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7-Day Meal Plan For High Blood Pressure

Published on
Updated on
7-Day Meal Plan For High Blood Pressure

Table of Contents

Key Takeaways

  • High blood pressure is a significant risk factor for heart disease and stroke, but fortunately, it can be treated through lifestyle changes and medication. 
  • Foods that support healthy blood pressure levels include whole grains, whole fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and lean protein sources (including animal and plant-based options.) 
  • If you’re trying to lower your blood pressure through dietary changes, use our delicious 7-day meal plan and enjoy heart-healthy meals at home.

Hypertension (high blood pressure) is a leading risk factor for cardiovascular disease and stroke.

Stage 1 hypertension is defined as having a blood pressure reading of 130-139 (systolic) over 80-89 (diastolic), while stage 2 is a reading above 140 over 90.

Your blood pushes against the walls of your arteries—blood vessels that carry oxygenated blood away from your heart.

If this force (known as your blood pressure) is too strong, it can slowly damage your heart over time.

Fortunately, there are very effective treatment strategies you can follow to improve your blood pressure levels, including lifestyle changes and possibly medication. 

Keep reading to learn how foods can impact blood pressure, and try our 7-day meal plan to start making changes at home. 

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Does Food Impact High Blood Pressure? 

Some nutrients and food can increase blood pressure, while others can have a lowering effect.

Things that can raise your blood pressure include: 

  • High-salt products (canned goods, sauces, condiments, frozen dinners, heat-and-eat products like flavored instant rice, chips, crackers, cheeses, brined products like olives or pickles, cured meats and fish, and vegetable sauce.) 
  • Energy drinks.  
  • Coffee.  
  • Salty black licorice.  

In addition to limiting these foods to manage high blood pressure, the American Heart Association also recommends decreasing your intake of alcoholic beverages, fatty meats, saturated and trans fats, and items that contain high amounts of added sugars, such as juices or sweets. 

These guidelines support cardiovascular health by protecting vessels and reducing the risk of atherosclerotic plaque buildup.    

What to Eat with High Blood Pressure

You can eat hundreds of delicious foods while managing high blood pressure.

Foods rich in magnesium, potassium, calcium, fiber, and lean protein are all beneficial, and increasing your intake of these nutrients may help you control your blood pressure levels better. 

These nutrients are abundantly available in the evidence-based nutrition approach to treat high blood pressure called Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH).

The DASH diet is very similar to the Mediterranean diet, another heart-health-promoting eating pattern supported by decades of research. 

Here are foods you can include in your weekly meal plan: 

  • Whole grains (quinoa, teff, millet, barley, oats, etc.) 
  • Vegetables (as many different colored options as you can.)
  • Fruits (similar to vegetables; try to pick to enjoy whole options over juiced.) 
  • Lean protein (aim for a mix of lean animal cuts, fish, and plant-based options.) 
  • Nuts and seeds (again, choose a variety because each nut offers different nutritional benefits.) 

Other ways to improve your blood pressure include cooking more at home (to limit your salt intake.) 

Meal Plan for High Blood Pressure

Below is an example of what a week of eating could look like while trying to improve your blood pressure levels.

Talk to your dietitian to learn what serving size is appropriate for you.

Nutrition guidelines suggest keeping your total salt intake below 2300 mg, or ideally—1500 mg (approximately ¼ teaspoon).

To add flavor without reaching for the salt shaker, incorporate salt-free flavor boosters, such as freshly squeezed lemon, herbs, spicy chilis, and sodium-free spice blends. 

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Day 1

Breakfast

Rolled oats boiled in skim or 1% milk.

Add fiber-rich berries (fresh or frozen) and top with ground nuts, such as walnuts, almonds, and cashews.

We recommend toasting your nuts first to draw out more intense flavors naturally. 

Lunch

Salmon cakes made with low-sodium canned salmon, diced bell pepper, green onion, a dollop of low-fat plain Greek yogurt, fresh dill, lemon zest, and one egg.

Mix everything before cooking—you can grill, lightly sauté, bake, or toast in an air-fryer. 

Serve on a whole-grain English muffin with a few drops of hot sauce, and add a side of fresh vegetable sticks with your choice of dip. 

Dinner

Chickpea curry with low-sodium canned diced tomatoes, garlic, and onion.

Add garam masala, cumin, coriander, and freshly grated ginger.

Serve over brown rice.

To add natural sweetness and brightness to your meal, top this dish with fresh cilantro and a few slices of mango or pomegranate seeds. 

Snacks

Sliced apple with nut butter; Low-fat plain Greek yogurt with mixed nuts and sliced banana. 

Day 2

Breakfast

Boiled egg served on whole grain toast.

Dress with sliced avocado, a slice of low-sodium cheddar cheese, tomato, and red onion.

Drizzle with olive oil and finish with freshly cut basil. 

Lunch

Whole wheat pita stuffed with baked chicken breast seasoned with salt-free seasoning, spinach, tomato, cucumber, and sprouts.

Dress with your favorite low-sodium salad dressing.

If possible, toast your wrap before eating to create an extra-satisfying crunchy exterior. 

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Dinner

Ground turkey meatballs served over whole grain pasta.

Make a quick red sauce by satuéeing fresh tomatoes, red bell peppers, mushrooms, garlic, onion, and cracked black pepper.

Add a splash of white wine (or white wine vinegar) after cooking your veggies. 

Garnish the finished dish with freshly chopped parsley. 

Snacks

Low-fat plain Greek yogurt with nuts and orange slices; Unsalted air-popped popcorn. Add some olive oil and garlic powder to dress up this snack. 

Day 3

Breakfast

Black beans warmed in a pan with red onion, diced tomato, bell pepper, and low-sodium taco seasoning.

