10 easy heart-smart recipes that will make you forget they’re good for you

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It’s no secret that what we eat can have a profound impact on our heart health. Incorporating heart-healthy foods into our diet not only helps to protect our most vital organ, but it also can be delicious!

Navigating the world of heart-healthy foods doesn’t have to be a challenge. We’ve done the heavy lifting for you and scoured through many recipes and scientific studies that highlight specific ingredients known for their heart-health benefits to bring you ten delectable dishes that pack a hearty punch of nutrients beneficial for your heart. Check them out!

1. Quinoa Salad with Avocado and Tomatoes

Quinoa Salad with Avocado and Tomatoes

This refreshing salad comes together in a breeze! While the quinoa cooks, you can dice the avocado and tomatoes. In less than 30 minutes, you have a filling, nutritious meal that’s perfect for a light lunch or dinner.

Why it’s good for the heart:  Quinoa is rich in fiber and protein, and it’s a great substitute for rice or pasta. Avocados are high in monounsaturated fats, which are heart-healthy fats, according to a 2012 PLOS One study. They also provide important nutrients like potassium. Tomatoes are high in heart-healthy potassium and lycopene.

How to prepare: Cook 1 cup of quinoa according to package instructions. Mix with one diced avocado, one cup of cherry tomatoes, juice of one lemon, two tablespoons of olive oil, salt, and pepper. Garnish with fresh parsley.

Get the full recipe here.

2. Baked Salmon with Lemon and Dill

Baked Salmon with lemon and dill

This is an easy one-pan dish that’s perfect for a quick yet sophisticated dinner. Just season the salmon, top it with lemon slices, and let it bake while you unwind. It’s a heart-healthy meal with minimal cleanup!

Why it’s good for the heart: Salmon is a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, which have been shown to lower the risk of irregular heartbeat and plaque build-up in the arteries, according to a study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology in 2017.

How to prepare: Season a salmon fillet with salt, pepper, and dill. Slice a lemon and arrange the slices on top. Bake at 400°F (200°C) for about 20 minutes or until done to your liking.

Get the full recipe here.

3. Berry and Spinach Smoothie

Berry and Spinach Smoothie

Smoothies are a great way to start the day, especially when you’re in a hurry. Just toss everything into a blender, and you’ve got a nutrient-packed breakfast that’s ready in minutes. It’s like a tasty treat that’s actually good for you!

Why it’s good for the heart: Berries and spinach are full of dietary fiber and antioxidants, which can help lower blood pressure and decrease the risk of heart disease.

How to prepare: Blend 1 cup of mixed berries, one handful of spinach, one banana, and 1 cup of almond milk until smooth. Add a tablespoon of honey if needed.

Get the full recipe here.

4. Whole Grain Pasta with Olive Oil, Garlic, and Vegetables

Whole Grain Pasta with Olive Oil, Garlic, and Vegetables

A versatile dinner option that lets you use whatever veggies you have on hand. While the pasta cooks, you sauté the veggies, and then mix everything together. It’s a quick, hearty meal that’s full of fiber and flavor.

Why it’s good for the heart: Whole grains are rich in fiber, which can help lower cholesterol and decrease heart disease risk. Olive oil, a key component of the Mediterranean diet, has been associated with heart health benefits.

How to prepare:  Cook whole-grain pasta according to package instructions. Sauté minced garlic and your choice of vegetables in olive oil. Toss the pasta in the sautéed vegetables. Add salt, pepper, and grated Parmesan cheese to taste.

Get the full recipe here.

5. Roasted Chicken with Sweet Potatoes and Broccoli

Oven baked chicken

This is a one-sheet pan meal that’s as easy to prepare as it is to clean up. Season the ingredients, arrange them on the pan, and then bake. You’ve got a balanced dinner with protein, carbs, and veggies, all in under an hour!

Why it’s good for the heart: Chicken is a lean protein, which can help maintain a healthy weight and heart. Sweet potatoes are high in fiber and potassium, and broccoli is packed with heart-healthy nutrients.

