salmon fish fillets on grill

No. 3: Fish

Going without red meat is the No. 1 thing you can do to stay on top of your heart health. But going without a good steak can get awfully boring, and turkey just doesn't cut it sometimes.

So if you're looking for a big hearty meal, try a good size piece of salmon and some roast veggies. You'll get that big meat feeling, and plenty of taste, but instead of gristly beef fat, you're getting healthy omega-3 fatty acids.

While replacing all your meat with salmon might get expensive, other fish are also packed with those healthy fats. Trout and herring are great places to find those good fatty acids.

But the best thing about fish is you can cook it almost any way and it's still healthy. Searing a good cut of salmon and finishing it in the oven retains moisture and makes for big flavor. Grilling it infuses your fish with the smoky taste of the grill. Smoked salmon can be dropped in just about anything from breakfast eggs to game-time snacks. Just don't deep fry it and keep the sides light.

spinach vegetable leaves

No. 2: Spinach

Popeye certainly had some problems: freakishly large forearms, a constant squint and a severe addiction to tobacco. But with all that spinach, Popeye's heart was probably like a dream.

New studies confirm spinach's healthy compounds every few months, and though the mechanism isn't completely understood, doctors say everyone should be eating the leafy green vegetable. Raw spinach in a salad or cooked in just about anything has been shown to reduce heart disease by up to 40 percent.

Drop a pile of spinach on that turkey burger, or sauté it with some garlic for a great side for fish. Adding spinach into soup or on top of a light pizza can be an alternative for those who aren't a fan of leafy greens.

No matter how you get it, spinach is one of the most palatable and readily available sources of antioxidants and potassium.

bowl of oatmeal

No. 1: Oatmeal

It's possible the quote, "Oh boy, oatmeal!" has never been uttered, but anyone looking to eat with their heart in mind should try to say it.

Sure, oatmeal gets a bad wrap; you could be eating it on a speed boat and still be bored. But with a little spice, some crunch and taste of sweetness, that oatmeal will be at the top of your heart-healthy breakfast menu.

Like other heart-healthy foods, oatmeal lowers bad LDL cholesterol and is filled with cholesterol-absorbing fiber.

The best thing about oatmeal is that you can add just about anything, and it's still a good hot breakfast. Cinnamon and raisins are a popular way to kick up the taste. But almonds, walnuts and even soy nuts can really bring some texture.

It might sound simple, but a simple bowl of oatmeal with some honey and a piece of toast can be a great staple breakfast -- and one that won't clog arteries like bacon and eggs.