No matter how healthy you eat for breakfast and lunch, a growling stomach can make you succumb to a midday snack of packaged chips or a sugary granola bar, throwing off your well-intentioned routine. It's just not always possible to find healthy snack, let alone one that's also beneficial for your heart. However, when you do have the luxury of preparing food ahead of time, there are plenty of easy heart-healthy snacks to add to your repertoire.
The key to creating a heart-healthy snack is putting together something that contains fiber, protein, and healthy fats, says to Isabel Smith, MS, RD, CDN, and founder of Isabel Smith Nutrition. In order to stay satisfied throughout your daily routine, she advises you whip up a few of her go-to healthy snacks made with ingredients like almond butter, avocado, cacao nibs, and chia seeds. Here are 10 heart-healthy snacks that'll help you make it through the day without reaching for prepackaged foods.
1. Apples and Almond Butter
This easy heart-healthy snack contains healthy fat, fiber, and vitamin C, which Smith explains is good for the elasticity of the blood vessels. Slice up an apple, and dip the fruit in a dollop of natural almond butter for the perfect mid-morning snack.
Walnuts are a great snack to bring with you on the go because they're not messy and require absolutely no prep work. Smith names these as a heart-healthy snack thanks to their omega 3 and anti-inflammatory properties.
3. Hard-boiled Eggs with Turmeric
Sprinkle a dash of turmeric powder over a hard-boiled egg for a simple snack. Turmeric acts as an anti-inflammatory, while lutein—a carotenoid vitamin—found in the egg contains antioxidants.
4. Flax Crackers
Smith explains that flax crackers contain healthy fat and may also work to reduce "bad" cholesterol commonly known as LDL (low-density lipoproteins). Use Smith's recipe for homemade flax crackers or look for a healthy packaged brand for a quick alternative.
5. Carrots and Avocado
Mashup avocado to snack on with a serving of carrots or make your own homemade guacamole. The avocado provides heart-healthy monounsaturated fat, which Smith says may also help to lower LDL cholesterol.
6. Strawberries and Cacao Nibs
If you're craving something more on the sweet side, enjoy strawberries topped with cacao nibs. Strawberries contain an anti-inflammatory called anthocyanin and potassium for maintaining healthy blood pressure, while cacao nibs have heart-healthy flavanols, Smith explains.
Blend up a smoothie made with half a cup of fruit, a handful of greens, hemp milk, and a plant-based protein. Smith suggests using fruit like mango, bananas, and berries to go with the anti-inflammatory hemp milk–, vitamin C–, fiber–, and magnesium-packed protein.
8. Avocado and Deviled Eggs
According to Smith, both avocado and eggs are full of heart-healthy antioxidants. Trade out your tradition deviled egg recipe for one made with avocado to reap the benefits of this snack.
9. Sweet Potato Toast
Substitute bread with sweet potatoes, and top with smashed avocado or bananas for a snack full of beta-carotene and potassium.
10. Chia Pudding
Follow Smith's recipe for homemade chia pudding for an easy, healthy snack. It takes just a few minutes of prep time before you can let it chill in the refrigerator, and is a great source of fiber and plant-based anti-inflammatory omega 3 fatty acids.
Next time you have a hankering for a midday bite, try one of these heart-healthy snacks. Your heart (and your stomach) will thank you.