Express Your Love With Heart-Healthy Foods
Think you need a rich, heavy meal on Valentine's Day to express your love? Not so! You can still create a heavenly meal that's heart-healthy, too!
Valentine's Day is right around the corner, but some indulgent meals and sweet treats can turn into a setback for those looking to stick to a healthy diet. Luckily, several meal options exist that can be very tasty — and healthy, too!
"This holiday marks the end of the big food orgy that I say runs from Halloween to Valentine's Day."
"There are lots of ways to interpret cooking for the heart or from the heart on Valentine's Day," says Dr. Felicia D. Stoler, author of Living Skinny in Fat Genes. "For me, from the heart means good for the heart.
"We often take for granted that we can make a big impact on our health when it comes to the ingredients we use in the meals we make," Stoler says. That's why she likes foods that are low in saturated fat, high in fiber and include functional ingredients such as plant sterols and omega-3 fatty acids.
Based on that notion, Stoler offers the following meal ideas:
Sample appetizer ideas
Sample dinner ideas
Sample dessert ideas
An important must-do is to minimize the use of saturated fats, Stoler says. Use less butter, substituting heart-healthy oils (such as olive, canola and palm fruit) as much as possible when you cook. Using egg whites and even fruit purees or sauces are small healthy changes that can significantly add up. Cutting back on sodium is also important, she notes.
"If you start with good ingredients, you shouldn't have to slather or drown food in sauces and gravies," Stoler adds.
As for what to avoid, Stoler says to start by not eating a whole box of chocolates.
"[Valentine's Day] is but one of many holidays in the year," she says. "Be good to your heart and body by not overindulging. Remember, this holiday marks the end of the big food orgy that I say runs from Halloween to Valentine's Day. Super Bowl Sunday was just the week before!"
More heart-healthy recipes
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