7-Day Congestive Heart Failure Diet Meal Plan (PDF + Menu)

Congestive heart failure (CHF) occurs when extra fluids build up within the heart and it does not pump efficiently enough. This leads to not enough oxygen being delivered to the body.

There are many types of congestive heart failure, but the two most popular types are systolic and diastolic heart failures.

No matter what type of heart failure you have, the dietary recommendations that will be recommended by a doctor will be similar. This will generally involve a combination of reducing sodium and fluid intake and following a generally healthy diet.

This article will cover everything you need to know about following a congestive heart failure diet and offer a sample 7 day plan to follow.

You can jump straight into the 7 day pdf of the plan here.

View 7 Day Congestive Heart Failure Diet Plan PDF

Tips for Following a Diet for Congestive Heart Failure

Reduce Sodium Intake

Your body keeps hold of extra water when extra sodium is consumed so the extra water doesn’t get removed through urination. For most people, this just results in bloat. However, for people with CHF, this extra fluid retention is more serious.

It is generally recommended that a person consumes less than 2000 mg sodium per day, or 1 teaspoon of salt.  

This can be a tough measure to follow but there are some easy steps you can take to keep your sodium intake to a minimum.

  1. Read labels carefully – A good rule of thumb is 350mg of sodium or less per meal. Make sure you check the numbers on labels because even low sodium or similarly labelled food may still be relatively high in sodium.
  2. Avoid prepackaged foods – these are typically high in sodium to give lengthen shelf life and add flavor. It can be done if you check the labels carefully, but it’s usually better to cook from scratch so you know what’s going into your meals.
  3. Look out for hidden sodium sources many foods you wouldn’t suspect of being high in sodium actually are. Various condiments like soy sauce and mustard can be high in sodium, plus salad dressings and soups.
  4. Season without salt – different herbs and spices can add tasty flavors to your food without needing to use salt. Some popular herbs and spices include paprika, parsley, ginger, cinnamon, cumin, thyme and dill. There are plenty to choose from.
  5. Remove the salt shaker – if you have the salt shaker on the dinner table, it can be second nature to simply reach for it and add it to your meals. Salt is 40% sodium, so even adding a little can quickly use up your sodium allowance. 

Reduce Fluid Intake

A doctor may also recommend that you reduce your fluid intake if you’ve suffered CHF so that the extra fluids don’t build up within the heart. The specific recommendations can vary among individuals but 2,000 millimetres (mL) is typically recommended. 

Some tips to reduce your fluid intake include:

  1. Keep a record of your fluid intake – a daily log of all your fluid consumption can help determine how closely you’re sticking to your doctor’s recommendations.
  2. Eat water-heavy snacks – foods high in water like watermelons and apples can help you quench your thirst without needing to take big drinks.
  3. Have set times for your fluid consumption – for example, budget a certain allowance every set number of hours. This can help especially if you drinking lots of coffee or tea early in the day and end up with a much smaller fluid allowance for the rest of the day.
  4. Account for all fluid intake – if it’s fluid at room temperature, then it will need to be accounted for. This will include meals like soups.

Foods to Eat on a Congestive Heart Failure Plan

These are the sorts of foods that make up a heart-healthy eating diet plan. Overall, you’ll want the bulk of foods eaten to be whole and unprocessed that are full of nutrients.

The foods below are some which you should try and include lots of within your diet. Eating a balance of all these foods will ensure you eat meet all your nutritional requirements.

