Heart-healthy recipes for the week: Air-fryer salmon, pumpkin overnight oats and more

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It's the last week of February, also known as American Heart Month. So, this week’s focus is on a nutritious, plant-filled diet that includes healthy sources of fat (such as seeds, nuts, avocados and extra virgin olive oil). Seafood is another top food to reduce your risk of heart disease. In fact, the American Heart Association recommends eating two servings of seafood per week. So, we’ve followed their guidance when planning this menu.

Whether you’re actively trying to lower your risk for heart disease or working on healthier eating habits to boost your energy, mood, brain skills and quality of life, we know you will enjoy the menu we’ve selected for the week ahead.

What to Eat This Week, February 26, 2024

Start TODAY meal plan week of February 26, 2024
Start TODAY meal plan week of February 26, 2024

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Snack of choice


Make mornings easier by spending five to 10 minutes prepping the night before. Come breakfast time, you’ll be happy you did.

Coffee Chia Parfait by Elena Besser

Using leftover coffee, make the coffee-chia topping before you head to bed. Then assemble the rest of the parfait in the morning.

Pumpkin Overnight Oats with Greek Yogurt

To make, mix 1/2 cup each oats and unsweetened almond milk with 2 tablespoons pureed pumpkin, 1 teaspoon chia seeds, 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice and 1 teaspoon maple syrup. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Serve with Greek yogurt on top or on the side.

Broccoli Cheddar Tots by Joy Bauer

Serve tots with hard boiled eggs and a cup or piece of fruit.


Continuing with the heart health theme, we incorporated several smart strategies into the lunch selections. For instance, smoked salmon is a convenient way to score omega-3 fats. We dressed up the meal like a bagel but made it healthier by using a whole-grain English muffin and Greek yogurt instead of cream cheese. If you’re not fond of smoked salmon, you can try canned or pouched salmon or tuna, which have been featured on previous menus. In addition, the grain bowl is loaded with antioxidant-rich produce and healthy fats to protect your heart (while also boosting your mood and energy levels).

Green Grain Bowl by Elena Besser

Here’s a filling, fiber- and protein-rich grain bowl you can meal prep in advance. To do so, make the quinoa and dressing and shred your rotisserie chicken. Assemble the grain bowl and add your veggies when ready to serve. If you’re trying to reduce your meat consumption or are exclusively plant-based, use canned and rinsed beans instead of chicken.

Open-Faced Smoked Salmon Sandwich

Toast a whole-grain English muffin and spread with Greek yogurt. Top each half with capers, red onions, lettuce, tomato slices and smoked salmon. Serve with cucumber slices.


Dinners include multiple healthy swaps, like ground chicken and lentils in place of ground beef and whole grains instead of refined grains. But the best part about this week’s dinner lineup is that you’ll be too tuned into the flavor to think about how wholesome the meals are.

Lentil Tacos by Jenné Claiborne

Eating a meatless meal at least once a week helps you boost your intake of plant foods and lentils are packed with magnesium, a nutrient that plays an important role in cardiovascular health. We chose tacos for this menu because they’re an easy way to dip your toe into meatless meals. This version calls for making guacamole, but if you don’t have time, you can swap it with a store-bought variety and garnish with cubed mango for a special touch. While you have the kale out, saute some extra to serve with your tacos.

Easy Yogurt-Marinated Chicken Breasts by Ali Rosen

Simple Roasted Vegetables by Lazarus Lynch

Marinating chicken breasts in yogurt is as simple as it gets, but it transforms dry chicken breasts into the most tender meal. Serve with quinoa (microwavable or frozen if you want to save time) and roasted vegetables.

4-Ingredient Air Fryer Salmon by Jocelyn Delk Adams

Salmon is loaded with omega-3 fats, and this easy marinade makes it the perfect thing to cook when you don’t want to fuss in the kitchen. The recipe calls for soy sauce, but we’d suggest swapping that with lower-sodium soy sauce or coconut aminos — a milder, less salty alternative. Serve your salmon with broccoli and brown rice (frozen or microwavable to save time).

Baked Chicken and Ricotta Meatballs with Broccolini by Yasmin Fahr

Making meatballs with ground chicken instead of ground beef reduces saturated fat — the kind that can raise your risk of harmful LDL cholesterol. And you won’t miss the beef in this insanely tasty meal. Feel free to swap broccoli for the broccolini, and serve your meatballs over whole grain, chickpea or lentil pasta with a lower-sugar jarred pasta sauce.

Grilled Corn and Avocado Salad with Cilantro-Lime Shrimp Skewers by Elena Besser

Shrimp is a perfect weeknight protein since it’s easy to defrost in icy water, and it helps you meet the recommended goal of eating seafood twice a week. The cilantro-lime dressing brings everything together here; it serves as the marinade for the corn and shrimp and the dressing for the salad. The salad is plated with a fun surprise: tortilla chips. The various textures add an element of interest to this easy meal, and many tortilla chips are made from whole-grain corn.


Snacks that contain whole food sources of protein and fiber offer a winning formula that keeps you full for hours. Here are a few ideas:

  • Grape tomatoes with creamy taco dip. To make the dip, add some taco seasoning to Greek yogurt and mix.

  • Red pepper strips with egg salad.

  • Cucumber slices and edamame.

  • Freeze-dried apple or strawberry chips with nuts.

  • ½ grapefruit with Greek yogurt.

This article was originally published on TODAY.com