Heart Healthy Valentine's Day Ideas

Valentine's Day in February is a time when we celebrate love and friendship.  Traditionally, this occasion is filled with "sometimes" foods such as candies and chocolates.  This Valentine's Day, be good to your heart by filling your celebration with heart-healthy foods that taste great and are fun to eat!  Here are some ideas for heart-healthy Valentine's Day treats:

Love Sandwiches:  Cut heart shaped pieces of whole wheat bread.  Fill with your favorite sandwich filling like red pepper hummus and red tomato, or a slice of low-fat cheddar cheese and red apple, or red raspberry jam and your favorite nut butter.

Be Mine Beet Salad:  Wash, peel, and grate one large fresh beet.  Wash, peel, and dice one large apple and add to the beets.  Combine 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar with 2 teaspoons honey and pour over apples and beets.  Stir and enjoy.

Sweet On You Smoothie:  Combine in a blender 1 cup of frozen strawberries, 1 cup of frozen raspberries, and 1 banana.  Add 1 cup low-fat yogurt and 1/2 cup of low-fat milk and blend until smooth.  Add more milk if needed.

Yogurt-dipped Strawberries:  Dip freshly washed strawberries in a strawberry or vanilla yogurt.  Roll them in your favorite granola, chopped nuts, or shredded coconut.

Red foods sampler:  Serve a variety of red foods with red pepper hummus, a flavored low-fat yogurt, or your favorite dip.  Ideas include fresh or roasted red peppers, grape tomatoes, strawberries, beets, blood orange slices, pomegranate seeds, dried cranberries, red pears, radishes, sweet cherries, and watermelon.

For more Valentine's Day ideas that don't include sweets, try trading small recipe cards instead of traditional paper valentines, or give a fun heart-themed sticker instead of candy, or share some seeds for planting a friendship garden in the spring.

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