  • Fruits. E.g apples, pears, oranges. Berries also contain lots of antioxidants
  • Vegetables. All kinds of vegetables are great, but particularly cruciferous vegetables (e.g broccoli, cauliflower)
  • Whole grains. E.g brown bread, quinoa, bulgur wheat. These are rich in fiber.
  • Fatty fish. E.g salmon, mackerel, tuna, herring. These foods contain the most omega-3 fatty acids, an important nutrient in reducing inflammatory diseases.
  • Beans. E.g haricot, black, red.
  • Legumes. E.g chickpeas, lentils, peas. Both legumes and beans are great sources of plant-based protein.
  • Nuts and seeds. E.g almonds, walnuts, pistachios. Flaxseeds and chia seeds are also a great plant-based source of omega-3 fatty acids
  • Low-fat dairy. E.g milk, eggs, yogurt. Be sure to check the labels for extra added sugar. 
  • Olive oil. Choose extra-virgin varieties, which aren’t diluted with cheaper oils.
  • Lean protein. E.g fish, chicken, turkey. These contain less saturated fats than in red meats like beef and pork.

Foods to Limit

These are foods you should generally avoid when trying to manage type 1 or type 2 diabetes or if you’re prediabetic.

By all means, treat yourself occasionally – but don’t make a habit of eating these foods regularly:

  • Junk foods: fast food and potato chips
  • Refined carbohydrates: white bread, pasta, crackers, flour tortillas, biscuits
  • Fried foods: french fries, donuts, fried meats
  • Sugar-sweetened beverages: soda, tea with added sugar, sports drinks
  • Processed meats: bacon, canned meat, salami, sausages
  • Trans fats: vegetable oil and margarine

What’s the Best Diet for Congestive Heart Failure?

The Mediterranean diet is considered one of the best diets to follow for heart health. It was ranked the number 1 diet according to the U.S. News & World Report.

In particular, it is rated amongst the best because of how healthy it is as well as how easy it is to follow. This makes it a perfect diet to follow if you want to find a sustainable way of eating healthy long-term.

Many credible organisations suggest following a Mediterranean diet for health reasons. These include:

Many studies back the use of a Mediterranean diet to help improve a number of health issues like heart disease. Some of the studies are linked below:

  • Lower risk of cardiovascular events, coronary heart disease,  (1, 2)
  • Lower risk of coronary heart disease (3, 4)
  • Lower risk of obesity (5)

Congestive Heart Failure Meal Plan

Congestive Heart Failure Diet Sample Menu

In the meal plan are recipes for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

 BreakfastLunchDinner
MondayBanana Yogurt PotsCannellini Bean SaladQuick Moussaka
TuesdayTomato and Watermelon SaladEdgy Veggie WrapsSpicy Tomato Baked Eggs
WednesdayBlueberry Oats BowlCarrot, Orange and Avocado SaladSalmon with Potatoes and Corn Salad
ThursdayBanana Yogurt PotsMixed Bean SaladSpiced Carrot and Lentil Soup
FridayTomato and Watermelon SaladPanzanella SaladMed Chicken, Quinoa and Greek Salad
SaturdayBlueberry Oats BowlQuinoa and Stir Fried VegGrilled Vegetables with Bean Mash
SundayBanana Yogurt PotsMoroccan Chickpea SoupSpicy Mediterranean Beet Salad

Snacks are recommended between meal times. Some good snacks include:

  • A handful of nuts or seeds
  • A piece of fruit
  • Carrots or baby carrots
  • Berries or grapes

View 7 Day Congestive Heart Failure Diet Plan PDF

Day 1: Monday

Breakfast: Banana Yogurt Pots

Nutrition

  • Calories – 236
  • Protein – 14g
  • Carbs – 32g
  • Fat – 7g

Prep time: 5 minutes

Ingredients (for 2 people)

  • 225g /⅞ cup Greek yogurt
  • 2 bananas, sliced into chunks
  • 15g / 2 tbsp walnuts, toasted and chopped

Instructions

  1. Place some of the yogurt into the bottom of a glass. Add a layer of banana, then yogurt and repeat. Once the glass is full, scatter with the nuts.

