By The FIRM Master Instructor Leslie Perry Duffy
Nothing says “I love you” quite like a gigantic box of chocolates, right? Hardly! This special holiday symbolized by hearts and celebrated with high-calories treats can be anything but heart-healthy. However, there’s no hard and fast rule that requires us to celebrate with sugary candy and foods saturated with fat. Celebrating Valentine’s Day in a healthy way does not mean that you can’t enjoy your favorite treat in moderation. Or, forget the treats and celebrate in a unique way that’s special for you and your loved one(s).
If your heart’s set on making food part of the celebration, here are a few heart-healthy ideas:
- Breakfast in bed: oatmeal with dark chocolate morsels or a heart-shaped pancake (see our recipe, below)
- Fruit dipped in dark chocolate fondue, fat-free sour cream whipped with a little brown sugar, or honey (with your honey!)
- Strawberries dipped in low-fat yogurt
- Heart-shaped sandwiches (or other low-fat food that can be molded with your heart-shaped cookie cutters)
- Low-sugar flavored latte
- Choose a new healthy recipe and enjoy cooking together
- Gourmet or organic gift basket
If you’d prefer to consider options that make your sweetheart’s heart feel good rather than their tummy:
- Flowers (okay, not an original idea, but they still have no calories)
- Spa treatment: facial, massage, mani/pedi, etc.
- A favorite activity: yoga, tennis, walk in the park, etc.
- Workout date or guilt-free workout pass
- Fitness DVDs!
- A heartfelt CD mix
- Fitness gear: iPod accessory, water bottle, heart rate monitor, etc.
- Weekend trip or just a “memory road trip” during which you relive a special date or occasion
- Give blood
- Watch a romantic movie
- Scrapbook of favorite photos
- Back rub or foot rub and a sincere “I love you”
Show your loved ones how much you care about their health and well-being this Valentine’s Day by having a heart-healthy celebration!
Here’s a healthy pancake recipe from the article Top 10 Superfoods on GaiamLife.com:
Oaty Whole Grain Pancakes
- 1/2 cup rolled oats
- 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
- 2 tablespoons wheat germ
- 2 tablespoons flax seed, ground
- 1/2 cup reduced-fat buttermilk **
- 1/2 cup lowfat milk **
- 1 egg
- 1 tablespoon canola oil
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Your loved one’s favorite fresh fruit to top
Mix together dry ingredients. Whisk together wet ingredients in separate bowl. Then add wet ingredients to the dry and whisk just until smooth. (For thinner pancakes, stir in additional 2 tablespoons milk.)
Spray griddle or large nonstick skillet with cooking spray. Heat griddle over medium heat or to 375°.
For each pancake, pour about 1/4 cup batter onto hot griddle. Cook pancakes until puffed and dry around edges. Turn and cook other sides until golden brown.
Plate and top with fresh fruit.
Per Serving (2 pancakes): 182 Calories; 7g Fat (32.8% calories from fat); 7g Protein; 24g Carbohydrate; 5g Dietary Fiber; 2mg Cholesterol; 596mg Sodium.
**Feel free to substitute plain or vanilla soy milk in place of the buttermilk and regular milk. For a buttermilk-like effect, add about a tablespoon of fresh lemon juice to your cup of soymilk.