Who doesn’t love sharing a sweet treat with a loved one on Valentine’s Day. With February also being American Heart Month, here are a few ways you can show your loved ones, and their hearts, some love with sweet, heart-healthy ideas.
For candy bar lovers—stuffed dates can taste like your favorite one.
To make them, simply split the date in half and remove the pit. Stuff the inside with peanut butter and drizzle the top with melted chocolate. Then, sprinkle on peanuts and pop into the fridge until the chocolate has hardened.
The combination of fiber, protein and healthy fat can also help make a meal or snack more filling and satisfying, and you’re getting all three here. You can swap out the peanut butter for any nut butter of choice or for an allergy friendly swap, use sunflower butter.
Dates can also be used to make better-for-you brownie bites.
Blend dates with oats, nut butter and cocoa powder for a chocolatey treat with less added sugar than your typical brownie. Plus, you’ll also be getting some heart-healthy fiber from the dates and whole-grain oats. Many whole grains, including oats, contain a type of fiber, called beta glucan, which may help lower cholesterol levels.
Sweet treats like cake or cupcakes are another Valentine’s favorite, but often contain ingredients that our hearts don’t love, such as added sugar. Instead of chocolate frosting, frost your cupcakes with chocolate hummus.
Chocolate hummus is rich, creamy and has that delicious chocolatey sweet flavor you’re looking for, but nearly three times less added sugar than a typical chocolate frosting.
You can also use chocolate hummus as a sweet dip for a snacking board. A mix of berries, almonds, pretzels and chocolate hummus is a fun way to pair sweet and savory treats.
About 80 percent of Americans don’t meet recommended fruit intakes, so fruit-forward desserts are a great way to satisfy a sweet tooth, while also bumping up daily fruit intake. This simple Blueberry Pie Foil Packet can be made in less than 20 minutes.
Mix blueberries, applesauce and cornstarch in one bowl, and olive oil, cinnamon, granola and salt in another. Spoon the blueberry mixture into cooking spray-lined aluminum foil and top with granola mixture. Fold the foil over the filling and cook in the oven at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes, or until the blueberries have burst.
Granola: The first ingredient in this granola is whole grain oats which are a heart healthy pick. Many whole grains, including oats, contain a type of fiber, called beta glucan, which may help lower cholesterol levels.
Blueberries: Berries are packed with heart-healthy fiber and antioxidants.
—Written by Tina McGeough, a registered dietician for Stop & Shop.