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According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly half of US adults have high blood pressure, also called hypertension. Though it’s often symptomless, high blood pressure should be taken seriously. If left untreated, high blood pressure increases your risk of several conditions, including kidney and vision damage, heart disease and stroke.


Treatment for high blood pressure should include a coordinated effort with your health care provider, including regular blood pressure checks. However, there are changes to make at home that can play a role in improving your numbers. Regular exercise, a heart-healthy diet, cutting back on sodium and avoiding or limiting alcohol and smoking can all play a role in lowering your blood pressure.


In this meal plan, we map out a week of meals and snacks that incorporate the principles of the Mediterranean Diet. You’ll find heart-healthy foods like fish, nuts, seeds, legumes and fruits and vegetables. Plus, we limit the salt to no more than 1,500 mg per day, per the American Heart Association’s recommendation. Though excess sodium is limited, this plan doesn’t skimp on flavor. And each day includes at least 31 grams of heart-healthy and filling fiber, so you’ll feel satisfied between each meal and snack.


Because weight loss can play a role in improving blood pressure, we set this plan at 1,500 calories per day, which is a level where many people will lose weight. For those with other calorie needs, we included modifications for 1,200 and 2,000 calories per day. This meal plan serves as a framework for a heart-healthy meal plan but doesn’t need to be followed precisely. Modifications to fit your lifestyle are welcome!





Can the Mediterranean Diet Your Improve Heart Health?

Yes! The Mediterranean Diet is consistently touted for its health benefits. This healthy way of eating is linked to improved heart health, sharper brains, reduced risk of developing diabetes, decreased inflammation and weight loss, according to the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. In recent years, the Mediterranean Diet has come under criticism for being too focused on the cuisines of countries like Italy, France, Spain and Greece, while leaving out other countries in this large region. In fact, the Mediterranean region spans three continents and includes 21 countries. The new Mediterranean Diet aims to take a more comprehensive approach to following the nutrition, food and cultural attributes of this region. This shift in viewpoint is welcome as it’s more inclusive, diversifies the flavor profile and is a more accurate viewpoint of the Mediterranean region. To follow the Mediterranean diet (and reap the health benefits), aim to include plenty of fruits and vegetables, herbs and spices, whole grains as well as a wide variety of proteins, such as nuts, seeds, beans and lentils and animal proteins. One principle of the Mediterranean diet includes cooking more meals at home, which helps reduce sodium intake by cutting back on processed foods. The Mediterranean diet is more lifestyle-focused than a traditional diet, so aiming to find enjoyment in meal preparation and flavors, sharing meals with others, increased mindfulness and incorporating regular body movements are all components of this healthy lifestyle.



Mediterranean-Diet Foods to Focus On:

This list briefly overviews some foods to include in the Mediterranean Diet. It is not a comprehensive list.


  • Fruits: berries, pomegranates, peaches, pears, apples, plums, figs, cherries, apricots
  • Vegetables: dark leafy greens, tomato, okra, eggplant, squash, potato and sweet potato, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower
  • Whole Grains: quinoa, oats, bulgur, freekeh, whole-wheat, pasta, brown rice
  • Unsaturated Fats: olive oil, olives, avocado and avocado oil
  • Beans and lentils
  • Nuts: almonds, pecans, walnuts, natural nut butters (with no added sugar and limited sodium)
  • Seeds: chia, flax, pumpkin, sunflower
  • Fish
  • Eggs
  • Dairy: yogurt, kefir, cheese
  • Poultry
  • Red meat: beef, pork, lamb
  • Herbs and spices


Red meat is often limited when talking about a Mediterranean Diet foods list. However, many countries in this region do consume red meat. In this eating pattern, no single food or food group is excluded. Instead, what and how we eat is the main focus. Aiming to cook more meals at home, eating plenty of fruits and vegetables, and having a diverse and healthy diet are some of the core principles of this plan.





How to Meal-Prep Your Week of Meals:

  1. Make Lemon-Blueberry Overnight Oats to have for breakfast on days 2 through 4.
  2. Prepare Padma Lakshmi’s Tandoori Chicken Salad to have for lunch on days 2 through 5.
  3. Whip up Peanut Butter-Oat Energy Balls to have as a snack throughout the week.



Day 1

Victor Protasio

Breakfast (332 calories)



A.M. Snack (59 calories)



Lunch (417 calories)



P.M. Snack (172 calories)

  • ½ cup dry-roasted unsalted pistachios (measured in shell)


Dinner (535 calories)



Daily Totals: 1,514 calories, 82g fat, 14g saturated fat, 75g protein, 138g carbohydrate 32g fiber, 1,470mg sodium


Make it 1,200 calories: Omit orange at breakfast, change P.M. snack to 1/4 cup blueberries and substitute Kale Salad with Balsamic & Parmesan for the Avocado & Corn Salad at dinner.


