Recipes

// Heart-Healthy Valentine’s Day Treats //

By // Feb 14, 2014 //

Nothing says Valentine’s Day quite like chocolate, but there are all kinds of tasty ways to surprise your valentine. The Choicelunch team gathered a few of our favorite recipes for sweet treats for Valentine’s Day (or any day!). And since it’s American Heart Month, these recipes feature some heart-healthy ingredients. 

Berry Awesome Almond Meal Pancakes

Almonds are rich in health-promoting monounsaturated fats that studies have shown may reduce the risk of heart disease. Berries contain antioxidants known as polyphenols, which contribute to lowered blood pressure. 

Recipe

  • 1 cup almond meal
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • Dash of salt

Directions

  1. Mix all ingredients together to form a batter.
  2. Pour batter onto a buttered or greased skillet, and cook over medium heat until both sides are golden brown.
  3. Top with your favorite kind of berries. (Puréed blueberries make an awesome sauce in lieu of syrup! Thawed frozen blueberries work best for this.)

Easy Apple Crisp

Karen H. says, “My girls LOVE this, and it’s super easy.”

Apples are a super source of high soluble fiber that helps maintain lower cholesterol levels. The walnuts and pecans in this recipe are another source of those amazing Omega-3s.

Recipe

  • 4 apples, peeled, cored, and chopped
  • 1 dash ground cinnamon
  • 1 dash ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup walnuts
  • 1/2 cup pecans
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar 
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour 
  • 4 tablespoons butter, diced 
  • 1 pinch salt

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. 
  2. Place apples in a pie pan and dust with cinnamon and nutmeg. Cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes.
  3. In a food processor, chop nuts with a few short pulses. Pour in sugar and flour and process to combine. Add butter and salt and process until mixture resembles coarse meal. Sprinkle topping over apples.
  4. Bake for an additional 30 minutes, or until golden brown.

Substitutions

Make them vegan: substitute butter for equal amounts of coconut oil. 

If you have gluten sensitivities, substitute the all-purpose flour for gluten-free oat flour.

Need a brown sugar alternative? Try coconut sugar!

Peanut Butter Power Bars

The seeds in this recipe are full of the Omega-3 essential fatty acids that we need for good health. Because our bodies do not make essential fatty acids, we have to get them from our food. Omega-3s have many health benefits, including protection against heart disease.

Recipe

Combine equal amounts of the following (It’s easy to get carried away on the creamy goodness of peanut butter, but one serving of peanut butter is 2 tablespoons):

  • peanut butter
  • honey
  • unsweetened cocoa powder or carob powder 
  • sesame seeds or chia seeds
  • sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds

Directions

  1. Warm peanut butter and honey in a saucepan for one minute.
  2. Add cocoa or carob powder and stir well. The mixture will become stiff.
  3. Then mix in seeds, and layer in a pan.
  4. Allow pan to cool in the fridge. When you’re ready, slice up and serve!

Substitutions

Allergic to peanuts? Swap the peanut butter for any type of nut butter or sunflower butter.

Chocolate FUNdue

Akemi R. says her little guys love doing their own dipping with this easy-to-make fondue!

Chocolate lovers, rejoice! Dark chocolate (aim for a cocoa content of 70% or higher) contains flavonoids that protect against free radicals and heart disease. 

Recipe

Melt dark chocolate and dip your favorite fruits!

Substitution

Make it vegan: melt carob and mix with rice or soy milk.

 

What do you make for your valentines? Share your recipes and photos, and we’ll feature them in future blog posts!

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