Treats for A Heart-Healthy Valentine’s Day

As February rolls around, so does another few weeks of sugar-filled snacking. As much fun as those little heart-candies are (especially when they send a loving message to you or your kids), it is no surprise that they offer little nutritional value (other than packing in lots of extra sugar).

Most Valentine’s Day treats follow suit, making it tough for parents to know what to allow and what to avoid on this loving holiday. This year, the BOKS team decided to help out and pull together a list of alternatives to those pre-packaged sweets.

These delicious treats are not only tasty but great for you and your family’s heart:

  1. Dark Chocolate Covered Strawberries
    1. Chocolate may get a bad “rap” from the processed candies that are often stuck inside Valentine’s Day grams at school. However, dark chocolate offers a number of health benefits, including the potential to lower the risk of heart disease and lower blood pressure.
      1. Related imageFor a sweet swap, try picking up some ripe strawberries from your local market. Wash and dry the berries.
      2. Melt some quality dark-chocolate in a double boiler (or in small increments in the microwave to prevent burning).
      3. Coat the berries in the melted chocolate, and set on a sheet of wax paper to dry. Put in the fridge or freezer so the chocolate cools and then enjoy!
  1. Frozen Yogurt Berry Bark
    1. Berries are incredibly nutrient dense and a great source of vitamins. Different berries offer a multitude of health benefits, but some of our favorites are blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, and Gogi Berries. Try making them into a frozen yogurt bark for a cool treat that satisfies a sweet tooth and a snack craving. The protein and healthy fat in this recipe make this simple treat a perfect healthy swap!
      1. Mix 2 cups of plain Greek yogurt with a bit of light sweetening of your choice: Try ¼ cup of agave, honey, jam, or maple syrup.Image result for yogurt berry bark
      2. Transfer yogurt to a baking sheet lined with wax paper, and spread to an even thickness
      3. Top with berries as your heart desires! Layer strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, or gogi berries of your choice over the yogurt. Have fun and be creative with the type of berries you use to create your favorite flavors.
      4. Top with a little bit of crunch. Walnuts are a great heart-healthy option, or opt for shredded coconut (just make sure you use unsweetened to avoid the extra sugar) or coconut chips.
      5. Once your toppings are complete, throw in the freezer for a few hours until hardened. Break apart and enjoy!
  1. Homemade Gummy Candy
    1. For the more experienced or adventurous chefs, try your hand at making your own gummy candy! It’s much easier than it seems and can be customized to your flavor preferences. What may be a surprise is that gelatin can offer a few health benefits on its own. It may support the digestive system and gut health, help maintain strong bones, and potentially improve sleep! See proportions and complete recipe here.
      1. All you need for this: fruit puree of your choice, honey, and gelatin.
      2. After making fruit puree of choice, add honey and gelatin to a saucepan with the puree. Stir the mixture on low until incorporated.
      3. Pour into heart-shaped silicone molds (or whatever tray/mold you have handy) and place in the fridge for at least two hours. Bon appétit!

Raspberry Gummies