Make it 2,000 calories: Increase to 2 servings Avocado-Egg Toast at breakfast and add 1/4 cup dry-roasted unsalted almonds to A.M. snack.



Day 2

Photographer: Rachel Marek, Food stylist: Holly Dreesman

Breakfast (384 calories)



A.M. Snack (92 calories)



Lunch (339 calories)



P.M. Snack (246 calories)

  • 1 large pear
  • ⅓ cup dry-roasted unsalted pistachios (measured in shell)


Dinner (433 calories)



Daily Totals: 1,493 calories, 54g fat, 9g saturated fat, 87g protein, 181g carbohydrate, 36g fiber, 1,492mg sodium


Make it 1,200 calories: Omit chopped walnuts at breakfast, apple at lunch and pistachios at P.M. snack.


Make it 2,000 calories: Increase to 1/4 cup chopped walnuts at breakfast, increase to 3 servings energy balls at A.M. snack, add 2 Tbsp. natural peanut butter to apple at lunch and add 1 medium peach as evening snack.



Day 3

Breakfast (384 calories)



A.M. Snack (212 calories)



Lunch (339 calories)



P.M. Snack (154 calories)

  • 20 dry-roasted unsalted almonds


Dinner (427 calories)



Daily Totals: 1,515 calories, 70g fat, 8g saturated fat, 72g protein, 166g carbohydrate, 34g fiber, 1,472mg sodium


Make it 1,200 calories: Omit walnuts at breakfast, reduce to 1 energy ball at A.M. snack and change P.M. snack to 3/4 cup blueberries.


Make it 2,000 calories: Increase to 1/4 cup chopped walnuts at breakfast, add 2 Tbsp. natural peanut butter to lunch and add 1 serving Spinach-Strawberry Salad with Feta & Walnuts to dinner.



Day 4

Ali Redmond (photography, food & prop styling)

Breakfast (384 calories)



A.M. Snack (46 calories)



Lunch (339 calories)



P.M. Snack (212 calories)



Dinner (535 calories)



Daily Totals: 1,516 calories, 54g fat, 9g saturated fat, 95g protein, 175g carbohydrate, 32g fiber, 1,404mg sodium


Make it 1,200 calories: Omit walnuts at breakfast and apple at lunch and reduce to 1 energy ball at P.M. snack.


Make it 2,000 calories: Increase to 3 Tbsp. chopped walnuts at breakfast, add 1/4 cup dry-roasted unsalted almonds to A.M. snack and 2 Tbsp. natural peanut butter to lunch.



Day 5

Photographer: Jen Causey, Food Stylist: Chelsea Zimmer

Breakfast (333 calories)



A.M. Snack (182 calories)

  • 1 cup low-fat plain Greek yogurt
  • ¼ cup raspberries


Lunch (339 calories)



P.M. Snack (200 calories)



Dinner (441 calories)



Daily Totals: 1,495 calories, 53g fat, 9g saturated fat, 88g protein, 179g carbohydrate, 43g fiber, 1,476mg sodium


Make it 1,200 calories: Omit yogurt at A.M. snack and change P.M. snack to 1 medium peach.


Make it 2,000 calories: Add 2 Tbsp. chopped walnuts to A.M. snack, 2 Tbsp. natural peanut butter to lunch (with apple) and 1 medium peach to P.M. snack.



Day 6

Photography / Caitlin Bensel, Food Styling / Ruth Blackburn

Breakfast (333 calories)



A.M. Snack (212 calories)



Lunch (357 calories)



P.M. Snack (172 calories)

  • ½ cup dry-roasted unsalted pistachios (measured in shells)


Dinner (450 calories)



Daily Totals: 1,523 calories, 78g fat, 17g saturated fat, 69g protein, 150g carbohydrate, 31g fiber, 1,411mg sodium


Make it 1,200 calories: Reduce to 1 energy ball at A.M. snack and change P.M. snack to 1/3 cup sliced cucumber.


Make it 2,000 calories: Add 1 serving Peanut Butter-Banana Cinnamon Toast to breakfast, 1 medium apple to A.M. snack and 1 medium banana to P.M. snack.



Day 7

Eva Kolenko

Breakfast (332 calories)



A.M. Snack (131 calories)



Lunch (357 calories)



P.M. Snack (200 calories)



Dinner (450 calories)



Daily Totals: 1,478 calories, 76g fat, 13g saturated fat, 83g protein, 118g carbohydrate, 32g fiber, 1,449mg sodium


Make it 1,200 calories: Change A.M. snack to 1 plum and P.M. snack to 1/4 cup blueberries.


Make it 2,000 calories: Increase to 2 servings Avocado-Egg Toast at breakfast, add 1/4 cup dry-roasted unsalted almonds at A.M. snack and add 1 medium peach to P.M. snack.

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