Shhhh! “Secret” Heart-Healthy Treats And Tips
January 31, 2013 by Stephanie
These foods have been shown to benefit heart health, so really LOVE your family and yourself this year by incorporating some of them into your celebration.
The “love your heart” line-up includes: apples, avocados, bananas, beans, berries, dark chocolate, nuts, probiotic yogurt, seeds, watermelon, and whole grains.
This yogurt parfait is a triple-threat with probiotics, bananas, and watermelon!
In the case of lactose intolerance, you can still enjoy probiotic yogurt made with coconut milk by SO Delicious.
Tip: A selection of cookie cutters in various heart sizes makes food presentation fun.
One way to use a small metal cutter (or try your skills with a paring knife) is to show a little apple-love! Yep, apples are on the heart healthy list and about as simple as a Valentine presentation gets with a little 3-D heart!
Why is it that kids love just about anything on a stick? Cast a love spell over your little ones with these “watermelon wands”. Cut-out shapes slide easily onto baking sticks (the kind used for cookies or cake pops) and are a simple way to start the day or add a surprise to lunch.
Continue the cookie cutter fun with another trifecta for heart health – berries (jam), nut butter and whole grain bread are always a hit with kids when they’re put together as…
The Classic PB & J
Serve with a glass of pink strawberry milk and lunch or after school snack time is covered! Blend any kind of milk with a handful of strawberries on high in the blender and voila – strawberry milk! I loved it as a kid, and now my own kids love it too.
Another power-house mix of whole grains and fruit can be found in this supremely luscious bowl of Steel Cut Oats with Honey and Pomegranate by Carlee. Can you imagine starting your Valentine’s Day with this breakfast!?
Eat plain, on berries, as “cookie dough” dip, or in pudding.
What would Valentine’s Day be without chocolate? I shudder to think about it!
Though dark chocolate and cocoa can benefit the cardiovascular system, many brands of chocolate contain added fillers that are not healthy. You can avoid the “junk-food-chocolate” trap by making your own 3 ingredient chocolate from the recipe here. Use it for dipped berries…
Or try this deceptively yummy chocolate chip “cookie dough” dip made with the same super-healthy chocolate.
Um… Healthy cookie dough? How is that possible!?! Because it’s actually “faux- dough” …
The secret ingredient in this recipe is garbanzo beans - a.k.a chickpeas. I’m thrilled about finding “Chocolate Covered Katie” and her fun ways with food. Get the recipe for cookie dough dip here and enjoy the heart healthy medley of beans, nut butter, and dark chocolate - all in one dish! If you choose apple slices for dipping, you score added health points.
Ready for the next secret, decadent chocolate recipe?
The secret heart-healthy ingredient is…. Avocado! Can you believe it? And everything on the plate is heart healthy too. This pudding is great plain or with any of the following fruits: apples, bananas, blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries.
- 2 avocados
- 2 medjool dates
- 5 Tbsp. of organic, non alkaline cocoa powder (I like Ah!-laska Brand baker’s cocoa)
- 1/2 cup 100% pure maple syrup
- 1/4 c water
- Cut avocado in quarters, remove pit and skin
- Remove pits from dates
- Combine all ingredients in Vitamix blender or food processor.
- Blend until consistency of pudding (no chunks!). More water may be necessary.
- Do a taste test before you scoop out to serve so you can add a little more syrup to sweeten to your desired taste
Last but not least, show a little…
Surprise a child at school with heart shaped sponge ice pack and a custom drink koozie . Get directions to make your own here.
I hope I’ve tempted you to try a new “secret” recipe this year, or encouraged a loving treat with one of the quick tips. Above all, I hope your day is a smashing success, bursting with love.