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23 Healthy Snack Ideas To Keep Your Heart (And Belly) Happy

Ximena Araya-Fischel, M.A
Author: Expert reviewer:
February 14, 2021
Ximena Araya-Fischel, M.A
Food & Nutrition Writer
By Ximena Araya-Fischel, M.A
Food & Nutrition Writer
Ximena Araya-Fischel, M.A, is a journalist, IIN graduate integrative health coach, E-RYT 500 lead yoga teacher, and 500-Hour certified Pilates instructor.
Jaime Schehr, N.D., R.D.
Expert review by
Jaime Schehr, N.D., R.D.
Naturopathic Physician and Registered Dietitian
Jaime Schehr, N.D., R.D., is a nationally recognized expert in integrative medicine and nutrition, based in New York City. She holds dual licenses as a naturopathic physician and a registered dietitian, from University of Bridgeport and University of Nebraska respectively.
February 14, 2021
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There are plenty of ways to add a nutritional kick to your healthy eating routine, and reaching for a health-promoting bite is just one way to show your corazón some love. Mindfully chosen snacks can be a great option to keep your hunger at bay, energy upmood steady, and heart going strong.

When it comes to fostering optimal cardiovascular functioning, several diets are notable for heart-promoting qualities. From plant-based1 to Mediterranean, these eating lifestyles place a tremendous emphasis on foods that can help decrease heart disease risk2 and provide cardiovascular protection3, among other benefits.

According to Seattle-based registered dietitian Ginger Hultin, M.S., RDN, author of Anti-Inflammatory Diet Meal Prep, "when you think about heart health, consider three things: high-fiber foods; unsaturated fatty acids, especially omega-3s; and antioxidants." Luckily, there are loads of good-for-you, heart-friendly snack options that fit these criteria.

Fresh & crunchy snacks:



"You can take a high-fiber fruit like a banana or an apple and add a little peanut or almond butter for heart-healthy, high-fiber, healthy-fat benefits packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants," says Hultin. In particular, apples are an excellent source of bioactive polyphenols4 and soluble fiber, linked to cardiovascular health5. Need an apple breakfast idea? Give this nutrient-rich granola recipe a try, which also has bonus protein.



This water-packed, fiber-rich veggie is a versatile, crunchy option rich in phenolic compounds6 and touted for its powerful antioxidant properties7. Celery is not only simple to eat (and digest), but it's also easy to carry with you for a snack. You can eat it raw (after a thorough wash) or roasted (who knew?). Also, consider adding some nut butter to round out this snack.


Bell peppers

Sweet peppers, capsicums, or chile dulce all refer to the same glorious veggie. Especially rich in vitamin C, antioxidants8, and vitamin A9 (beta-carotene), bell peppers make for a great heart-fit option. Just like celery, you can eat peppers raw or roasted.



Nutty, tangy, lusciously smooth, and packed with heart-protective antioxidants, hummus is a beloved dip made from chickpeas, olive oil, and tahini. Here are 11 ways to invite your culinary creativity and reap the benefits of the mighty chickpea dip.



Are you looking for a crispy, nutrient-dense option to satisfy your crunchy cravings? Kale might be the answer! In fact, one study found that eating kale regularly significantly improved participants' coronary artery risk factors10 (likely in part due to its anti-inflammatory properties). This dark leafy green is a nutritional powerhouse with endless flavorful possibilities: from a spicy dip to a marinated slaw recipe—it's hard to go wrong.

Salty snacks:



A good source of fiber, popcorn is a whole grain food and famous snack worldwide. Opting for freshly made popcorn topped with anti-inflammatory turmeric or vitamin-rich nutritional yeast is a great way to add these popped grains to your (incredibly delicious) snacking routine. 


Rice cakes

Rice cakes are made by heating rice grains and puffing them together into cookie-shaped patties. By themselves, rice cakes aren't the most nutrient-rich option, but they are a versatile vehicle for heart-healthy toppings. Try putting a few avocado slices or a spoonful of almond butter on top for a nourishing treat.



"Foods like nuts and seeds contain fiber, omega-3s, and antioxidants, so snacking on a trail mix or a handful of nuts can be very heart-healthy," says Hultin—and we couldn't agree more. Reach for a handful of pistachios, almonds, walnuts, macadamiascashews, or even a spoonful of nut butter—the options are endless for this simple snack packed with heart-healthy fats.



Flax, hemp, chia, sesame, pumpkin, sunflower, pomegranate, or apricot—seeds are an iconic, heart-healthy11 way to add a dose of crunch to your diet.


