Is your sweetheart is taking you out to eat for Valentine’s Day? Wondering how to make some heart-healthy choices amid the rich, creamy, breaded and battered entrée choices?
Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota Wellness Consultant Registered Dietitian Lori Howard can help you form a strategy to select a meal that won’t add inches to your waist.
- Beverage. Order water or unsweetened tea. Pass on juices, soda or alcoholic beverages.
- Appetizer. Go light on appetizers. If the restaurant serves chips, bread or peanuts, enjoy a small portion and then ask to have it removed from the table.
- Soup. Select a broth soup instead of a cream-based soup.
- Salad. When given the choice between a Caesar salad and garden salad, select the garden salad.
- Sauces. Avoid entrees with hollandaise, alfredo and béarnaise sauces. Marinara sauce is a heart-healthy choice for pasta.
- Entrée. Look for healthy items noted on the menu. Opt for entrees that are grilled, broiled, marinated or steamed. Pass on items that are pan-fried, sautéed, breaded, battered, au gratin, cheesy, creamy, buttered, deep-fried or crispy.
- Sides. Ask for vegetables. Enjoy a baked potato using low-fat salad dressing instead of sour cream or butter.
- Dessert. You can finish your Valentine’s meal with something sweet, such as fruit, sherbet or sorbet. Or share a petite dessert with your honey.
If you prefer to have a romantic candlelit dinner with your loved one at home, Lori recommends the chunky marinara with pasta and seared chicken entrée on the American Heart Association website.
Round out your meal with a garden salad mixed with dark green leaf lettuce and spinach topped with fresh cut vegetables, and green beans seasoned with original Mrs. Dash (sodium-free) seasoning. For dessert, Lori recommends a strawberry covered in dark chocolate. Not in the mood for chicken? You can find an array of heart-healthy recipes from the American Heart Association for the perfect meal for you and your sweetheart.
Denise Pinkney is an editor in the Communications department at Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota.