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Prioritizing a heart-healthy lifestyle is more important than ever. A key piece of this lifestyle is selecting snacks that not only satisfy your cravings but also provide nourishment for your heart.


February 12, 2024

In the United States, where heart disease is the leading cause of death, maintaining a heart-healthy diet is recognized as one of the most effective ways to lower the risk of this life-threatening condition.1 Whether you have experienced a heart attack and undergone stent placement or simply strive to make better choices for your heart, incorporating heart-healthy snacks into your daily routine can have a significant positive impact on your cardiovascular health.

A heart-healthy diet focuses on reducing sodium, saturated fats and added sugars while emphasizing nutrient-rich foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins and healthy fats. It can also help manage weight, control blood pressure and cholesterol levels. By consciously adding these heart-healthy snacks into your daily routine, you take a proactive step towards reducing the risk of heart disease and fostering a healthier, more vibrant life.

Low Sodium Snacks

chickpeas roasted with spices on baking sheet

When it comes to maintaining a heart-healthy diet, keeping your sodium intake in check is crucial. Sodium plays a significant role in regulating blood pressure. When you consume sodium, your body retains water to maintain a balance of electrolytes. This increased water retention can lead to an increase in blood volume, which then raises blood pressure. High sodium intake over time can add to the development of hypertension (high blood pressure). Hypertension puts strain on the arteries and can lead to serious health issues such as heart disease, stroke and kidney problems. Therefore, it is important to monitor and limit sodium intake to maintain healthy blood pressure levels. One of the major risk factors for heart disease is high blood pressure.2 It' very important to know your blood pressure numbers and understand your individual risk factors.

Low-sodium snacks can help people manage their blood pressure levels and support their overall well-being. These snacks are typically rich in nutrients, such as fiber, vitamins and minerals, which are beneficial for heart health. Additionally, many low-sodium snacks are naturally high in potassium, a mineral that helps counteract the negative effects of sodium on blood pressure. Here are some delicious and low-sodium snacks that will not only satisfy your cravings but also support your heart health:

  • Apples sliced with almond butter: Apples are an excellent source of fiber and antioxidants, and almond butter is rich in protein and healthy fats. You can also sprinkle cinnamon on top to add more flavor.
  • Roasted chickpeas: A high-fiber and protein-rich snack; these are a great alternative to salty chips. They are easy to prepare and can be seasoned with various herbs and spices for added flavor. Try it out: Toss chickpeas with olive oil and various herbs and spices. Spread them on a baking sheet and roast for about 25–30 minutes, or until crispy at 400°F.
  • Dark chocolate: Dark chocolate is a great low-sodium snack that's high in antioxidants. Be sure to choose a variety that's at least 70 percent cocoa.
  • Sliced watermelon with feta cheese: Combine watermelon slices with a sprinkle of crumbled low-sodium feta cheese. Feta cheese has low fat content but has big flavor to make for a refreshing snack.

Remember to always check food labels for sodium content and choose snacks with low-sodium or no added salt. It is important to note that while reducing sodium intake is crucial, it is equally important to focus on overall dietary patterns, including consuming a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins and healthy fats. Consulting with a health care professional or registered dietician can provide personalized guidance on sodium intake and dietary modifications to support heart health.

Low Cholesterol Snacks

oatmeal balls with chocolate chips on cutting board

Managing cholesterol levels is crucial for maintaining heart health. High levels of LDL cholesterol, also known as "bad" cholesterol, can contribute to the buildup of plaque in the arteries, increasing the risk of heart disease and stroke. Incorporating low cholesterol snacks into your diet is a great way to maintain healthy cholesterol levels and support your heart. Additionally, adopting a heart-healthy diet that includes low cholesterol snacks can have a positive impact on your overall well-being. By making conscious choices and prioritizing your heart health, you can support your heart and enhance your overall health and well-being.

Here are some low-cholesterol snacks that are not only delicious but also beneficial for your heart:

  • Avocado toast: Spread mashed avocado on whole-grain toast for a satisfying and heart-healthy snack. Avocados are rich in healthy fats that can help lower bad cholesterol levels.
  • Greek yogurt with berries: Greek yogurt is a protein-packed snack. Top it with fresh berries for added antioxidants and natural sweetness.
  • Nuts and seeds: Almonds, walnuts, chia seeds and flaxseeds are all excellent choices for snacking. They are high in healthy fats and fiber, which can help reduce cholesterol levels.
  • No-bake oatmeal energy bites: Oats are packed with fiber, healthy fats, and natural sweeteners. They make for a convenient and nutritious snack to boost your energy levels throughout the day.Try them out:
    • Ingredients:
      • 1 cup rolled oat
      • 1/2 cup almond butter or peanut butter (unsweetened and no added oils)
      • 1/4 cup honey or maple syrup
      • 1/4 cup mini chocolate chips or chopped dark chocolate
      • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
      • 1-2 tablespoons chia seeds, chopped nuts or added texture (optional)
    • Instructions:
      • In a mixing bowl, combine the rolled oats, peanut butter, honey or maple syrup, chocolate and vanilla extract until well combined.
      • Once mixed, take small portions of the mixture and roll them into bite-sized balls using your hands and place them on parchment paper lines baking sheet
      • Refrigerate the rolled bite for at least 1 hour to firm up – then enjoy!
  • Homemade smoothies: Blend together a combination of fruits, leafy greens and a liquid base like almond milk or coconut water to create a heart-healthy smoothie. You can also add a tablespoon of chia seeds or a scoop of protein powder for an extra nutritional boost.

Maintaining a heart-healthy diet doesn't mean sacrificing taste or enjoyment. By incorporating these low sodium and low cholesterol snacks into your routine, you can nourish your heart while satisfying your cravings. Remember, making small changes in your diet can have a significant impact on your heart health, and these snacks are a delicious step in the right direction.


1 CDC: Heart Disease. Last updated. Accessed December 8, 2023

2 American Heart Association. Get the Scoop on Sodium and Salt. Last reviewed December 22, 2022. Accessed December 8, 2023

3 American Heart Association. Healthy Snacking. Last reviewed October 24, 2023. Accessed December 8, 2023

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