Heart-healthy snacks are foods that have properties that can benefit the heart, such as healthy fats and antioxidants. Snacks containing fruits, nuts, and whole grains could be good options.
The best heart-healthy snacks for a person will depend on their overall health, their preferences, and the ingredients they can access. However, there are plenty of options to suit all budgets and tastes.
Read on for inspiration for sweet, savory, and low sodium heart-healthy snacks.
Peanut butter with apple
This snack is sweet and easy to make. Peanuts
Peanuts also contain plant sterols, which scientists believe could play a role in lowering levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, or “bad” cholesterol, as part of a balanced diet. High LDL cholesterol
Apples are also a source of plant sterols, as well as:
- vitamin C
- potassium, which helps regulate blood pressure
Apples are one of the most widely available fruits in the world. However, a person can pair many other fruits with peanut butter, if they prefer.
To make this snack:
- Choose a peanut butter with no added sugar or oils, if possible.
- Cut an apple into bite-size segments or slices. If a person plans to eat the snack later, they can soak the slices in lemon juice to stop them from turning brown.
- Spread peanut butter onto each slice, or between slices to create a sandwich.
If a person wants to, they can sprinkle cinnamon on top.
Chia seed pudding
According to a
Chia seed pudding is an easy way to turn this ingredient into a sweet snack or dessert. To try it:
- Choose a milk to soak the chia seeds in. This could be a dairy milk, almond milk, or another plant-based milk.
- Measure out 1/2 cup of the milk and place it in a sealable container.
- Add 2 tablespoons (tbsp) of chia seeds to the milk and stir well.
- Let the seeds settle, and then stir again for several minutes, making sure there are no clumps.
- Place in the fridge for at least 2 hours or overnight.
This makes one serving of the pudding. People can scale the recipe up or down and customize it with flavors they enjoy, such as:
- vanilla extract
- cocoa powder
- chopped nuts
Greek yogurt with fruit
Some evidence associates a moderate intake of some dairy products with a lower risk of CVD.
Making flavorful yogurt is quick and easy. Some ideas for toppings include:
- raspberries and unsweetened cocoa powder
- apple and blackberries
- banana, chopped walnuts, and honey
Here are some ideas for savory heart-healthy snacks.
Vegetables and dip
Vegetables make up an important part of a balanced diet, but according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), only about
This snack can help a person boost their intake. It is easy to customize to a person’s tastes, as there are many combinations of vegetables and dip to try.
People can use raw vegetables cut into sticks. Alternatively, if a person does not like raw vegetables, they can try roasted versions. Below are some potential combinations:
- guacamole with bell peppers
- hummus with carrot sticks or celery
- salsa with roasted sweet potato
- tapenade with roasted zucchini
When choosing a store-bought dip, look for products that do not contain large amounts of sodium or added sugar.
Many crunchy snacks, such as chips, are high in salt. Over a prolonged period, a diet too high in salt can
People can look for low sodium versions of their favorite snacks or try alternatives at home, such as those below.
Chickpeas are high in fiber, potassium, B vitamins, iron, magnesium, and selenium. They also contain only
To make roasted chickpeas:
- Preheat the oven to 425°F (218°C) and line a baking sheet with nonstick parchment paper.
- Drain a can of unsalted chickpeas and dry them with a paper towel.
- Mix the chickpeas in a bowl with 1 tbsp of a healthy oil, such as olive or avocado oil.
- Lay the chickpeas on the baking sheet in a single layer, making sure there is space between them. Roast in the oven for 20–30 minutes, or until golden.
- While the chickpeas cook, grab another bowl and prepare some seasoning. This could be as simple or complex as a person likes — they could use a small amount of salt and pepper, use a premade spice mixture, or create their own mixture.
- When the chickpeas are done, take them out of the oven and allow them to cool until they are not too hot to touch. Coat them with the seasoning.
If using a premade spice mixture, check the sodium content before buying.
Fresh or dried corn is a nutritious whole grain and a source of complex carbohydrates. It is also very low in sodium, with only
There are some low sodium popcorn brands on the market. People can also make their own. The following recipe makes one large bowl of popcorn and requires a 3-quart (qt) saucepan with a heavy bottom and a lid. To try it:
- Measure out 1/3 cup of corn kernels.
- Heat 3 tbsp of coconut or olive oil in a 3-qt (2.8-liter) saucepan with a heavy bottom.
- Place three or four kernels in the oil and wait until they start popping. Then, add the rest of the kernels.
- Cover the pan and remove from the heat, then count for 30 seconds. Put the pan back on the heat.
- As the kernels pop, gently shake the pan to make sure all the kernels make contact with the heat. Hold the lid ajar to allow steam to escape, if possible.
- When the popping slows down so that there are several seconds between pops, pour the popcorn into a wide bowl.
Some ideas for seasonings include:
Heart-healthy snacks can include many fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and legumes to create different flavors and textures. Vegetables and dip, chia seed pudding, and crispy chickpeas are just a few ideas that are easy to make and provide nutrients that can support cardiovascular health.
People with specific dietary needs or medical conditions should speak with a doctor or registered dietitian for personalized advice.