COLUMBIA – Give the gift of love and good health this Valentine’s Day. The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control wants you to swap the candy and cupcakes for healthier alternatives this holiday.
What better way to say, “I love you” than preparing a healthy, homemade meal for your special someone.
Make this Valentine’s Day extra special by cooking at home. You will not only spoil your loved one, but you will also keep your heart and body happy by including heart-healthy foods. DHEC encourages you to try these easy recipes and healthy tips on Valentine’s Day.
Check out these 10 heart-healthy foods to include in your Valentine’s Day plans.
Five Healthy Valentine’s Day Tips
Cook at home: Preparing a meal at home keeps your wallet and your body happy. Restaurants add lots of extra fats and salt to foods. When you are the cook, you control the ingredients.
Share your sweets: Don’t overindulge in candy and chocolates from loved ones. There are few nutritional benefits in these treats, so watch portion sizes and eat only a small amount. If you need to, share with others to avoid going overboard.
Plan an active date night: Instead of planning your date night around food and treats, do something fun like taking a romantic hike or going on a scenic bike ride.
Think red: Red is not only the color of love, but red foods like berries are good for your heart. They are full of antioxidants, fiber, and key vitamins.
Don’t deprive yourself: Remember that the day is supposed to focus on spending time with those you love. Enjoy the day and don’t be afraid to eat a small treat to celebrate. Dark chocolate has been shown to have some health benefits through its antioxidants.
Roasted Salmon, Green Beans and Tomatoes
6 cloves garlic
1 lb. green beans
1 pt. grape tomatoes
½ cup pitted Kalamata olives
3 anchovy fillets
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 skinless salmon fillet
Heat oven to 425°F. On a large-rimmed baking sheet, toss together the garlic, beans, tomatoes, olives and anchovies (if using) with 1 tablespoon oil and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Roast until the vegetables are tender and begin to brown, 12-15 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat the remaining tablespoon of oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Season the salmon with 1/4 teaspoon each of salt and pepper, and cook until golden brown and opaque throughout, 4-5 minutes per side. Serve with the vegetables.
Dark Chocolate covered Strawberries
10 oz dark chocolate chips
1 tablespoon butter or coconut oil
Your favorite chopped nuts
Line baking sheets with wax paper.
Microwave dark chocolate chips and butter or coconut oil in medium, uncovered, microwave-safe bowl on medium-high (70%) power for 45 seconds; stir. If chocolate chips retain some of their original shape, microwave an additional 10 to 15 seconds by intervals, stirring until the chocolate is melted.
Dip strawberries into melted chocolate, tilting bowl to easily dip. Use side of bowl to remove excess. Place on prepared baking sheets.Sprinkle your favorite chopped nuts on while the chocolate is still wet. Refrigerate for 15 minutes or until set.