Treat Yourself To Some Heart Healthy Snack Advice

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A big component of maintaining a healthy heart is your diet. Foods high in fat, sugar and salt can seriously impact your likelihood of developing a heart condition. Fortunately, watching your diet is completely under your control.

We asked some of our heart experts to share their tips for healthy eating for your heart. You might be surprised to learn that many give similar advice, and all of them make sure to enjoy heart healthy treats from time to time!

Zweig Bryan 11Clab jpg 1Bryan Zweig, M.D., Cardiologist

How you do you stay heart healthy with your eating?

“This is always difficult question because guidelines and recommendations often change regarding what is considered healthy nutrition, especially from the heart perspective. Most cardiologists recommend the Mediterranean diet as a heart healthy diet. This is a diet heavy in fruits, vegetables, nuts, fish, legumes, olive oil and whole grains. I would also avoid fast food altogether. Be careful about excessive carbohydrates and try to mix in some meat-free days during the week.”

What is your go-to heart healthy snack?

“I try to eat snacks higher in protein such as nuts, hummus and vegetables, peanut butter snacks, and Greek yogurt. At my house there is always a bowl full of nuts out, such as pistachios, almonds, hazelnuts or cashews.”

What is a heart-healthy treat you enjoy?

“I usually go for something with dark chocolate, such as dark chocolate covered almonds or bark thins. Dark chocolate has less sugar in it and is known powerful antioxidant. Some studies suggest it can be beneficial for heart disease.”

Pedro Villablanca Spinetto, M.D., CardiologistVillablanca Pedro 18

What is a heart-healthy treat you enjoy?

“A glass of wine every night.”

What recommendations do you have for heart-healthy snacks on the go?

“Bring small portions of salads or fruits that you can eat in the office and avoid temptation with unhealthy sources of carbs. And don’t forget to drink tons of water during the day!”

Zimmerman Darlene 11C2 jpg 1Darlene Zimmerman, MS, RD, Heart & Vascular Institute Dietitian

How you do you stay heart healthy with your eating?

“For me, portion size is key. Being overweight or obese is certainly a risk factor for heart disease. Maintaining a healthy body weight is one indication that your food portions are on track.”

What is a heart-healthy treat you enjoy?

“When I hear the word treat, I immediately think ice cream. Ice cream is one of my favorite foods. There are many reduced-fat (often labeled slow-churned) ice cream options available today. A personal guideline I like to follow is choosing flavors that have no more than 2 grams of saturated fat per serving.”

What recommendations do you have for heart-healthy snacks on the go?

“Fruit tops the list. Think bananas, oranges, apples, grapes are easy grab-and-go options. Nuts, all kinds, are great too. You just have to watch the portion size if you’re concerned with your calorie intake. A small handful of nuts usually has about 200 calories.”

Arfaat Khan, M.D., CardiologistKhan Arfaat 09C jpg 2

How you do you stay heart healthy with your eating?

“Eat plenty of fresh fruits, veggies and lean meats like chicken and fish.”

What is a heart-healthy treat you enjoy?

“Cucumbers!”

Gindi Ryan 18Ryan Gindi, M.D., Cardiologist

How you do you stay heart healthy with your eating?

“I maintain a heart healthy diet in large part by meal planning and keeping a refrigerator stocked with fresh produce. I focus my diet on whole food plant-based nutrition, incorporating a variety of vegetables as well as black beans, lentils or chickpeas in every meal. For fats, I am liberal with extra-virgin olive oil and eat avocado near daily. I also love fish.”

What is your go-to heart healthy snack?

“My go-to heart healthy snack consists of whole fruits and/or nuts such as pistachios or almonds. Although nuts are known to be calorie dense, they contain an abundance of nutrients and studies suggest they may aid in weight loss, lower cholesterol, and lower blood sugar levels in diabetics.”

What is a heart-healthy treat you enjoy?

“I am very much a savory over sweet kind of guy, so my heart-healthy treat is often stovetop popcorn. I stay away from movie theatre or microwave popcorn, which contains several unhealthy additives. Stovetop popcorn is a low-calorie, whole-grain and high-fiber food that contains polyphenols, which have been linked to a reduction in heart disease.”

What recommendations do you have for heart-healthy snacks on the go?

“My recommendation is to stick to foods that crunch. Prepare sliced vegetables, broccoli or cauliflower florets, almonds, pistachios, apples, pears, etc. Have these snacks readily available so when you're hungry it's convenient.”


How healthy is your heart? Take the heart risk quiz to find out. To schedule an appointment with your primary care provider or to find a heart expert, visit henryford.com or call 1-800-HENRYFORD (436-7936).

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Categories: EatWell