10 Heart-Healthy Recipes That Are Anything but Boring

10 Heart-Healthy Recipes That Are Anything but Boring

Plain oatmeal. Boiled chicken. Skimpy salads. If heart-healthy recipes are a priority, you may fear that foods like these are all that’s allowed on your plate. But we’re here with some good news: You can say goodbye to boring meals and bland snacks, because eating for heart health can actually be pretty damn tasty. 

“The focus shouldn’t be on the negative—what not to eat—but rather on the positive, or what we can add to our life,” Emily Weeks, RDN, LD, author of The Everything Easy Anti-Inflammatory Cookbook, tells SELF.

Things to focus on adding to your plate? Foods that are rich in omega-3s, fiber, and vitamins—particularly A, C, and E, says Weeks. Omega-3s (fatty acids found in foods like fish, walnuts, and sunflower seeds) may have anti-inflammatory effects. This is helpful, especially for our arteries, since inflammation may trigger the development of plaque, which can cause a heart attack or stroke. Omega-3s may help reduce or stabilize this buildup, potentially leading to healthier arteries. 

Fiber (found in whole grains, beans, fruits, and vegetables) can help control blood sugar by preventing spikes after meals, Weeks says. That’s important, because over time, high blood sugar can hurt the blood vessels and nerves around your heart, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Additionally, research suggests vitamins A, C, and E may have anti-inflammatory properties as well.

As long as you’re consuming plenty of things within these three nutrient groups, even foods people may think they’d need to avoid altogether for heart health—like those with high amounts of saturated fat or sodium—can still be enjoyed in moderation, Weeks says.

So what are the best ways to put all of this into play? Since finding tasty heart-healthy recipes that don’t focus on restriction can feel easier said than done, Weeks has created 10 easy meal ideas including breakfasts, lunches, dinners, and snacks, so all you have to do is get cooking. Packed with all kinds of craveable flavors, from creamy and zesty to sweet and spiced, they prove eating for heart health can actually introduce you to some fun, tasty, and exciting new meals. Read on for some must-tries.


Chelsea Kyle. Prop styling by Rebecca Bartochesky for Hello Artists. Food styling by Pearl Jones for Ashley Klinger & Co.

Roasted Chickpeas

These chickpeas are easy to make in advance for all your weekly snacking needs, plus Weeks says they do quite a bit for heart health. “The fiber content of [legumes] helps to reduce blood pressure and cholesterol,” she says. Plus, they contain magnesium, which helps regulate heart rhythm. Bonus: These crispy chickpeas also make a great addition to other meals, whether you’re using them as a replacement for traditional croutons in salad or as a way to add extra texture to a creamy soup. Get the recipe here.

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