Most of us snack at least once during the course of a day. Since what you eat matters to heart function and overall health, your snack choice is important. Here are some suggestions of what to eat that will keep you satiated and your heart in optimal health. 

The Science of Snacking

A snack is generally defined as any food eaten between main meals. Yet, the 2020 Food & Health Survey found that 40% of Americans occasionally replaced meals with snacks, and 25% sometimes skipped meals entirely. While snacks can be an important part of a healthy diet, they should not replace whole meals. 

Snacking does have benefits, such as:

♦ Supporting healthy blood sugar levels 
♦ Promoting normal energy throughout the day
♦ Helping to curb your appetite so you don’t overeat at the next meal
♦ Increasing nutrient intake (when healthy options are made)
♦ Supporting post-workout recovery

The problem is that some of the most common snack choices in the United States are chips, crackers, cookies, candy, soft drinks, and ice cream, which may not be the best choices for reaching your health goals. 

eat fruits, not nuts

Smart Snacking Suggestions for Better Heart Health

Eat Fruit, Not Candy

It is not hard to find a vending machine, which makes candy a tempting and convenient option when hunger strikes. Planning ahead for the day, and packing fruit instead, allows you to avoid this temptation and can satiate the sweet tooth behind the cravings. 

Candy is full of refined sugar, which is not doing your heart health any favors. When you opt for heart-healthy fruits like berries, apples, papaya, bananas, avocado, and oranges, you get fiber, antioxidants, and a variety of vitamins and minerals.

So, EAT some apple slices with nut butter, whole grain avocado toast, or a berry and banana fruit salad, NOT candy.

Eat Veggies, Not Chips

Chips may be made from potatoes, but frying interferes with proteins and nutrients. Many believe veggie chips are a healthy alternative, but these too are processed. Chips are also high in sodium and fat, which work against healthy blood pressure and cholesterol goals.

The best alternative is fresh vegetables. You can still enjoy the same crunchy snack and get a mouthful of nutrients and fiber with every bite. Some of the best vegetables for heart health include broccoli, cauliflower, and carrots. Green leafy vegetables are also full of heart-essential nutrients, including vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin K, potassium, folate, calcium, and fiber.

So, EAT some broccoli florets with hummus, celery with nut butter, or a simple spinach salad with vinaigrette, NOT chips.

Eat Nuts, Not Pretzels

Many opt for pretzels instead of chips. These twisted crackers may contain less fat than potato chips, but they are packed with sodium and offer very little fiber or nutritional value. 

Instead of pretzels, grab a handful of nuts, seeds, or both. Nuts and seeds are calorie dense, which causes many to avoid them. However, they are filling and offer healthy fats, protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals. The best options for heart health include almonds and pumpkin seeds, which are packed with healthy fats and magnesium, an essential mineral for healthy blood pressure and heartbeat.

So, EAT homemade trail mix with almonds, pecans, pumpkin seeds, and dried fruit, NOT pretzels.

eat healthy bars, not cookies

Eat a Healthy Snack Bar, Not Cookies

The refined white flour and sugar used to make cookies can make it challenging to maintain healthy blood sugar levels. They also offer no nutritional value. If you are looking for a quick and satiating sweet snack, try a more healthful snack bar. 

Look for bars that have natural ingredients like nuts, fruit, whole grains, and seeds, and steer clear of bars with large amounts of added sugars. Added sugars can appear innocent but look for words like high-fructose corn syrup, cane juice, sucrose, maltose, fructose, agave nectar, or brown sugar.

So, EAT a snack bar made with fruit, nuts, and whole grains, NOT cookies. 

Something Extra

Your heart is the most essential organ, ensuring oxygen and nutrients are circulated through the body. Optimal performance depends on the right nutrients, and even with a balanced diet, additional support can help. 

In addition to packing healthy snacks for your day, keep 1MD Nutrition’s CardioFitMD® on hand to make sure your heart has everything it needs.

1MD Nutrition's CardioFitMD

One scoop, once daily, delivers 20% of the recommended daily intake of fiber to support healthy blood sugar levels and a potent dose of beetroot powder which promotes nitric oxide production for optimal arterial and circulatory health. You also get powerful probiotics and 20 essential vitamins and minerals to promote your best health every day. 

Final Thoughts

Your food choices matter, not just for heart health but for overall health. Adding nutritious snacks to a balanced diet, regular exercise, and 1MD Nutrition’s CardioFitMD® daily superfood drink creates a powerful cardiovascular routine. So, eat health-promoting snacks for optimal heart function and whole-body health.

Dr. Heather Shenkman


Dr. Heather Shenkman is a board certified interventional cardiologist. She completed a six year program at Albany Medical College, graduating at the age of 23. She completed her residency at Henry Ford Hospital, cardiology fellowship at the University of Rochester, and interventional cardiology fellowship at the esteemed Tufts Medical Center in Boston.