Roasted chickpeas

The magic of chickpeas is that besides being a fiber-rich bean, you can enjoy them in so many delicious, varied ways. Looking for a grab-and-go snack? Try roasted dill chickpeas for a quick healthy lift.


Roasted fava beans

Another crispy option that's worth a try. Eating beans has been linked to a reduced risk of heart disease12, contributing to better heart health. For a zesty burst, try tossing them with some sea salt or smoked paprika.



Chock-full of vitamins, fatty acids, and minerals, sardines are a convenient, pescatarian snack option to eat for an omega-3-rich boost. You can integrate sardines into your snacking plan by putting a couple on top of toast, rice cakes, or sourdough crackers for a quick bite.


Sweet potatoes

A delicious, antioxidant-rich13 root veggie, sweet potatoes are a great starchy option to nourish your body, support your digestion, and keep you satiated without spiking your blood sugar levels. The best part is that you can prepare them in so many ways—roasted, mashed, or even baked into healthier chips or fries.



An Andean, gluten-free rock star, quinoa is one of the few plant-based sources that contains all nine essential amino acids. Although technically a seed, this antioxidant-rich14 grain is easy to prepare and readily available across most grocery stores globally. Try this pumpkin quinoa porridge for a potent anti-inflammatory snack.

Sweet treats:


Frozen bananas

Is there anything more delicious than a simple sweet-tooth-satisfying treat? Enter frozen bananas. Not only are bananas a fiber-packed snack staple, but they come with a bunch of mood-boosting benefits, too. They also make for a great creamy base for your smoothies or some quick banana bites.



The hydrated version of a raisin, grapes (black, red, or green) are an amalgam of polyphenols15 with potential cardiovascular benefits. Want a refreshing, easy bite sure to keep you satisfied? Give this apple, grape, and celery salad a try!


Energy balls

These versatile, protein-rich bites are ideal for heart-friendly snacking. Their mix of good-for-you ingredients (like seeds and nut butter) is perfect for eating on-the-go. Try these three easy (vegan) energy ball recipes for all-day energy.


Chia pudding

Despite their tiny size, chia seeds are bursting with nutrients and make for an ultra-satisfying snack. Due to their ability to expand and gel16, with just a bit of plant-based milk, chia seeds can transform into a yummy, pudding-like treat.


Dark chocolate

Full of heart-healthy flavanols, dark chocolate is an outstanding way to get more antioxidants and other bioactive compounds linked to lower heart disease risk17. Opt for some easy no-bake chocolaty treats.

Healthy beverages:


Sparkling and plain water

Water can be another superb way to support your healthy-eating habits. Of course, you can't go wrong with water, but adding just a touch of citrus peel or crisp mint leaves might add a bit of bonus satisfaction to your hydrating drink.



A blank canvas to supercharge your well-being, smoothies can offer a great combination of fiber, omega-3s, vitamins, and antioxidants, to name a few. Choosing wholesome ingredients for your go-to blend is vital to making the best of these heart-friendly snacks. Consider these healthy smoothie recipes for inspiration.



A blissful cup of café as a healthful snack option? Absolutely! In fact, research published in the American Heart Association (AHA) journal Circulation: Heart Failure suggests drinking coffee may have heart-health benefits. What's more, a cup of java may support brain function18 and give you a nice energy push when you need it most.


Hot cocoa

Cocoa's plethora of health-associated benefits range from promoting brain health to supporting mood. Cocoa flavanols can also help improve blood flow19 and support healthy blood pressure20. As a mood-boosting treat21, healthy hot cocoa might be your best belly-warming, chocolaty treat.

The takeaway.

Mindfully snacking on heart-healthy foods is an important part of supporting your overall well-being. When it comes to cardiovascular health, other lifestyle factors such as physical exercise and proper rest can also play a role. So next time you reach for a snack, consider a healthy bite that will keep you (and your heart) beating strong.

Ximena Araya-Fischel, M.A author page.
Ximena Araya-Fischel, M.A
Food & Nutrition Writer

Ximena Araya-Fischel, M.A, is a journalist, IIN graduate integrative health coach, E-RYT 500 lead yoga teacher, and 500-Hour certified Pilates instructor from San José, Costa Rica. She received her master's degree in communication and journalism from The University of New Mexico, emphasizing well-being, sustainable fashion, health communication research, and graduating Summa Cum Laude. A former professional dancer, she's earned multiple academic and accredited certifications in performance design, positive psychology, doula training, entrepreneurship, digital marketing, mindfulness, innovation leadership, and integrative health. Her work has appeared at top consulting brands and organizations across Latin American and the US, including Byrdie and Albuquerque The Magazine. She currently lives between Costa Rica and New Mexico.