The #1 Snack for Weight Loss When You Have High Blood Pressure, According to a Dietitian

This realistic snack makes it doable to lose weight while managing your blood pressure.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, almost half of adults (47%, or about 116 million people) in the United States struggle with high blood pressure (aka hypertension). While there are many conditions that can influence someone having high blood pressure, a recent 2020 review article published in Gland Surgery found that adults who have a greater body fat percentage (adiposity) account for 65% to 78% of those diagnosed with primary hypertension. Having high blood pressure also puts you at risk for heart disease and stroke, two of the leading causes of death in America today.

Given these statistics, it's important to be proactive with small, simple changes that may have a big impact on your blood pressure. Don't worry, you don't have to overhaul your eating regimen overnight, though. We'll show you how to incorporate budget-friendly, everyday foods that you love that also just so happen to be better-for-you choices. Start with this dietitian-favorite snack that will help not only with weight loss, but with your blood pressure as well!

The #1 Snack for Weight Loss When You Have High Blood Pressure

Pull up a chair: this basic Peanut Butter-Banana Cinnamon Toast is for novice cooks and classically trained chefs alike. The nutrients in this dynamic combo not only pair perfectly together, but also offer a big nutritional bang for your bite.

a recipe photo of the Peanut Butter Cinnamon Toast served on a plate
Christine Ma

Why It's So Great

I'm not kidding when I say that as a registered dietitian nutritionist and busy mom of two, I eat this combination daily not only for its convenience, but also for its powerful benefits.

Don't believe me? Then take it from Rahaf Al Bochi, RDN, LD, owner of Olive Tree Nutrition LLC and a media spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. She shares, "A combination of banana, peanut butter and whole-grain toast is a great snack because it provides protein, fiber-rich carbs and healthy fats, which helps keep your blood sugars stable, gives you energy and keeps you full."

Not to mention, this simple snack is a great source of several nutrients, and these are a few worth noting.

Good Source of Potassium

If you've heard of potassium, you've likely heard bananas mentioned in the same sentence. That's because bananas are one of the best-known sources of potassium, an important electrolyte essential for keeping your body's fluid levels in balance. Potassium is a dynamic duo with sodium. Potassium works intracellularly to manage fluids, while sodium works extracellularly to help manage your blood pressure as well as keeping your heart pumping smoothly. A medium banana provides around 9% of the Daily Value of potassium.

While it's not the highest food source of potassium (apricots and potatoes actually pack more per serving), it's an easy, convenient and affordable choice most people can find at their local grocer.

Packed with Protein

Affordable, delicious and nutritious, a 2-tablespoon serving of peanut butter provides around 7 grams of protein, 12 grams of unsaturated fat and 2 grams of filling fiber. This trio of nutrients found in peanuts (and other nuts) has been shown to potentially help support weight-loss efforts, according to a 2019 study published in the British Medical Journal. Plus, this combination has the satiation factor, meaning you're left feeling full and satisfied after eating, and are less likely to mindlessly munch.

Be mindful of the type of peanut butter you're choosing. While natural peanut butter is very low in added sugar and sodium, we know there are a variety of options on the market these days that do not have the same nutrition profile. Al Bochi recommends choosing a peanut butter that is "natural" and doesn't contain any added sugars.

Includes Whole Grains

There's a reason why the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends making at least half your grains whole: they're packed with good nutrition! Unlike their enriched or refined counterparts, whole grains contain the bran, germ and endosperm of wheat. This composition of whole grains—including whole-grain breads—provides fiber, B vitamins, antioxidants, protein, healthy fats, iron and folate, which may benefit weight loss and heart health. A 2019 study published in the Journal of Nutrition found that simply adding more fiber into the diet was the best predictor of weight loss over the six-month study. And, that's not all: A recent 2021 study published in the Journal of Nutrition also found that replacing refined grains with whole grains led to a decline in body fat percentage and improvements in cholesterol and blood sugar levels, thus decreasing risk for cardiometabolic diseases.

But, buyer beware: you need to be cognizant of the type of bread you're purchasing, because they aren't all created equally. Al Bochi shares, "Sometimes there can be hidden [added] sugars and salt in bread products, so choose products that contain 5% or less of Daily Value for sodium and sugar." Also, try to choose breads that offer at least 2 grams of dietary fiber and 4 or more grams of protein per slice.

Tips for Eating for a Healthy Blood Pressure

Consider the DASH Diet

Al Bochi recommends that people with high blood pressure consider the DASH Diet: "The DASH diet, which stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, has been shown to be effective in managing blood pressure. This eating pattern focuses on including plenty of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, dairy, beans, nuts, poultry and fish, while limiting sodium intake to under 2,300 milligrams per day."

Instead of thinking about what you can't eat, focus on what you can and try to add more of those foods to your daily meals and snacks. The nutrient combination in this snack can certainly fit into this eating pattern, especially when you choose a lower-sodium bread and peanut butter.

Cook at Home

Let's face it, we know you're busy and the convenience of picking up takeout or having a prepackaged meal can be lifesaving. However, it's important to be mindful of how frequently you're doing this, because fast foods and frozen meals often pack more sodium than you need (or want) in one meal. Al Bochi recommends cooking more foods at home to help cut back on your sodium intake. But, this doesn't have to mean you're cooking 21 meals at home every week!

Instead, try to meal prep ahead of time and batch-cook a few proteins, complex carbohydrates and vegetables so you're ready to toss a simple meal together when time is tight. A scrambled egg omelet with roasted veggies can pair perfectly with the Peanut Butter-Banana Cinnamon Toast for a simple meal that comes together in no time flat.

Checkout these meal prep recipes you may enjoy that can help support weight loss.

The Bottom Line

Losing weight while managing high blood pressure does not mean you have to live on a plain or lackluster diet. Embrace an additive mindset, focusing on the simple, easy-to-prepare meals and snacks you can enjoy, like this Peanut Butter-Banana Cinnamon Toast. We promise, it will satisfy, satiate and help benefit your health!

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