Seeing that February is American Heart month, why not focus on tr(eating) your heart and health right this Valentine’s Day? Chocolate and candy are basically synonymous with February 14th and whether you’re single or not it’s easy to be swept up in the overwhelming array of bright pink and red colors and find yourself in a candy coma.
Chocolate is the favorite indulgent this holiday, but many of the heart-shaped sweets are full of Trans fat and additives. Dark and Milk chocolate are mostly distinguished by the amount of sugar, milk and cream they contain, making one a better choice than the other. Dark chocolate offers a few health benefits that can be easily taken advantage of this Valentine’s Day. Look for chocolate with at least 60% cacao which will provide some soluble fiber, minerals and healthy chemicals. These healthy chemicals, like flavonoids and Gallic acid, are full of antioxidants (and have up to three times the amount of antioxidants found in berries and green tea) which helps your body keep its cells healthy. In addition, when eaten in moderation, dark chocolate may help lower blood pressure, improve brain function and ultimately make you happy. You can also have just as much fun with dark chocolate, try melting it down and hand dip fruits, nuts and pretzel rods. Top them off with red and pink sprinkles and you have a health and heart conscious Valentine’s Day treat. All other types of candy will be on display this holiday too, many of which are also packed with sugar, Trans fat and additives. Some better choices are the tiny conversation hearts, mini lollipops and heart gummies. While all of these candies have a significant amount of sugar, sticking to one serving size won’t have you overloaded.
Food in general is typically a big thing on Valentine’s Day- decadent breakfasts and homemade treats in addition to the chocolate and candy can have you stuffed to the max. Personally I would rather eat the chocolate and candy instead of baked goods. So to really savor the sweetness of dessert, you and/or your family can use these recipes to make healthy meals and snacks throughout the day while still engaging in the whimsical Valentine theme.
Heart-shaped Eggs in a Basket
Healthy Red Velvet Pancakes
Red Berry Smoothie
Whole Wheat Chocolate Waffles with Strawberries
Whole Pizza Hearts
Strawberry Heart Salad
Cupid Tomatoes and Cheese
Valentine Trail Mix
Celebrate and share love and health this Valentine’s Day with your family, friends and other loved ones!