MEMPHIS, Tenn — Sweet treats are a staple of Valentine’s Day, but when giving your heart to a loved one, it’s good to make sure it’s healthy as well.
February is Heart Health Month, and we have some ideas that can satisfy a sweet tooth, while also cutting down on the non-healthy ingredients.
“Really important in February during Heart Health Month, have our minds thinking about how to protect us in the long run from cardiovascular disease,” said Jennifer Presson, Clinical Nutrition Manager for Saint Francis Hospital. “In the hospital systems, especially in the Mid-South, we see a lot of illnesses that could’ve been prevented with a healthier diet.”
Presson said you can have treats – just change out some of the ingredients.
“A heart healthier cheesecake with strawberries. It gives it a little bit of a cute red touch for Valentine’s Day and Heart Health Month. Instead of cream cheese like a traditional cheesecake, we took that out and substituted that with fat-free cottage cheese and a vanilla, low sugar, low fat Greek yogurt. We swapped out the sugar for a sugar substitute. We used Splenda and swapped out the eggs for egg whites,” said Presson.
“A dark chocolate tart topped with fresh strawberries. It’s really easy to make, just two ingredients, dark chocolate - also high in flavonoids. It’s a great anti-inflammatory, and the darker the chocolate, the less sugar will be in that dark chocolate.”
Fruits are always a good choice.
“Your blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, cranberries are high in flavonoids. They typically give fruits and vegetables those bright red, blue and purple colors. They have antioxidant properties. Which we now know with a lot of cardiovascular research, can protect against a lot of cardiovascular diseases. The research on that thinks that they prevent the hardening of arteries, but the research is still on-going with that. In the long term, decreasing inflammation and is really also important in postmenopausal women. It also can reduce the risk of certain types of cancers and possibly developing type two diabetes.”
“You can still enjoy those wonderful treats that we traditionally have,” said Presson.
Dark Chocolate Tart with fresh raspberries recipe:
You will need:
- Nonstick cooking spray
- Mold for chocolate
- 12 oz. of dark chocolate 70%-85% cocoa
- 8 oz. fresh raspberries
- Wash and dry produce
- Melt chocolate according to package directions
- Lightly spray molds with nonstick cooking spray, place mold on sheet pan
- Spoon melted chocolate into molds, coating sides evenly
- Spoon raspberries into molds
- Drizzle with remaining chocolate
- Place in fridge to set about 30 minutes