Are you hoping to enjoy a few valentine’s themed treats this weekend, but do not want to overload on sugar? I am with you!!! Here are a few things that I will be adding to our family’s plates over the weekend to celebrate without sacrificing on our health.
- Strawberries – Fresh strawberries, whole or sliced, make an amazing red pop on any plate. Add them to cereal, oatmeal, pancakes, waffles, yogurt, quinoa, spinach salad, mixed with other fruit, or just on their own. Strawberries are packed with vitamin C which is a great antioxidant. Antioxidants help to slow down the course of aging, and help prevent heart disease and cancer.
- Raspberries – Fresh or frozen, raspberries have a rich red colour. Fresh, they add a warm feel to a plate of food and when added from frozen into oatmeal or yogurt, they make a fun swirl as they melt. They are also a wonderful addition to a smoothie to make it a rich red colour.
- Pomegranate Seeds – These super foods add a delicious crunch to salads, cereal, and yogurt. They are jam-packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants and they look amazing!
- Tomatoes – I like to add baby tomatoes to salads or slices of tomato to a supper plate to add to the festive feel. They are also a fun red addition to eggs or egg whites. Tomatoes, like strawberries, are full of vitamin C, and they also are en excellent source of lycopene. Lycopene is a caretenoid that specifically helps to reduce cancer risk. For the best source of lycopene, try to cook your tomatoes slightly or consume them with a source of fat such as avocado or olive oil.
- Watermelon – This sweet fruit is consumed more in the summer, but is a great valentines choice. You can cut out heart shapes and serve it to kids or adults for a nutritious snack or desert. Pair it with other red fruits or vanilla Greek yogurt to dip it in. It is sure to be a hit. And life tomatoes, watermelon is a great source of lycopene.
- Red Peppers – Again, these can be served fresh on salad or main supper place or cooked stove top in a stir fry or with onions in the oven. They can also be used for stuffed peppers. Try to use healthy stuffing options such as ground chicken, quinoa, and lots of diced veggies. No matter how they are prepared, they offer an awesome red “pop” to a meal, along with lots of vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals.
- Salmon – Salmon has a lovely pink hue to it, which makes it a common choice for a romantic valentines supper. Serve this on top of quinoa and add roasted beets (described below), steamed cauliflower, and fresh cut tomatoes and red peppers to the plate and you have a heart healthy, nutrition packed, festive plate that everyone will enjoy. (This is my main course meal for a valentines dinner we are hosting with friends this weekend.)
- Heart Shaped Pancakes– This one is a must! You can shape them on your own use a cookie cutter for the shape 🙂 Then add lots of red fruit on top!
- Beets – Roasted beets are super easy and SO packed with nutrition. They are also a common hit with kids as they are nice and sweet. I like to peel, dice and roast mine with mushrooms, red onions, peppers, parsnips and/or leeks. I drizzle grapeseed oil on top and bake at 375 for about 35 minutes. They come out melt-in-your-mouth.
- Lasagna or Manicotti – This is a great choice for a family valentines supper. Kids tend to love lasanga and it is red…so these factors make it a hit for “love day” at home. You can make your lasagna even healthier by using ground chicken and black beans in place of meat, whole grain or rice noodles, low fat cottage cheese, and lots of veggies in the sauce.
I hope this leaves you craving healthy foods for Valentine’s weekend. Wishing you all a weekend full of love, cuddles, and laughs with those you adore most.
Until next time….stay healthy!