Lunch: Cannellini Bean Salad

Nutrition

  • Calories – 302
  • Protein – 20g
  • Carbs – 54g
  • Fat – 0g

Prep time: 5 minutes

Ingredients (for 2 people)

  • 600g / 3 cups cannellini beans
  • 70g / ⅜ cups cherry tomatoes, halved
  • ½ red onion, thinly sliced
  • ½ tbsp red wine vinegar
  • small bunch basil, torn

Instructions

  1. Rinse and drain the beans and mix with the tomatoes, onion and vinegar. Season, then add basil just before serving.

Dinner: Moussaka

Nutrition

  • Calories – 577
  • Protein – 27g
  • Carbs – 46g
  • Fat – 27g

Prep time + cook time: 30 minutes

Ingredients (for 2 people)

  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ onion, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 250g / 9 oz lean beef mince
  • 200g can / 1 cup chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp tomato purée
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 200g can / 1 cup chickpeas
  • 100g pack / ⅔ cup feta cheese, crumbled
  • Mint (fresh preferable)
  • Brown bread, to serve

Instructions

  1. Heat the oil in a pan. Add the onion and garlic and fry until soft. Add the mince and fry for 3-4 minutes until browned.
  2. Tip the tomatoes into the pan and stir in the tomato purée and cinnamon, then season. Leave the mince to simmer for 20 minutes. Add the chickpeas halfway through.
  3.  Sprinkle the feta and mint over the mince. Serve with toasted bread.

View 7 Day Congestive Heart Failure Diet Plan PDF

Day 2: Tuesday

Breakfast: Tomato and Watermelon Salad

Nutrition

  • Calories – 177
  • Protein – 5g
  • Carbs – 13g
  • Fat – 13g

Prep time + cook time: 5 minutes

Ingredients (for 2 people)

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • ¼ tsp chilli flakes
  • 1 tbsp chopped mint
  • 120g / ⅝ cups tomatoes, chopped
  • ½ watermelon, cut into chunks
  • 50g / ⅔ cup feta cheese, crumbled

Instructions

  1. For the dressing, Mix the oil, vinegar, chilli flakes and mint and then season.
  2. Put the tomatoes and watermelon into a bowl. Pour over the dressing, add the feta, then serve.

Lunch: Edgy Veggie Wraps

Nutrition

  • Calories – 310
  • Protein – 11g
  • Carbs – 39g
  • Fat – 11g

Prep time + cook time: 10 minutes

Ingredients (for 2 people)

  • 100g / ½ cups cherry tomatoes
  • 1 cucumber
  • 6 Kalamata olives
  • 2 large wholemeal tortilla wraps
  • 50g / ¼ cups feta cheese
  • 2 tbsp hummus

Instructions

  1. Chop the tomatoes, cut the cucumber into sticks, split the olives and remove the stones.
  2. Heat the tortillas.
  3. Spread the houmous over the wrap. Put the vegetable mix in the middle and roll up.

Dinner: Spicy Tomato Baked Eggs

Nutrition

  • Calories – 417
  • Protein – 19g
  • Carbs – 45g
  • Fat – 17g

Prep time + cook time: 25 minutes

Ingredients (for 2 people)

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 red onions, chopped
  • 1 red chilli, deseeded & chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, sliced
  • small bunch coriander, stalks and leaves chopped separately
  • 800g can / 4 cups cherry tomatoes
  • 4 eggs
  • brown bread, to serve

Instructions

  1. Heat the oil in a frying pan with a lid, then cook the onions, chilli, garlic and coriander stalks for 5 minutes until soft. Stir in the tomatoes, then simmer for 8-10 minutes.
  2. Using the back of a large spoon, make 4 dips in the sauce, then crack an egg into each one. Put a lid on the pan, then cook over a low heat for 6-8 mins, until the eggs are done to your liking. Scatter with the coriander leaves and serve with bread.

View 7 Day Congestive Heart Failure Diet Plan PDF

Day 3: Wednesday

Breakfast: Blueberry Oats Bowl

Nutrition

  • Calories – 235
  • Protein – 13g
  • Carbs – 38g
  • Fat – 4g

Prep time + cook time: 10 minutes

Ingredients (for 2 people)

  • 60g porridge oats
  • 160g Greek yogurt
  • 175g blueberries
  • 1 tsp honey

Instructions

  1. Put the oats in a pan with 400ml of water. Heat and stir for about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and add a third of the yogurt.
  2. Tip the blueberries into a pan with the honey and 1 tbsp of water. Gently poach until the blueberries are tender.
  3. Spoon the porridge into bowls and add the remaining yogurt and blueberries.

