5 Sweet but Smart Treats for Valentine’s Day

February 10, 2015 Edited by  
Filed under Consumer awareness, Dietary Patterns, Holidays

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Looking to satisfy your sweet tooth this Valentine’s day but don’t want to blow your calorie budget? Check out these easy treats that are both delicious and (relatively) nutritious:

Dark Chocolate Covered Almonds:

  • Grab a handful of dark chocolate almonds and leave the butter creams in their box!
  • Almonds contain vitamin E, calcium, magnesium and potassium; they are also a significant source of protein and fiber
  • Look for dark chocolate covered almonds, which contain phytochemicals that may aid in the prevention of heart disease and may decrease the effects of sugar on your teeth
  • Enjoy these guys in moderation though as calories do add up!

Dark Chocolate Covered Strawberries:

  • Get yourself a bowl of fresh strawberries and melt up some dark chocolate for dipping!
  • Strawberries contain vitamin C, which boosts immunity and helps your body use iron
  • Strawberries also contain phytonutrients, including quercetin, ellagic acid, anthocyanins and kaempferol that have been shown to have potential health benefits against cancer, aging, inflammation and neurological diseases
  • All of this for only 36 calories in 10 strawberries…before you add the chocolate!

Red Wine:

  • Raise a glass to your health! Antioxidants in red wine called polyphenols may help protect the lining of blood vessels in your heart
  • Resveratrol in red wine also might be a key ingredient that helps prevent damage to blood vessels, reduces low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol (the “bad” cholesterol) and prevents blood clots
  • If you consume alcohol, do so in moderation; drinking too much alcohol increases your risk of high blood pressure, high triglycerides, liver damage, obesity and certain types of cancer
  • No more than one drink a day for women and two for men are the current recommendations for “moderate” alcohol intake

Berries and Whipped Cream:

  • Indulge your sweet tooth with fresh raspberries, blueberries and/or blackberries topped with a dollop of whip cream for a delicious guilt free dessert
  • Berries are packed with antioxidants, including anthocyanins, quercetin, and vitamin C. Anthocyanins give berries their vibrant color, reduce inflammation, and may help prevent and manage arthritis. Anthocyanins work together with quercetin to help slow age-related memory-loss. Quercetin may also decrease the inflammatory effects of chemicals in the synovial fluid of the joints for people with inflammatory conditions like rheumatoid arthritis
  • The fat in the cream can help absorb the valuable fat soluble vitamins found in many types of fruits and vegetables

Cinnamon Popcorn:

  • Sprinkle cinnamon over homemade popcorn for a sweet treat that won’t pack on the calories!
  • Cinnamon is a natural sweetener that is a great alternative for those with diabetes; it may help improve glucose and lipids levels in patients with type 2 diabetes
  • The spice has also been shown to slow stomach emptying, which curbs the sharp rise in blood sugar following meals, and improves the effectiveness, or sensitivity of insulin

For more ways to love your health, check out the CDC’s page on Valentine’s Day.

Special thanks to Dietetic Intern Jenny Legrand for her contributions to this post.

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