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Happy Valentine's Day!
If you’re like many Americans, you’re concerned about your triglycerides, cholesterol, sugar levels or waistline—or all of the above. But you enjoy a sweet treat every now and then and may struggle with finding a “healthy place” for desserts in your diet. We’ve got good news for you: There are ways to turn sweet treats into a win-win for your taste buds and critical health numbers. Just in time for Valentine’s Day!
The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends eating an overall healthy diet that emphasizes fruits and vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy, skinless poultry and fish, nuts and legumes, and non-tropical vegetable oils1. While that’s a long list of foods to keep you satisfied, you may be asking yourself, “how do desserts fit in?”
If your go-to dessert is laden with saturated and trans fats, sodium and sugar, then you’re wise to indulge in limited quantities. But desserts can actually be part of an overall healthy diet (and tasty and fun!) if you…
Choose heart-healthy ingredients.
Go back to the drawing board and give the following foods a starring role on your dessert menu:
Make healthy swaps.
The Mayo Clinic suggests giving your recipes a health boost with these substitutions3:
And a word to the wise: Always watch your serving size. Even the healthiest foods contain calories, sugar and fat that can quickly turn into “too many” to derail health goals.
Recipes to try!
For Valentine’s Day—or any day—it’s handy to have some heart-healthy dessert recipes you can turn to. It’s time to treat your taste buds and your ticker with new takes on your favorites:
Fruity: These Strawberry Shortcakes from Health.com use fresh strawberries and calorie-free sweetener, yielding just 113 calories and less than 1g of fat per serving.
Chocolaty: EatingWell.com’s Chocolate Nut Bark pairs antioxidant-rich dark chocolate with your choice of nuts for a mere 74 calories and 5 g of sugars per piece.
Cheese-Cakey: The Mini Cheesecakes from HungryAndFit.com weigh in at just 182 calories-per-serving of “yum” using Greek cream cheese and yogurt plus cinnamon graham crackers.
What are some of your favorite heart- healthy desserts? We'd love to hear from you on our social media pages!
1 “American Heart Association.” Www.heart.org, www.heart.org/.
2 (n.d.). Retrieved from https://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/.
3 Mayo Clinic. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.mayoclinic.org./
A Healthier Lifestyle- Where to Start?
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