Make a breakfast burrito by spooning the bean mixture into a whole-grain tortilla and adding fresh avocado and lettuce.

Add a dollop of low-fat plain Greek yogurt and a few slices of fresh jalapeño if you enjoy some heat in the morning. 

Lunch

Moroccan sweet potato stew with sweet potatoes, red bell peppers, low-sodium canned tomatoes, peanut butter, garlic, onion, and dry harissa rub (a salt-free seasoning blend that combines chilis and mint.)

Add kidney beans or chickpeas to the soup before serving. 

Dinner

Grilled cod served with homemade mango salsa (mix mango, red onion, white pepper, and lime juice).

Serve with quinoa and your favorite grilled vegetables.

We recommend asparagus and mushrooms for this dish. 

Snacks

Fresh vegetable sticks with your favorite low-sodium dip; Hard boiled egg served with low-sodium whole-grain crackers. 

Day 4

Breakfast

Overnight oats made with skim or 1% milk, chia seeds, ground cinnamon, chopped walnuts, dark chocolate chips, and raspberries (can be frozen or fresh). 

Lunch

Chicken salad with olive oil-based mayonnaise, celery, sweet green peas, green onion, curry powder, and a handful of dried cranberries.

Serve over toasted whole-grain bread and add fresh fruit on the side. 

Dinner

Baked sheet pan dinner with extra-firm tofu, eggplant, red bell peppers, and sweet onion.

Dress with homemade sauce that combines sesame oil, freshly grated garlic and ginger, maple syrup, rice vinegar, and ¼ cup of low-sodium broth. 

Serve over brown rice and garnish with green onions and fresh cilantro. 

Snacks

Tuna in olive oil on a whole-grain English muffin with sliced cucumber; Fresh apple slices with your favorite nut butter. 

Day 5

Breakfast

Whole grain cold cereal (Cheerios, Alpen no-sugar added Muesli, Uncle Sam wheat berry flakes, etc.) mixed with half low-fat milk and low-fat plain Greek yogurt.

Dress with a diced apple and a sprinkle of cinnamon. 

Lunch

Mediterranean tuna salad mixed with olive oil, sun-dried tomatoes, red onion, fresh basil and parsley, lemon juice, and garlic.

Serve over whole-grain crackers (choose a low-sodium option) with plain goat cheese.  

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Dinner

Three-bean chili with kidney beans, white beans, and pinto beans.

Add low-sodium canned diced tomatoes, green bell peppers, corn, carrots, onions, and garlic.

Chili seasoning should be salt-free, and you can also add garlic powder (which is also salt-free and is a different product than garlic salt.) 

If desired, serve chili with a dollop of low-fat plain Greek yogurt, freshly cut scallions, and chili flakes. 

Snacks

Unsalted air-popped popcorn; Baked peach with ground cinnamon and nuts. 

Day 6

Breakfast

Simple banana pancakes with eggs, mashed banana, and a spoonful of ground flax seed.

Top the dish with stewed berries (put frozen berries and ground cinnamon in a pot. Bring to a light simmer for 10 minutes and serve hot.) 

Lunch

Ultimate green salad with shredded kale, cucumber, avocado, green onions, and green peppers.

Add toasted slivered almonds and top with any leftover proteins from the week (beans, chicken, etc.)

Make a herb dressing by blending olive oil, fresh garlic, cracked black pepper, jalapeño (if you enjoy heat), lemon and lime juice, mint, parsley, basil, and cilantro.

Serve with toasted whole-grain pita slices on the side. 

Dinner

Lentil taco bowls are made by lightly pan-frying canned lentils with low-salt taco seasoning, garlic, and diced onion.

Serve over quinoa, shredded lettuce, low-sodium cheddar cheese, diced tomato, zucchini, avocado, and dress with lime juice and cilantro. 

Snacks

Apple slices with your favorite nut butter; Slice of whole-grain toast with avocado, lemon juice, chili flakes, and fresh mint. 

Day 7

Breakfast

Baked whole grain french toast made with eggs, cinnamon, and nutmeg.

Serve with a dollop of low-fat plain Greek yogurt, and add fresh-cut fruits such as oranges, melons, and bananas. 

Lunch

Lettuce wraps with cooked shrimp, avocado, cucumber, red onion, fresh mint, and bell peppers.

Dress with a tangy sauce made with olive oil, red wine vinegar, fresh garlic, a small drop of Dijon mustard, and chili flakes. 

Dinner

Homemade meatloaf made with extra lean ground beef, egg, oats, garlic powder, paprika, and no-salt chili powder.

Serve with a baked potato and a fresh garden salad on the side (dress with your favorite low-sodium dressing or mix olive oil and balsamic vinegar.)  

Snacks

Plain roasted chickpeas; Baked pineapple served over low-fat plain Greek yogurt. 

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Takeaway

You can improve your blood pressure levels by taking a multi-pronged approach that includes dietary changes, increasing physical activity, managing stress, and possibly starting medication. 

When planning meals, choose whole foods as often as possible and include fiber-rich options.

Adding more plant-based proteins to your menu is also beneficial for heart health, but drain and rinse canned beans thoroughly before eating to remove excess salt. 

Work With a Registered Dietitian 

A registered dietitian is a nutrition expert and licensed health care professional.

They provide comprehensive nutrition counseling and can help you meet your blood pressure goals

You may not know what to expect if you’ve never met with a dietitian before.

Here are questions to ask: 

  • What causes high blood pressure? 
  • I love savory foods—what can I eat that won’t raise my blood pressure? 
  • Can you teach me how to read nutrition labels? 
  • What strategies can I use to moderate my salt intake while dining out? 

Find a heart health dietitian near you to better understand how dietary changes could help lower your blood pressure levels.

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