How to Plan Heart Healthy Snacks
Did you just find out that you have high blood pressure and you need to change the way you eat? Or maybe you have a family history of heart disease and want to do everything in your power to prevent it? Whatever the reason may be, trying to change your diet is always a challenge. When making the switch to a healthier diet, the first and sometimes hardest step is choosing what diet you want to follow.
What diet is best ?
In the age of the internet, determining what diets are truly healthy can be a struggle. So instead of focusing on the newest trendy diet, that likely doesn't have much evidence or research to back it up, why not try a diet that has been around for centuries and has evidence backing up all of its health benefits?
Let me introduce you to the Mediterranean diet. The Mediterranean diet is filled with whole foods such as fruit, vegetables, beans, whole grains, nuts, seeds, and extra virgin olive oil. It’s non-restrictive, well-balanced, and sustainable. Now, you may be thinking, what's the catch? I know it may not sound like most diets you're used to, which are based on restricting food groups, counting calories, and eliminating all the delicious foods you enjoy. The reason for this is because the Mediterranean diet isn’t really a diet at all, it's a way of eating –– a lifestyle. It allows you to enjoy all the food groups and encourages eating more whole plant foods, which is never a bad idea! It also has amazing health benefits for so many diseases and conditions including diabetes, skin health, heart health, brain function, and more.
Learning to adjust and love a heart healthy diet can be fun and exciting when you are following the Mediterranean diet, and of course, it’s a little easier with the help of us here at Olivaio.
Heart Health and the Mediterranean diet
Now, why exactly should you choose the Mediterranean diet as your new diet to try in regards to heart healthy? The Mediterranean diet is shown to lower blood pressure, and extra virgin olive oil (a key component of the Mediterranean diet) can help to decrease your risk of cardiovascular disease.
Now that we know why the Mediterranean diet can be a good choice for heart health, let's explore some of the delicious possibilities of snacks while following the Mediterranean diet!
Delicious And Nutritious Mediterranean Diet Snacks To Try:
Berries and cream yogurt bites
These berry bites are a great snack to eat when you're on the go or low on time. They're great to meal prep and are kept in the freezer so they last a long time and are always ready. They are sure to keep you full and give you energy that will last throughout the day due to their fiber, protein, and carb content.
- Take your favorite berries (raspberries, blueberries and black berries are a good option) and dip to fully coat them in plain greek yogurt. Once the berries are fully coated, chia seeds on top to add some crunch. Place all the coated berries in a parchment lined plate and let stand in the freezer for at least 2 hours. Once the berry bites are no longer sticky, put them into a tupperware or plastic bag to place back into the freezer for storage.
Crispy and crunchy granola
Granola is a great snack because it can be eaten on its own or added on top of yogurt, smoothie bowls, or even oatmeal. One thing that is not so great about store bought granola is that it is usually high in added sugar. Luckily, when you make your granola at home, you get to decide exactly how much, if any, sugar you want to add! In addition, this recipe features some protein too from an egg white, which makes the granola extra clumpy and great for munching on!
- Mix a cup of rolled oats with a few Tbsp of Olivaio, your favorite nuts or seeds (some favorites are almonds, pecans, and macadamia nuts), a drizzle of honey and vanilla extract, and a sprinkle of salt and cinnamon. In a separate bowl whisk one egg white till it starts to get frothy, then add it to the oat mixture and stir til everything is combined. Pour the mixture into an even layer on a lined baking sheet and bake at 350 for 20 minutes or until golden.
Rosemary roasted nuts
Nuts and extra virgin olive oil are a great way to add more healthy fat into your diet and to keep you feeling full longer, in between meals. Grab a small handful of these while you’re running out the door to hold you over till your next meal.
- Mix your favorite nuts (almonds, peanuts, pistachios, walnuts, pecans are great options) with a heavy drizzle of Olivaio, and a few dashes of dried rosemary, salt, cayenne pepper, and paprika. Bake in the oven at 400 for 15 minutes or until golden brown.
If you're still looking for more great recipes check out the recipe section of Olivaio to learn more ways to add extra virgin olive oil to your diet!
Written by Isabelle Hammack
Reviewed by Kelly Powers, MA, RDN, a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist who takes a holistic approach to nutrition and health. Kelly is a recipe developer with a food blog highlighting whole foods, simple recipes, and her life in San Francisco. She’s the creator of 52 Weeks, a weekly meal plan program that helps users get back in the kitchen and feed themselves well. Kelly is also a co-founder of Olivaio.