Lunch: Carrot, Orange and Avocado Salad

Nutrition

  • Calories – 177
  • Protein – 5g
  • Carbs – 13g
  • Fat – 13g

Prep time + cook time: 5 minutes

Ingredients (for 2 people)

  • 1 orange, plus zest and juice of 1
  • 2 carrots, halved lengthways and sliced with a peeler
  • 35g / 1 ½ cups rocket / arugula
  • 1 avocado, stoned, peeled and sliced
  • 1 tbsp olive oil

Instructions

  1. Cut the segments from 1 of the oranges and put in a bowl with the carrots, rocket/arugula and avocado. Whisk together the orange juice, zest and oil. Toss through the salad, and season.

Dinner: Salmon with Potatoes and Corn Salad

Nutrition

  • Calories – 479
  • Protein – 43g
  • Carbs – 27g
  • Fat – 21g

Prep time + cook time: 30 minutes

Ingredients (for 2 people)

  • 200g / 1 ⅓ cups baby new potatoes
  • 1 sweetcorn cob
  • 2 skinless salmon fillets
  • 60g / ⅓ cups tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • Bunch of spring onions/scallions, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp capers, finely chopped
  • handful basil leaves

Instructions

  1. Cook potatoes in boiling water until tender, adding corn for final 5 minutes. Drain & cool.
  2. For the dressing, mix the vinegar, oil, shallot, capers, basil & seasoning.
  3. Heat grill to high. Rub some dressing on salmon & cook, skinned side down, for 7-8 minutes. Slice tomatoes & place on a plate. Slice the potatoes, cut the corn from the cob & add to plate. Add the salmon & drizzle over the remaining dressing.

View 7 Day Congestive Heart Failure Diet Plan PDF

Day 4: Thursday

Breakfast: Banana Yogurt Pots

Lunch: Mixed Bean Salad

Nutrition

  • Calories – 240
  • Protein – 11g
  • Carbs – 22g
  • Fat – 12g

Prep time + cook time: 10 minutes

Ingredients (for 2 people)

  • 145g / ⅘ cups jar artichoke heart in oil
  • ½ tbsp sundried tomato paste
  • ½ tsp red wine vinegar
  • 200g can / 1 cup cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 150g / ¾ cups tomatoes, quartered
  • handful Kalamata black olives
  • 2 spring onions, thinly sliced on the diagonal
  • 100g / ⅔ cups feta cheese, crumbled

Instructions

  1. Drain the jar of artichokes, reserving 1-2 tbsp of oil. Add the oil, sun-dried tomato paste and vinegar and stir until smooth. Season to taste.
  2. Chop the artichokes and tip into a bowl. Add the cannellini beans, tomatoes, olives, spring onions and half of the feta cheese. Stir in the artichoke oil mixture and tip into a serving bowl. Crumble over the remaining feta cheese, then serve.

Dinner: Spiced Carrot and Lentil Soup

Nutrition

  • Calories – 238
  • Protein – 11g
  • Carbs – 34g
  • Fat – 7g

Prep time + cook time: 25 minutes

Ingredients (for 2 people)

  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • pinch chilli flakes
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 300g /2 cups carrots, washed and coarsely grated
  • 70g / ⅓ cup split red lentils
  • 500ml / 2 ¼ cups hot vegetable stock
  • 60ml / ¼ cup milk
  • Greek yogurt, to serve

Instructions

  1. Heat a large saucepan and dry fry the cumin seeds and chilli flakes for 1 minute. Scoop out about half of the seeds with a spoon and set aside. Add the oil, carrot, lentils, stock and milk to the pan and bring to the boil. Simmer for 15 minutes until the lentils have swollen and softened.
  2. Whizz the soup with a stick blender or in a food processor until smooth. Season to taste and finish with a dollop of Greek yogurt and a sprinkling of the reserved toasted spices.

