Thanks to our friend St. Valentine, hearts are omnipresent this time of year, and often in the form of cookies, candies, and cakes. While it’s a sweet way to send a mushy message to the people/ kids/ co-workers you love, don’t forget about the organ that’s actually doing all that ticking. This V-day, trade expensive price-fixe dinners and chalky heart-shaped candies in favor of a home cooked, heart-healthy menu that’s all love, no love handles.Appetizer
Cutting back on sodium helps reduce blood pressure, an change most of our hearts would welcome. By cooking at home you’re already helping the cause – 75 percent of the sodium we take in comes from processed foods. Baked beet chips are festively red (and salt-free), plus they're packed with heart-healthy folate and potassium. Nibble some while you prepare this simple, vegetarian, and fiber-rich artichoke appetizer, and feel good about getting all the way down to the tender heart.
Steak is the classic romance option, but you can save tons of artery-clogging saturated fat (and time!) by making this soy-glazed salmon steak instead. Serve it with a side of ginger snow peas and peppers for a dose of color (and vitamins).
Some of the indulgences associated with romance are already pretty heart healthy (I’m looking at you dark chocolate and red wine). It’s the fat content that takes most desserts from smart-in-moderation to heart-stopping, so try this virtually fat-free mint-grapefruit granita.
Another point worth mentioning on this duo-dedicated holiday is that having a Valentine can be one of the best things to happen to your eat-smart ideals since your New Year’s resolution: research shows that you’re more likely to reach a weight-loss goal when you have a supportive partner on board. Now isn’t that sweet?