Heart Healthy Valentine recipes

WTOL/FOX Heart Healthy Valentines 2013!

Tina Miller, MS RD Meijer Dietitian and Healthy Living Advisor

For more recipes and healthy living tips visit www.meijermealbox.com

February is a great time to focus on foods that support a healthy heart. The challenge comes with Valentine's Day when we want to shower our sweethearts with foods of love and gifts of chocolate. We've put together some strategies to keep Valentine's Day special, without overindulging. This month we also offer up ideas for "better for you" treats to make at home (see www.meijerhealtyliving.com) and healthier affordable recipes to enjoy all month long.

Valentine Substitutions:

High Calorie Food Lower Calorie Alternative Calories Saved

Chocolate Martini:

438 calories, 20g fat

Red Wine (4 oz.): 100 calories, 0g fat 338 calories and 20g fat!

Flourless Chocolate Cake: 450 Calories, 34g fat Chocolate Brownie (2" square): 243 Calories, 10g fat 207 calories and 24g fat

Mini Chocolate Éclair: 295 calories, 18g fat Godiva Amaretto Truffle (1 piece): 110 calories, 6.5g fat 185 calories and 11.5g fat

Chocolate Mousse: 380 calories, 15g fat Large Strawberry dipped in dark chocolate: 48 calories, 2g fat 332 calories and 13g fat

Restaurant style Chocolate molten cake with 1 scoop vanilla ice cream: 1,270 calories, 62g fat Chocolate frosted cake (1 piece): 385 calories, 15g fat 885 calories and 47g fat

Healthier Recipes to Enjoy All Month Long:

Lean meat is rich in protein and low in saturated fat; making it a good fit for heart healthy diets. However, going meatless just one day a week may reduce your risk of chronic preventable conditions like cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and obesity.

Our Savory Mushroom-Rice Bowl is a meatless recipe that uses dark greens and whole grains which are top foods for heart health. These foods provide fiber and protective antioxidants that contribute to healthier cholesterol levels and may help reduce risk for heart disease.

Thai Beef Lettuce Wraps use lean beef, antioxidant rich spices and leafy greens to create a naturally heart healthy meal. Lean beef, in moderation, can actually help to lower bad (LDL) cholesterol levels according to researchers from Penn State who were part of the BOLD study (Beef in an Optimal Lean Diet).

Finally, enjoy our simple to prepare strawberries dipped in chocolate – great for dessert or for gift giving. These berries are a "better for you" alternative at a fraction of the calories of most desserts and confections.

Savory Mushroom-Rice Bowl

Serves 4

1 Tbsp. Meijer extra virgin olive oil – on hand

1/3 Cup sliced red onion (NuVal® score 93) - $0.20

4 cups (about 12 oz.) sliced mini bella mushrooms (NuVal® score 99) - $3.00

1/2 cup Meijer Naturals vegetable stock - $0.32

6 cups Earth Bound Farm Organics mixed baby kale (NuVal® score 99) - $2.66

1/4 cup dried cranberries - $0.31

2 tsp. chopped fresh thyme (or 3/4 tsp. McCormick dried thyme) – on hand

4 cups cooked Meijer instant brown rice (NuVal® score 82) or Brown rice and quinoa blend - $1.67

McCormick Sea salt and ground pepper to taste – on hand

1/4 cup toasted pine nuts - (NuVal® score 46) - $0.55

 Total Cost: $8.71


  1. Lightly toast pine nuts in a small skillet (3-4 minutes) on stove top over medium heat (watch closely to avoid burning).
  2. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat about 1 minute.  Add onion and mushrooms, season with salt and pepper, and sauté 3-4 minutes.
  3. Add broth and kale; cook and stir about 3 minutes, until kale wilts.
  4. Stir in cranberries and thyme.  Lightly season again with salt and pepper.  Cook 2-3 minutes, until cranberries begin to plump.
  5. Divide warm rice evenly into four bowls and top with mushroom mixture.  Garnish with toasted pine nuts.

Nutrition Information (per serving):  380 calories, 11g fat, 1g saturated fat, 0mg cholesterol, 212mg sodium, 62g carbohydrate, 7g fiber, 12g protein.

 Recipe adapted from Meijer Healthy Living Naturally TryFoods International (www.meijermealbox.com)

Thai Beef Lettuce Wraps

Serves 4

1 lb. Meijer Certified Angus Ground Beef from Round (NuVal® score 30) - $2.99

1/4 cup chopped red onion - (NuVal® score 93) - $0.15

1 Tbsp. Meijer extra virgin olive oil – on hand

1 clove garlic, minced - (NuVal® score 91) – on hand

1/2 tsp. McCormick ground ginger – on hand

Juice of 3 limes - $1.00

2 to 3 tsp. Sriracha chili sauce - $0.38

1/4 cup matchstick carrots - (NuVal® score 96) - $0.30

1/2 cup (or more) chopped cilantro or parsley (NuVal® score 99) - $0.35

1/2 cup diced green onion (NuVal® score 100) - $0.35

8 large lettuce leafs (dark green or red leaf) - (NuVal® score 100) - $1.10

Total Cost: $6.67


1. In a large skillet brown onion and ground beef, lightly season with salt and pepper. Set aside.

2. In a mixing bowl, whisk together olive oil, garlic, ginger, lime juice and Sriracha chili sauce. Add carrots, cilantro or parsley, green onion and cooked ground beef and mix well.

3. Spoon evenly into lettuce leaves and serve.

Nutrition Information (per serving): 290 calories, 13g Fat, 76mg Cholesterol, 653mg Sodium, 13g Carbohydrate, 3g Fiber, 27g Protein.

Recipe source: Easy Meals Healthy Families guidebook available at www.meijerhealthyliving.com

Chocolate Covered Strawberries:

1 quart ripe Strawberries, washed and pat dry

6 oz. (about 1 1/4 cup) Dark Cocoa Candy Melts (Wilton® - in bake-ware aisle)

Decorative sprinkles, coconut, or finely ground nuts

1. Line a baking pan or large oblong casserole dish with parchment or wax paper.

2. Microwave chocolates in a microwave safe bowl for 1 minute at 50% power. Stir and microwave another 20-30 seconds (do not overcook). Stir again.

3. Dip strawberries in chocolate, allowing excess to drip off tip of berry. Dip in sprinkles or other toppings if desired and place in prepared pan.

4. Refrigerate for a few minutes until chocolate is hard. Enjoy!

5. Berries will keep for up to 3 days in the refrigerator.

Nutrition Information (per 2 berry serving): 102 calories, 6g fat, 1mg cholesterol, 13g carbohydrate, 1g fiber, 10mg sodium, 1g protein.

Recipe source: Meijerhealthyliving.com