Heart Healthy Foods To Include in Your Diet

We read headlines and get told by our heart doctors about all the things we should avoid. “Don’t eat sugar”, “Avoid caffeine”, “Cut down on alcohol, or “Stop eating such big portions of carbs”. It’s like being a kid again and getting told over and over to be quiet. It’s not that helpful when you are TRYING your best to be healthy, but are getting confused about what you ARE allowed to do.

Heart healthy foods are a must when you have a heart condition. Your heart is under repair, your body is using more energy than usual healing wounds, forming scars, digesting new medications and it needs a good amount of fuel every day.

So what heart healthy foods should you be eating?

In my Healthy Hearties programs, you will come across the following four components of nutrition. Everything focuses on heart healthy foods that boost energy.

My tip is to include the following heart healthy foods at least 80-90% of the time (i.e less healthy foods no more than 10-20% of the time.) Which means you can enjoy the occasional dessert or treat that your friend made. A treat doesn’t mean pigging out though, just that you’re still enjoying life!

Heart Healthy Foods and the 3 Key Nutrients You Need

1. Vegetables

Make it a goal to eat a fistful of vegetables at each main meal (ideally lots of green or coloured vegetables.) You can always add more if you are hungrier!

Vegetables as heart healthy foods

A small bowl of vegetables or a full side plate of salad will do.

salad as heart healthy foods
Photo by Jill Wellington on Pexels.com

2. Fist size of protein

Integrate 1x palm size of lean protein. This means those with larger hands, you’ll have a larger portion.

Examples include chicken, turkey, eggs, fish, beans, tofu, pork, lean red meat, smoked salmon, kippers, mackerel, and lentils.

fried fish with vegetables dish on teal plate
The protein should be as big as your fist. Photo by Valeria Boltneva on Pexels.com

3. Complex Carbohydrates

More if you are active, less if you aren’t. Think rye bread, cous cous, brown rice, quinoa, oats or other starchy carbohydrates. These should fill you up and give you a slow release of energy.

abundance agricultural agriculture arm
Keep the portion size to one handful unless you are more active. Photo by icon0.com on Pexels.com

4. Good Fats

You need 2 pinches or 1-2 tablespoons of good fats. A drizzle of extra virgin olive oil (heart healthy), avocado, walnuts, almonds, ground flaxseeds, and a small amount of butter will do. Remember fat contains more calories, so check your portion size!

photo of woman pouring liquid on vegetable
Include good fats daily, but watch the portion size. Photo by RF._.studio on Pexels.com

Voila! You now have a balanced meal.

rice with zucchini soft boiled egg and parsley in green ceramic plate
Photo by Lum3n on Pexels.com

Two fruits can also be eaten as a snack during the day. There you have it, a balanced diet that should give you plenty of energy and provide you with a wide range of nutrients!

What’s your favourite meal that includes all of these nutrients?

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