Rather than mindlessly eating, intentionally create snacks that boost heart health and contribute to overall wellness.
Did you discover a new snack to try?
Heart Healthy Amazon Finds:
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I am not a medical practitioner. I study health and wellness related topics and share experiences from my own personal healing journey.