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Menus for heart-healthy eating: Cut the fat and salt

Medically reviewed on January 31, 2018

Do you want to adopt a heart-healthy diet, but aren't sure where to start? One way to begin is to create a daily meal plan that emphasizes vegetables, fruits and whole grains and limits high-fat foods (such as red meat, cheese and baked goods) and high-sodium foods (such as canned or processed foods).

Below are two days' worth of heart-healthy menus. Use them as examples of heart-healthy eating.

Day 1 menu

Breakfast

  • 1 cup cooked oatmeal, sprinkled with 1 tablespoon chopped walnuts and 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 banana
  • 1 cup skim milk

Lunch

  • 1 cup low-fat (1 percent or lower), plain yogurt with 1 teaspoon ground flaxseed
  • 1/2 cup peach halves, canned in juice
  • 5 Melba toast crackers
  • 1 cup raw broccoli and cauliflower
  • 2 tablespoons low-fat cream cheese, plain or vegetable flavor (as a spread for crackers or vegetable dip)
  • Sparkling water

Dinner

  • 4 ounces salmon
  • 1/2 cup green beans with 1 tablespoon toasted almonds
  • 2 cups mixed salad greens
  • 2 tablespoons low-fat salad dressing
  • 1 tablespoon sunflower seeds
  • 1 cup skim milk
  • 1 small orange

Snack

  • 1 cup skim milk
  • 9 animal crackers
Day 1 nutrient analysis
Calories 1,562
Total fat 45 g
Saturated fat 10 g
Monounsaturated fat 15 g
Polyunsaturated fat 16 g
Cholesterol 126 mg
Sodium 1,257 mg
Total carbohydrate 207 g
Dietary fiber 24 g
Protein 92 g

Day 2 menu

Breakfast

  • 1 cup plain, low-fat yogurt, topped with 3/4 cup blueberries
  • 3/4 cup calcium-fortified orange juice

Lunch

  • 1 whole-wheat pita stuffed with 1 cup shredded romaine lettuce, 1/2 cup sliced tomatoes, 1/4 cup sliced cucumbers, 2 tablespoons crumbled feta cheese and 1 tablespoon reduced-fat ranch dressing
  • 1 kiwi
  • 1 cup skim milk

Dinner

  • Chicken stir-fry (3 ounces) with eggplant (1 cup) and basil
  • 1 cup brown rice with 1 tablespoon chopped dried apricots
  • 1 cup steamed broccoli
  • 4 ounces red wine or concord grape juice

Snack

  • 2 tablespoons mixed, unsalted nuts
  • 1 cup fat-free frozen yogurt
Day 2 nutrient analysis
Calories 1,605
Total fat 30 g
Saturated fat 10 g
Monounsaturated fat 10 g
Polyunsaturated fat 6 g
Cholesterol 126 mg
Sodium 1,264 mg
Total carbohydrate 242 g
Dietary fiber 24 g
Protein 83 g

On both days, if you're thirsty, drink water as a calorie-free way to hydrate.

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