View 7 Day Congestive Heart Failure Diet Plan PDF

Day 5: Friday

Breakfast: Tomato and Watermelon Salad

Lunch: Panzanella Salad

Nutrition

  • Calories – 452
  • Protein – 6g
  • Carbs – 37g
  • Fat – 25g

Prep time + cook time: 10 minutes

Ingredients (for 2 people)

  • 400g / 2 cups tomatoes
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1 tbsp capers, drained and rinsed
  • 1 ripe avocado, stoned, peeled and chopped
  • 1 small red onion, very thinly sliced
  • 2 slices of brown bread
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • small handful basil leaves

Instructions

  1. Chop the tomatoes and put them in a bowl. Season well and add the garlic, capers, avocado and onion. Mix well and set aside for 10 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, tear the bread into chunks and place in a bowl. Drizzle over half of the olive oil and half of the vinegar. When ready to serve, scatter tomatoes and basil leaves and drizzle with remaining oil and vinegar. Stir before serving.

Dinner: Med Chicken, Quinoa and Greek Salad

Nutrition

  • Calories – 473
  • Protein – 36g
  • Carbs – 57g
  • Fat – 25g

Prep time + cook time: 20 minutes

Ingredients (for 2 people)

  • 100g / ⅗ cup quinoa
  • ½ red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 150g / ¾ cup tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • handful pitted black kalamata olives
  • ½ red onion, finely sliced
  • 50g / ½ cup feta cheese, crumbled
  • small bunch mint leaves, chopped
  • juice and zest ½ lemon

Instructions

  1. Cook the quinoa following the pack instructions, then rinse in cold water and drain thoroughly.
  2. Meanwhile, toss the chicken fillets in the olive oil with some seasoning, chilli and garlic. Lay in a hot pan and cook for 3-4 minutes each side or until cooked through. Transfer to a plate and set aside
  3. Next, tip the tomatoes, olives, onion, feta and mint into a bowl. Toss in the cooked quinoa. Stir through the remaining olive oil, lemon juice and zest, and season well. Serve with the chicken on top.

View 7 Day Congestive Heart Failure Diet Plan PDF

Day 6: Saturday

Breakfast: Blueberry Oats Bowl

Lunch: Quinoa and Stir Fried Veg

Nutrition

  • Calories – 473
  • Protein – 11g
  • Carbs – 56g
  • Fat – 25g

Prep time + cook time: 30 minutes

Ingredients (for 2 people)

  • 100g / ⅗ cup quinoa
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 2 carrots, cut into thin sticks
  • 150g / 1 ⅔ leek, sliced
  • 1 broccoli head, cut into small florets
  • 50g / ¼ cup tomatoes
  • 100ml / ¼ cup vegetable stock
  • 1 tsp tomato purée
  • juice ½ lemon

Instructions

  1. Cook the quinoa according to pack instructions. Meanwhile, heat 3 tbsp of the oil in a pan, then add the garlic and quickly fry for 1 minute. Throw in the carrots, leeks and broccoli, then stir-fry for 2 minutes until everything is glistening.
  2. Add the tomatoes, mix together the stock and tomato purée, then add to the pan. Cover and cook for 3 minutes. Drain the quinoa and toss in the remaining oil and lemon juice. Divide between warm plates and spoon the vegetables on top.

