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Cook a Heart-Healthy Valentine’s Day Dinner

Valentine’s Day is right around the corner. Instead of flowers and chocolates, why not make a heart-healthy meal for your significant other or family? The following recipes should give you some inspiration. This three-course meal is tasty, easy to make and is good for you too.

Here are some details about each course and you can find the recipes below!

First Course: Arugula Salad with Pears and Gorgonzola

Greens, pears and cranberries and cherries are filled with antioxidants and fiber. They’re also very low in calories. The olive oil and pecans have some heart-healthy fat, but we aren’t overdoing the dressing, pecans or the Gorgonzola cheese, just adding it for a little bit of flavor and texture to help marry the salad together. Beware of using too much cheese, which is high in fat and sodium.

Second Course: Chili-Garlic Glazed Salmon with Brown Rice

This is an easy recipe, and salmon is a great choice for a protein that provides heart-healthy fats. Be sure to keep your portion in control, so you don’t over-consume. I chose brown rice as a side, but you can really use any other whole grain – couscous or quinoa are two other very good options. I just prefer rice with fish. Choosing whole grains over highly-processed grains ensures you’ll consume more fiber, which has been shown to help with cholesterol levels. The average American only gets 5-10 grams of fiber daily, where the goal is to have 25-35 grams per day.

Third Course: Chocolate Zucchini and Banana Squares

I know what you are thinking. Zucchini in my dessert?! I promise you won’t be disappointed and your family won’t even know, unless you tell them. Anytime you can sneak in some healthier fruits and veggies into your dessert you are doing a good thing for your body. This dessert is actually giving you some good nutrition, instead of just “empty” calories. I am also using some whole wheat flour and flax seed for fiber. The best thing about the ground flax seed is that it will add some heart-healthy fat too. Yummy!

What are your Valentine’s Day plans? What are some of your favorite heart-healthy recipes? Here’s to taking care of our loved ones and ourselves. Happy Heart Day!

Recipes adapted from: The Food Network, Cooking Light and Heart Healthy Online.

Need more Valentine’s Day inspiration? We’ve got you covered:

Photo credit: Nebojsa93.