According to the American Heart Association, the protein-filled foods to seek out on a day-to-day basis include lean fish, poultry, and beans. Chicken is a low-fat meat that's easy to feature as the main dish or add to lots of other dishes from chili to pasta to sandwiches. Fish is also a popular high-protein choice. In addition to tasting delicious, it's high in omega-3 fatty acids, something that can help reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, cardiac arrest, and heart failure. All beans are good for you, including kidney, cannellini, pinto, black, and garbanzo. These mighty legumes also have the benefit of being fat-free and containing a lot of fiber.
That doesn't mean a healthy heart diet can't include pork, beef, or lamb, but these meats have more saturated fat than poultry and fish. Choosing leaner cuts, trimming fat, and keeping portions small make these foods an acceptable part of a healthy diet. Use our collection of high-protein, healthy dishes as inspiration for your next meal.
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Salmon Ceviche With Mango
Make this refreshing salmon ceviche for lunch or a summery dinner. It's a low-fat, heart-healthy meal that's sweet from the mango and spicy too thanks to the addition of jalapeños.
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Cannellini White Bean Soup with Swiss Chard
This vegan white bean soup has lots of fiber and protein thanks to the beans. Hearty Swiss chard and orzo give the soup even more body and make a satisfying meal.
03 of 19
Chilled Lobster With Mimosa Dressing
Lobster is a great high-protein food to eat when sticking to a heart-healthy diet or just want to enjoy a special meal. This simple chilled recipe uses frozen or fresh lobster tails and can be served as a starter or main course.
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Oven-Fried Chicken With Crispy Panko Coating
Sometimes one just needs fried chicken. With this recipe, the texture and flavor are there but not the excess fat and oil. It's a heart-healthy take on the classic dish, utilizing the oven to cook the chicken instead of the fryer.Continue to 5 of 19 below.
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The next time a burger craving hits, make one with bison instead of beef. Bison is still a red meat but it's much leaner than beef. It's best if eaten rare or medium-rare to prevent drying out.
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Southwest Black Bean and Corn Salad
One great thing about this easy-to-make Southwestern salad is it can be eaten solo as a vegan entrée or spruced up with a grilled chicken breast or baked fish fillet. Not that the salad needs extra protein—the black beans provide plenty as is.
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Jamaican Jerk Chicken
Citrus juices really bring out the flavor in this island staple, and the subtle spice of jalapeño pepper pairs wonderfully with warming notes from the cinnamon and cumin. No oil is used at all, which helps keep this jerk chicken dish heart-healthy while also being delicious.
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Grilled or Baked Salmon or Tuna Steaks
A simple marinade adds plenty of flavor to salmon or tuna fish, whether you're grilling or baking it. The mixture also serves as a flavorful basting sauce as the fish cooks.Continue to 9 of 19 below.
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While ostrich isn't a common protein, it's a tasty one that's dark, lean, and a good alternative to beef. Because the meat is leaner, it's important not to overcook it, and make sure to season it well.
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Chinese Ginger-Soy Steamed Fish
Steaming a hearty white fish like halibut or sea bass means the finished dish is heart-healthy but also substantial. This recipe was created by Chef Farina Kingsley who spices her fish with ginger, soy sauces, cilantro, garlic, and sesame oil to give the light dish a deep flavor.
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Tex Mex Chicken Drumsticks
Keep dinner simple, healthy, and tasty with this easy chicken drumstick recipe. It involves chicken, jarred salsa, fresh onion, and seasoning. The whole thing gets cooked in the juices of the salsa, so no extra fat is needed.
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Grilled Dungeness Crab
Get fresh Dungeness crab in season or purchase them frozen—either way, this recipe will showcase the sweet meat and give it a boost of bright lime and heat as well. The dish looks pretty too, especially when the crab is plated whole.Continue to 13 of 19 below.
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Moroccan Baked Fish Tagine
The fish in this tagine gets marinated in Moroccan chermoula, a special spice blend featuring garlic, cumin, ginger, cayenne, lemon juice, and saffron, and then baked for an hour. Use sea bass, red snapper, or orange roughy, since they hold up to the thick slices of potato, carrot, and peppers that get roasted along with the protein.
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Chicken and Red Bean Chili
Use chicken and red beans to give this one-pot dish a protein boost without extra saturated fat. Make it spicy by amping up the cayenne pepper or adding a splash of hot sauce to the bowl. Keep the chicken chili extra healthy by skipping the cheese and sour cream on top.
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Ground Turkey Burritos With Refried Beans
For a heart-healthy, on-the-go meal, these burritos prove perfect. A tortilla is filled with ground turkey and refried beans, so there's a lot of protein. Leave out the cheese if you like, they're still delish.
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Low-Calorie Meatloaf With Vegetables
What makes this meatloaf low calorie is also what makes it heart-healthy—it has lean ground beef in it as well as whole wheat breadcrumbs and chopped vegetables. This dish is a good way to enjoy beef in the meal rotation without breaking any diet rules.Continue to 17 of 19 below.
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Baked Whole Fish in Garlic-Chili Sauce
Use a whole red snapper, gray mullet, rainbow trout, or tilapia for this recipe, and enjoy the simplicity of preparation along with the combination of sweet, tangy, and spicy nuances. This whole fish is a high-protein meal that can feed a family of four and is full of heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids.
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Classic Chicken Vindaloo Curry
An advantage to eating spicy food is the heat will keep you from missing oils, cheeses, and other unnecessary fats. This vindaloo curry packs in plenty of chicken, ginger, garlic, and spices, which makes it taste great and while remaining healthy.
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Quick and Easy Canned Tuna Fish Tacos
Who says all heart-healthy food has to take lots of time and energy to make? This simple fish taco recipe utilizes already processed tuna straight from the can. Make a creamy sauce to go with the fish, onion, cilantro, and lime and enjoy a do-it-yourself taco bar.