11 Easy, Heart-Healthy Recipes To Make for Dinner Tonight
Maybe heart disease runs in your family, or you've recently been told you have high cholesterol. Or perhaps you or a loved one recently suffered a heart attack and are now trying to eat healthier. Whatever the reason is, you've found yourself here looking for heart-healthy dinner recipes you can try.
According to the U.S. Department of Health, some of the foods you'll want to incorporate into a diet that is good for your heart are fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes, lean proteins, and healthy fats (like omega-3s).
They also recommend you significantly lower your consumption of saturated fats, which are usually found in high-fat dairy, red meat, processed meats, and high-sodium items like processed and packaged foods.
"A heart-healthy dinner will have some specific components to it, like being low in saturated fat, full of colorful vegetables, lower in sodium, and has a source of lean protein," says Lauren Manaker, MS, RDN, registered dietitian and author of The First Time Mom's Pregnancy Cookbook and Fueling Male Fertility. "Including foods that are sources of potassium, calcium, and magnesium may offer some benefit as well."
To help you get started with some heart-healthy eating, we've rounded up some of our favorite healthy dinner recipes that meet these guidelines. And for more healthy heart tips, check out The Best Foods to Eat For Your Heart.
Mediterranean Rice Bowl With Rotisserie Chicken
The Mediterranean diet has been found to have cardioprotective effects because of its inclusion of whole grains, vegetables, and healthy fats, as well as its limited amount of added sugars and processed foods.
This Mediterranean-inspired meal is a great heart-healthy dinner because you'll get a boost of lean protein, a variety of vegetables, fiber from the rice, and healthy fat from the olive oil.
Get our recipe for Mediterranean Rice Bowl.
Grilled Chicken and Avocado Salad
As Manaker mentioned, eating plenty of vegetables is crucial for your heart and for getting enough vital nutrients, and many Americans aren't getting nearly enough on a daily basis. This chicken and avocado salad not only gives you plenty of protein and healthy fat, but the serving of arugula can give you a small boost of vitamin C, potassium, and folate as well.
Get our recipe for Grilled Chicken and Avocado Salad.
Grilled Vegetable Wrap
This vegetable wrap is a quick and easy way to get a hearty dose of vegetables in your meal with very little saturated fat. This recipe is entirely vegetarian, but if you want added meat protein you could always include some grilled chicken.
Get our recipe for Grilled Vegetable Wrap.
Baked Chicken With Tomatoes and Capers
This is another Mediterranean-inspired dish and is packed full of flavor and healthy fats, all while remaining around only 300 calories with only 2.5 grams of saturated fat. For the best possible heart-healthy meal, include a side salad full of vegetables and an olive oil dressing.
Get our recipe for Baked Chicken.
Easy Scallops with Chimichurri
Dishes like these make for great heart-healthy dinners. Not only can the scallops be used as a replacement for fattier meat, but they can also provide you with a helpful dose of omega-3 fatty acids, which are known to be good for your heart health.
Get our recipe for Chimichurri Scallops.
Chicken Burger with Sun-Dried Tomato Aioli
If you've been carefully monitoring your heart health, then you've probably been trying to limit your consumption of red meat and saturated fats. These healthy chicken burgers can be a great alternative to try when you're hankering for a cheeseburger after a long day.
Get our recipe for Chicken Burger.
Honey Mustard Glazed Salmon with Asparagus
Salmon is one of the best sources of omega-3 fatty acids that you can find, which makes it a no-brainer dinner option. This particular recipe is a perfect balance of sweet and savory, and it's easy to cook even if you're new to salmon.
Get our recipe for Honey Mustard Salmon.
Grilled Chicken Caesar Salad
Creamy salad dressings can oftentimes sneakily pack in a lot of saturated fat. This recipe calls for your own homemade caesar dressing, which gives you more flexibility in what you include. Although this recipe calls for normal mayonnaise, you can find an olive-oil-based mayo to help keep your saturated fat levels low.
Get our recipe for Chicken Caesar Salad.
Asian-Inspired Tuna Burger with Wasabi Mayo
Another great alternative to a normal hamburger, this tuna burger is full of flavor and high in healthy fats. You can also increase the heart-healthy benefits of this meal by choosing a whole-grain, high-fiber bun.
Get our recipe for Tuna Burger.
Chicken Mole Enchiladas
Americans have turned Mexican food into huge plates of nachos, cheesy burritos, and quesadillas, but authentic Mexican food is full of flavor and usually much lower in saturated fat, as these traditional chicken mole enchiladas.
Get our recipe for Chicken Mole.
Low-Fat Hearty Turkey Chili
If you're missing your traditional chili recipe made with beef, this turkey alternative is just for you. Not only is the turkey a much healthier and less fatty choice of meat, but the two different types of beans will give your body plenty of heart-healthy fiber as well.
Get our recipe for Turkey Chili.
Another tip for preparing dinners that can help your heart health is making sure you always have some vegetables, whole grains, fruit, and lean proteins on hand. This will help you throw together recipes that are high in fiber, healthy fats, and protein, as well as meals that are lower in added sugar and saturated fat.
It may not feel like much, but replacing some of your usual weekly meals with a few of these heart-healthy ones can work wonders for your heart. "Since dietary choices can impact heart health, it is important to find meals that align with heart-healthy diets," says Manaker.
A previous version of this story was originally published in March 2022 and has since been updated to include more heart-healthy recipes.