How to prepare: Season chicken breasts with salt, pepper, and rosemary. Arrange on a baking sheet with cubed sweet potatoes and broccoli florets. Drizzle with olive oil. Bake at 375°F (190°C) for about 25-30 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through.

Get the full recipe here.

6. Black Bean Soup with Cilantro and Lime

Black bean soup

This soup is perfect for a cozy dinner on a chilly night. Most of the cooking time is hands-off simmering, so you can do other things while the flavors blend. Plus, it’s a great way to add more fiber to your diet!

Why it’s good for the heart: Black beans are high in fiber and protein and can help lower blood pressure, decrease LDL, and increase HDL cholesterol levels.

How to prepare: Sauté chopped onions, garlic, and bell peppers. Add canned black beans, vegetable broth, and spices (cumin, paprika, chili). Simmer until flavors meld together. Blend until smooth, then top with fresh cilantro and lime juice.

Get the full recipe here.

7. Grilled Tofu Stir-Fry with Vegetables

Homemade Tofu Stir Fry with Vegetables and Rice

Tofu takes on the flavors of whatever it’s cooked with, making it perfect for stir-fries. This dish is a quick, easy, and versatile option for dinner. You can even prep the ingredients ahead of time to make cooking even faster!

Why it’s good for the heart: Tofu is a good source of protein and contains isoflavones which have been shown to improve heart health. Plus, the high fiber content from the vegetables contributes to heart health.

How to prepare: Press and cube tofu, then grill until browned. Sauté your choice of vegetables in olive oil. Add the grilled tofu, soy sauce, and a touch of honey. Stir until well combined.

Get the full recipe here.

8. Baked Oatmeal with Blueberries and Walnuts

Baked oatmeal with blueberries

This recipe is like having dessert for breakfast, but it’s actually good for you! Just mix the ingredients and bake. You can even prepare it the night before and reheat it in the morning for a quick and easy breakfast.

Why it’s good for the heart: Oats are high in soluble fiber, which can lower cholesterol. Blueberries are rich in antioxidants, and walnuts contain omega-3 fatty acids.

How to prepare: Mix 2 cups oats, 1 cup blueberries, 1/2 cup chopped walnuts, 1/4 cup maple syrup, and 1.5 cups milk. Pour into a baking dish and bake at 375°F (190°C) for 25-30 minutes. Greek Yogurt Parfait with Fresh Fruits and Flaxseeds

Get the full recipe here.

9. Greek Yogurt Parfait with Fresh Fruits and Flaxseeds

This parfait feels like a special treat, but it’s easy to put together for breakfast or a snack. Just layer the ingredients, and you’re done. It’s a fun and delicious way to get more calcium and fiber in your diet!

Why it’s good for the heart: Greek yogurt is a good source of calcium and probiotics which can help lower blood pressure. Fresh fruits provide essential vitamins and fiber, and flaxseeds are high in omega-3 fatty acids and fiber.

How to prepare: Layer Greek yogurt, your choice of fresh fruits, and a sprinkle of flaxseeds in a glass. Repeat the layers. Drizzle with honey if desired.

Get the full recipe here.

10. Vegetable Lentil Stew

This hearty stew is a great make-ahead meal. While it simmers, the flavors meld together to create a comforting dish that’s perfect for dinner. Plus, it’s packed with protein and fiber to keep you feeling full and satisfied.

Why it’s good for the heart: Lentils are an excellent source of fiber and protein. They can help reduce blood cholesterol since high fiber foods play a key role in absorbing cholesterol in your digestive tract before it can be absorbed into the body. Plus, the various veggies provide additional fiber, antioxidants, and nutrients.

How to prepare: Sauté chopped onions, carrots, and celery. Add diced tomatoes, lentils, vegetable broth, and seasonings (thyme, rosemary, bay leaf). Simmer until lentils are tender.

Get the full recipe here.

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