Valentine’s Day is a peak moment of love in the depth of winter, and this year more than others, we all could use a little extra sweetness. Because we tend to associate this holiday with special foods to eat, let’s focus on a couple of ways we can nourish our hearts—symbolically and literally—on February 14.
Make It Heart-Shaped
One way to add a Valentine’s Day spin to easy, tasty home favorites is to make them heart-shaped. This is fun to do and can make your beloved—or yourself—feel the love of that small extra effort. You don’t need heart-shaped pans or cutters, either. Just make these foods in the round and cut them into the right shape before serving. The discarded bits make a perfect bite for the cook to sneak in before mealtime!
- Sandwiches (grilled cheese or PB&J)
- Layer cake
- Sugar cookies (cut into heart shapes before baking)
- Pizza (it can be done at home, or some pizzerias even sell heart-shaped pies!)
- Make It Heart-Healthy
We eat first with our eyes, of course, but our bodies feel beloved when we nourish them with nutritious, flavorful foods. Heart-healthy foods are rich in vitamins that affect blood clotting, antioxidants to lower inflammation and the so-called “good fats” that help regulate blood pressure and other heart disease risk factors.
The best news for Valentine’s Day? This list of heart-healthy ingredients leads with dark chocolate, which contains antioxidants called flavonoids. One large study showed that people who eat dark chocolate at least five times each week have a 57 percent lower risk of coronary heart disease than those who do not eat chocolate.
- Dark chocolate (Really! Read the study!)
- Whole grains like brown rice or quinoa
- Leafy green vegetables
- Fatty fish like salmon or sardines
How will you nourish yourself this Valentine’s Day?