Heart healthy tips to keep your <3 humming!

Thinking about what to do on Valentine’s Day for those who hold a special place in your heart? Take a look at the suggestions found on the American Heart Association’s Website: http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/HealthyLiving/HealthyEating/Nutrition/Heart-Health-Valentines-Day-Tips_UCM_322023_Article.jsp#.VqdgUpMrKqB . The site contains 14 practical and health conscious ideas that have more value and show a deeper love than a box of chocolates or a dozen roses ever could. The ideas are listed below. See what you think.
When you’ve finished reading, be creative! Come up with a 15th idea to show your Valentine he/she’s extra special. Enjoy the read! (Note: Hovering over the printed words or phrases in blue will take you to sites with additional ideas and information.)

  1. Rather than tempting your beloved with sweets, consider a gift that has more permanence. Search for a poem that describes your feelings and write it on beautiful paper for a handmade Valentine.
  2. Quality time is one of the most meaningful gifts. Bundle up and plan an active outing such as sledding, ice skating, gathering wood for a fire, or if you’re feeling adventurous, visit an indoor rock wall.
  3. If your kids are having a Valentine’s Day party at their school or day care, instead of sending candies, consider raisins, grapes, whole-grain pretzels, colored pencils or stickers as tokens of their friendly affection.
  4. Cooking at home is an excellent way to control what and how much you eat. Take a date to a local cooking class to practice your skills or learn a new technique.
  5. Prepare a romantic candlelit dinner at home using one of our heart-healthy recipes.
  6. Give to one another by giving back. Ask a date to volunteer with you at a local organization. Giving back is a healthy habit that can boost your mood and help beat stress.
  7. Use this day as an opportunity to tell your loved one how important they are to you, and share ways that you can support each other’s health and wellness. Get started by taking the My Life Check Assessment.
  8. Craving something sweet? Gift a beautiful fresh fruit basket to your loved one instead of giving sweets with added sugars.
  9. Sharing is caring – if you go out for a romantic dinner date, order one entrée to share. Many restaurant servings are enough for two – splitting will keep you from overdoing it.
  10. Don’t forget to love Fido, too! Give your pet a Valentine and remember to walk or exercise them daily –getting active with your pet will benefit your health and your bond with your pets.
  11. Take it slow – if you receive a luxurious box of chocolates from your sweetie, stick it in the freezer and enjoy in moderation over the next several weeks.
  12. Take a long, romantic walk with your beloved – and try to make it a regular habit. Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderately intense physical activity each week to help keep your heart healthy. You can reach this goal by walking briskly for at least 30 minutes five days each week.
  13. Check out our tips for healthier preparation methods for cooking.
  14. Rekindle an old flame – try preparing one of your sweetie’s favorite recipes in a healthier way. These healthy substitutions can help you cut down on saturated fats, trans fats, salt (sodium), and added sugars, while noticing little, if any, difference in taste.ENJOY!
    Emily

Quick and easy sandwiches

EggSalad

Sandwiches are quick and easy to make, but can be high in calories if you’re not careful.  Substitute 2 T. fat-free yogurt for 2 T. mayonnaise on that sandwich and you save a whopping 167  calories and around 20g. of fat.  Check out these recipes below:

Open Faced Egg Salad Sandwich – Makes 4 open faced sandwiches

Ingredients

  • 7 eggs
  • ¼ C. low-fat plain yogurt (look for those with low sugar)
  • 2 tsp. mustard
  • ½ tsp. each salt and pepper
  • 4 slices whole grain bread

For face:  Egg slices, peas, bell pepper, pickles, and grated carrot or other vegetables you may have on hand.

Directions: In a medium saucepan, cover 7 eggs with water.  Bring to a boil. Cover and remove from heat.  Let stand 10 minutes.  Place eggs in bowl under cold running water until cool.  Peel eggs.

Slice 2 eggs with a knife.  Set aside 8 of the slices for eyes.  Place remaining egg slices in a bowl; add unsliced eggs.  Mash with a fork.  Add yogurt, mustard, salt and pepper.  Stir to combine.  Cover 4 slices of bread with egg salad.

Make face using egg slices for the eyes topped with three peas each for the pupils.  Half a whole pickle or a pickle slice for the nose, a red bell pepper slice for the mouth and some grated carrot for the hair.  Use whatever you have on hand if you don’t have these ingredients.  Involve your kids and let them be creative!

 

Tuna or Chicken Salad Roll-ups

Ingredients:

  • 1 small crisp apple, such as Granny Smith, peeled, cored and very finely chopped
  • 1 tsp. lemon juice
  • 12-oz solid white tuna, packed on water OR chopped chicken
  • 2 stalks of celery, cut into 1/4 –inch pieces
  • ½ cup non-fat plain yogurt – look for varieties low in sugar
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ¼ tsp. pepper
  • 4 whole-grain tortillas or other rollable bread such as flatbread
  • 6 slices cheese
  • 4 lettuce leaves

Directions: In a medium bowl, toss the apples with the lemon juice until coated.  Add the tuna or chicken, celery, yogurt, salt and pepper and stir with a fork until mixture is combined.  Lay the tortilla on a plate and cover with cheese, followed by a lettuce leaf and top with the tuna or chicken salad.  Tightly roll the sandwich.  Use toothpicks if needed to hold the sandwich tightly closed.  Cut into halves or thirds for serving.

Note:  You can substitute any fruit for the apples such as pears, pineapple, raisins, grapes, etc.