Dinner: Grilled Vegetables with Bean Mash

Nutrition

  • Calories – 314
  • Protein – 19g
  • Carbs – 33g
  • Fat – 16g

Prep time + cook time: 40 minutes

Ingredients (for 2 people)

  • 1 pepper, deseeded & quartered
  • 1 aubergine, sliced lengthways
  • 2 courgettes, sliced lengthways
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • For the mash
  • 400g / 2 cups haricot beans, rinsed
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 100ml / ½ cup vegetable stock
  • 1 tbsp chopped coriander

Instructions

  1. Heat the grill. Arrange the vegetables over a grill pan &brush lightly with oil. Grill until lightly browned, turn them over, brush again with oil, then grill until tender.
  2. Meanwhile, put the beans in a pan with garlic and stock. Bring to the boil, then simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes. Mash roughly with a potato masher. Divide the vegetables and mash between 2 plates, drizzle over oil and sprinkle with black pepper and coriander.

View 7 Day Congestive Heart Failure Diet Plan PDF

Day 7: Sunday

Breakfast: Banana Yogurt Pots

Lunch: Moroccan Chickpea Soup

Nutrition

  • Calories – 408
  • Protein – 15g
  • Carbs – 63g
  • Fat – 11g

Prep time + cook time: 25 minutes

Ingredients (for 2 people)

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • ½ medium onion, chopped
  • 1 celery sticks, chopped
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 300ml / 1 ¼ cups hot vegetable stock
  • 200g can / 1 cup chopped tomatoes
  • 200g can / 1 cup chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 50g / ¼ cup frozen broad beans
  • zest and juice ½ lemon
  • coriander & bread to serve

Instructions

  1. Heat the oil in a saucepan, then fry the onion and celery for 10 minutes until softened. Add the cumin and fry for another minute.
  2. Turn up the heat, then add the stock, tomatoes, chickpeas and black pepper. Simmer for 8 minutes. Add broad beans and lemon juice and cook for a further 2 minutes. Top with lemon zest and coriander.

Dinner: Spicy Mediterranean Beet Salad

Nutrition

  • Calories – 548
  • Protein – 23g
  • Carbs – 58g
  • Fat – 20g

Prep time + cook time: 40 minutes

Ingredients (for 2 people)

  • 8 raw baby beetroots, or 4 medium, scrubbed
  • ½ tbsp sumac
  • ½ tbsp ground cumin
  • 400g can /2 cups chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • ½ tsp lemon zest
  • ½ tsp lemon juice
  • 200g / ½ cup Greek yogurt
  • 1 tbsp harissa paste
  • 1 tsp crushed red chilli flakes
  • mint leaves, chopped, to serve

Instructions

  1. Heat oven to 220C/200C fan/ gas 7. Halve or quarter beetroots depending on size. Mix spices together. On a large baking tray, mix chickpeas and beetroot with the oil. Season with salt & sprinkle over the spices. Mix again. Roast for 30 minutes.
  2. While the vegetables are cooking, mix the lemon zest and juice with the yogurt. Swirl the harissa through and spread into a bowl. Top with the beetroot & chickpeas, and sprinkle with the chilli flakes & mint.

View 7 Day Congestive Heart Failure Diet Plan PDF

Congestive Heart Failure Diet Shopping List

This shopping list corresponds to the 7 day plan, serving 2 people. No snacks are included.

View 7 Day Congestive Heart Failure Diet Plan PDF

Life after the meal plan

Find more recipes on our site

Your journey doesn’t end after 7 days of Mediterranean recipes for congestive heart failure. It’s about finding recipes that can become staples in your household and creating eating habits that actually last.

We’ve got plenty of recipes online already. Just use the search function on our home page if you’re looking for a specific ingredient or check out our recipe page.

Start a 28 Day Mediterranean Diet Plan for Congestive Heart Failure

We’ve created a 4-week Mediterranean diet meal plan that follows the same format as this 7-day meal plan pdf. In it contains four weeks of meal plans, recipes, shopping lists and prep guides – all available in digital format.

Click here to grab your copy of the 28 day Mediterranean diet plan!

Disclosure

We would like to take a moment to note that this post is for information purposes only. It does not claim to provide medical advice or to be able to treat any medical condition. It makes no claims in respect to weight loss, either in terms of the amount or rate at which weight loss could be achieved. If you have any concerns regarding your health please contact your medical practitioner before making changes.

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