Heart-Healthy Diet Plan for Beginners


Whether you’re managing heart disease or just looking for some new recipes, you’ll love this easy-to-follow meal plan. Especially tailored for people just starting out with a heart-healthy diet, the recipes and snacks are straightforward and delicious. You’ll see lots of fruits and vegetables, lean protein (including plant-based proteins), whole grains, heart-healthy fats and plenty of herbs and spices to help deliver flavor, without the need for too much salt. Eating this combination of healthy foods helps to keep your blood pressure balanced, your cholesterol levels in a healthy range and your heart happy.

Heart-Healthy Recipes

We kept this meal plan at 1,500 calories, with options to bump the calories up to 2,000, or down to 1,200, depending on your needs. And you’ll find plenty of heart-healthy proteins (think salmon, chicken and beans) and fiber, to keep you feeling satisfied after meals—not starving an hour later. The sodium for each day is below 1,500 mg, per the American Heart Association guidelines, but you won’t miss it with these tasty, low-sodium recipes. To keep salt in check when shopping for packaged foods, be sure to check the label and go for options lower in sodium. A good rule of thumb is to choose items where the Daily Value (DV) percent for sodium is close to 5% DV. Close to or above 20% DV is considered high, so skip those products.

Heart-Healthy Recipes

How to Meal-Prep Your Week of Meals

Muesli is a hearty breakfast dish that can be enjoyed hot or cold! The choice is yours for this morning’s breakfast.

1,449 calories, 67 g protein, 194 g carbs, 36 g fiber, 53 g fat, 9 g saturated fat, 1,208 mg sodium

Omit 1 clementine and omit the hard-boiled egg from the A.M. snack. Decrease crackers to 1 oz. and decrease peanut butter to 2 tsp. at P.M. snack. Omit the salad from dinner.

Add 5 dried apricots and ½ oz. unsalted almonds to lunch. Add 1 medium banana to the P.M. snack. For dinner, increase the serving of Italian Penne to 2 cups, add ¼ avocado to the salad, increase olive oil to 2 tsp., and add 1 Tbsp. unsalted sunflower seeds.

Make your own parfaits this morning for breakfast! It’s easier than you think and such a nourishing start to the day!

1,491 calories, 91 g protein, 192 g carbs, 35 g fiber, 48 g fat, 9 g saturated fat, 790 mg sodium

Omit the banana from breakfast and omit the grapes from lunch. Omit almonds from the A.M. snack and omit the spaghetti from dinner.

Add 1 serving of Lisa’s Granola to breakfast, add an additional ½ oz. almonds to the A.M. snack, and add 2 cups air-popped popcorn to lunch. To dinner, add an additional 1 oz. whole-wheat spaghetti.

A simple version of avocado toast starts the day! Be sure to choose a ripe avocado at the store. Or quick-ripen it in a brown bag with an apple.

1,514 calories, 42 g protein, 225 g carbs, 42 g fiber, 56 g fat, 9 g saturated fat, 1,394 mg sodium

Omit pineapple from breakfast, omit Lisa’s Granola from the A.M. snack, and omit the pear from lunch.

Add 1 slice whole-grain bread and ¼ avocado to breakfast. Increase Lisa’s Granola by ½ serving (to make 1 serving) at the A.M. snack and add ½ serving Tropical Fruit & Nuts Snack to lunch. To dinner, add 2 cups lettuce, 1 tsp. balsamic vinegar and 1 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil.

The edamame you’ll enjoy with dinner can be found in the freezer section of your grocery store. If you plan on adding it to your bowl, consider buying the shelled version for easier prep.

1,448 calories, 77 g protein, 179 g carbs, 35 g fiber, 55 g fat, 9 g saturated fat, 874 mg sodium

Omit banana from breakfast. Decrease to ½ serving of Lisa’s Granola and omit the milk from P.M. snack.

Add 2 cups air-popped popcorn to the A.M. snack and add 1 serving Tropical Fruit & Nuts Snack to lunch. To dinner, add an additional ½ cup cooked edamame and 1 oz. whole-wheat spaghetti.

Every try packing your sandwich full of crunchy veggies and using hummus and avocado as your creamy spreads? Well, you’ll love this veggie-forward take on a healthy lunch-time salad.

1,465 calories, 59 g protein, 205 g carbs, 36 g fiber, 52 g fat, 9 g saturated fat, 1,266 mg sodium

Omit the clementine from breakfast and omit the Greek yogurt from the A.M. snack.

Add an additional slice of whole-grain bread, ¼ avocado and 1 Tbsp. salsa to breakfast. Add ½ serving Lisa’s Granola to the A.M. snack, add 1 cup pineapple to lunch, and add 1 Tbsp. peanut butter to the P.M. snack. To dinner, add 1 cup cherry tomatoes to the salad.

Kale makes for a nutritious and hearty wrap for your lunch and when chicken, apple slices, mayo and mustard are tucked inside, you get a delicious meal in no time at all.

1,524 calories, 90 g protein, 160 g carbs, 29 g fiber, 62 g fat, 16 g saturated fat, 1,063 mg sodium

Omit peanut butter from A.M. snack and omit the Tropical Fruit & Nuts Snack from the P.M. snack.

Add an additional ¼ cup yogurt to breakfast. Add 2 Tbsp. packed raisins and an additional 1 Tbsp. peanut butter to the A.M. snack. Add 3 cups air-popped popcorn to lunch, 1 clementine to the P.M. snack and 1½ cups pineapple to dinner.

If you need a little extra crunch to go with lunch, we’ve got you covered! Air-popped popcorn is satisfying and nutritious.

1,557 calories, 77 g protein, 206 g carbs, 42 g fiber, 55 g fat, 9 g saturated fat, 873 mg sodium

Omit banana from breakfast, omit almonds from A.M. snack, and omit popcorn from lunch.

Make it a whole banana at breakfast and add another ½ oz. almonds to the A.M. snack. To lunch, add 1 cup pineapple and to the P.M. snack, add ½ cup cherry tomatoes and 5 dried apricots. At dinner, add 1/2 piece whole-wheat pita bread and 1/4 cup hummus for dipping.

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