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

The right midday meal can help you manage your weight and support healthy blood pressure while still delivering taste and satisfaction.

Deciding what to eat for lunch can be tricky if you're trying to manage your blood pressure and lose weight, especially if you also want a meal that tastes good. While it may be easy to swing by the drive-thru for a burger, grab a footlong sub or even skip lunch altogether, these options aren't the best to support your heart health.

If you want to tackle those pesky tummy grumbles during your midday meal and eat food that may help lower your blood pressure and support your weight-loss efforts, some options check all of your boxes. In this article, you'll learn what to look for when creating a blood pressure- and weight-loss-friendly meal and which lunch dish is the best option.

a recipe photo of the Cranberry Walnut Chickpea Salad served in a bowl
Photographer: Rachel Marek, Food stylist: Lauren McAnelly

Choosing a Weight-Loss-Friendly Lunch for High Blood Pressure

To enjoy a meal that supports weight loss and healthy blood pressure, the best advice is to find a dish that falls within the DASH diet guidelines. When followed correctly, the DASH diet (short for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) is linked to reductions in blood pressure and weight loss.

To follow the DASH diet, the following foods are encouraged:

  • Foods that are rich in potassium, calcium, magnesium and fiber
  • Foods that are low in saturated fat and sodium
  • Whole grains
  • Vegetables
  • Fruit
  • Fat-free or low-fat dairy
  • Nuts
  • Seeds
  • Legumes

DASH recommends limiting the following:

  • Added sugars
  • Fried foods
  • Ultra-processed foods
  • High-fat meats and full-fat dairy

Being mindful of these principles can help you determine whether a lunch option is a "good-for-you" choice or one that should be passed up when you aim to reduce your blood pressure and manage your weight.

The No. 1 Lunch for Weight Loss When You Have High Blood Pressure

Many lunches can be a great choice if you're trying to lose weight and have high blood pressure. As long as your meal makeup falls within the DASH diet guidelines, you can feel confident you've made a heart-healthy choice.

If you're looking for one of the best lunchtime options for weight loss and blood pressure management, try swapping out your classic chicken salad for this Cranberry-Walnut Chickpea Salad. Packed with nutrients that support both goals, this recipe is as versatile as it is delicious.

This dish is made with low-fat yogurt, walnuts, chickpeas and veggies. You have to pop open a can of chickpeas and chop up some onion and celery, but it's ready in under 10 minutes—perfect for when you're limited on time midday. Since the major ingredient is chickpeas, this is also a budget-friendly meal. It can be served in a variety of ways, such as between two pieces of whole-grain bread, on a bed of leafy greens, in a wrap or to top multigrain, almond flour or rice crackers.

Why It's So Great

No matter how you enjoy this chickpea salad, there are many reasons why a Cranberry-Walnut Chickpea Salad is one of the best lunches to support weight loss and healthy blood pressure.

Packed With Minerals

The DASH diet encourages the consumption of the minerals magnesium, calcium and potassium, all of which help control blood pressure. Chickpeas check this important box.

Helps Manage Blood Sugar

Chickpeas are also a natural source of fiber, plant-based protein and other key nutrients like folate. Research shows that the consumption of chickpeas is beneficial for blood sugar control and may help in weight management by suppressing appetite and energy intake, according to 2020 research in the journal Nutrients.

Provides Plant-Based Protein Source

Walnuts are certified by the American Heart Association as a Heart-Check food for a 1-ounce serving. These nuts also contain protein, a nutrient that's been shown to support weight loss, according to 2020 research in the Journal of Obesity & Metabolic Syndrome. According to the USDA, walnuts are a source of plant-based protein, providing more than 4 grams of protein per ounce, along with omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, antioxidants and micronutrients.

In addition, walnuts may offer unique benefits. One study published in Hypertension in 2019 showed that walnut consumption reduced systolic blood pressure among an elderly population, particularly in those with mild hypertension.

Contains Probiotics for a Healthy Gut

What brings the chickpea salad together is a creamy dressing made with yogurt. Yogurt is a source of calcium and live cultures that may support healthy and diverse gut microbiota. Data shows that consuming fermented dairy foods, like yogurt, is linked to a healthy weight and blood pressure, per a 2021 review in Nutrition Reviews. Data published that same year in mSystems, the journal of the American Society for Microbiology, showed that balanced gut microbiota may play a role in your ability to lose weight.

May Promote Blood Vessel Health

When trying to manage blood pressure, eating foods that encourage blood vessels to dilate may help blood flow more freely, ultimately resulting in lower blood pressure, according to StatPearls in 2022. Eating cranberries, like in this salad, has also been shown to improve the function of your blood vessel lining to help control blood pressure, finds a study in Food & Function in 2022.

Other Tips to Lose Weight and Manage Your Blood Pressure

Eating Cranberry-Walnut Chickpea Salad will provide the right balance of nutrients to support weight loss and blood pressure-supporting goals. Along with including lunches like these, there are other things you can do to lead a heart-healthy lifestyle, such as:

  • Include daily physical activity
  • Prioritize quality sleep
  • Manage stress
  • Use fresh herbs and spices to flavor your food instead of relying on added salt

The Bottom Line

Lunchtime provides an excellent opportunity to include weight-loss and healthy blood pressure-supporting nutrients in your diet. A simple salad made with nutrient-dense walnuts, chickpeas, cranberries and yogurt can be the perfect heart-healthy midday meal to fuel your body.

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