While I looked at my calendar a little bit ago I realized Valentine’s Day is right around the corner! I have my family trained already so I know there will be no edible gifts at all ... in my mind I’d prefer a new food processor or a new yoga mat to the volumes of candy and other non-heart-healthy tidbits many of my friends will be receiving. Knowing what to get you is something you have to be sure your family and friends understand. It’s not up to them to know what you need or want ... yep, you’ve got to tell them and you’ve got to stick to your guns ... your heart's health depends on it.
Of course, moderation is the biggest obstacle to face. I struggle with that at every meal and every snack! I love to eat! I’m getting better, but there is still work to be done.
Since I am the main cook at my house, Valentine’s Day dinner will be a breeze ... it’ll pretty much be what we eat every day, but I may light a candle or two. But my research shows there are some treats that will benefit your heart ...
Dark chocolate ... and the darker the better ... look for products that have at least 70 percent cocoa and list cocoa beans or cocoa liquor as the first ingredient
Fresh fruit ... dark cherries ... and the tarter, the better! Nothing beats holding a cherry by its stem for your loved one ... and they allowing them to spit the pit into your hand!
A lovely glass of red wine .... and maybe with a massage?? That’d make a great gift!
Now, are you planning a Valentine’s Day party? Are you in a holiday treat rut leaning toward the quick and easy chips and dip and other high fat treats? Instead, instead, why not serve fruit kabobs, heart-shaped Rice Krispie treats (using a heart-healthier butter product and less of it), oatmeal cookies with dried cherries or dried cranberries and/or mini bagels (preferably whole wheat) with lowfat strawberry cream cheese, or mini muffins or slices of banana bread or other fruit bread.
Keep the focus on your friends and/or family instead of food. Play games and if the weather’s nice take a walk or hike or a bike ride (can you tell I live in the South?) Stuck inside? Nothing beats a game of Twister to tangle you with your loved one! Or a heated game of Scrabble using only words that are about love, relationships, family, etc. It’s not as easy as you think! How about setting up games all over ... Scrabble here ... Monopoly there ... have you played Pass the Pigs (ah, thanks Mom!), Uno, Dominoes? Rummy?
Serve your snacks throughout the party ... a little here and a little there. Avoid putting the food out buffet-style where people can pack their plates ... and later unbutton their jeans to release their belly fat. Allow people to graze ... play some games ... and graze some more.
Just the two of you ... a special Valentine’s Day dinner ... this savory poached salmon and warm spinach salad combination is a heart-healthy dinner which can be quickly prepared for Valentine's Day or any other special occasion. Colorful and aromatic, this meal is hearty enough to satisfy large appetites, yet light enough for any romantic evening.
One-Dish Poached Salmon & Warm Spinach Salad
Into the frying pan add tomatoes and walnuts or pecans to the bubbling dressing, and then add the whole bag of baby spinach leafs which will shrink slightly when steamed. Toss (lightly stir) the salad ingredients around in the vinaigrette or Italian dressing, turn off heat and place lid back on the pan for about a minute.
Serve the vinaigrette-poached salmon fillets with lemon slices arranged on top, the lemons become very sweet and can be eaten with the peel intact. Position the warm spinach salad with tomatoes and walnuts to the side of the salmon and drizzle the warm dressing over all. Garnish plate with fresh strawberries.
Ohhhh ... I can’t wait for Valentine’s Day!
I am ...
... a former blogger for a health site, which means eating healthy aka heart smart
which has become a passion for me. I will start at the beginning when I first
discovered I had high cholesterol.