The following article was written by Heinen’s Chief Dietitian, Melanie Jatsek RD, LD.
Preparing a meal for the special people in your life is an expression of love. This Valentine’s Day, I invite you to show your loved ones just how much you care by cooking up a delectable dinner with wholesome ingredients sure to satisfy their hunger and nourish their bodies.
Not sure where to start? Feel free to use—and take full credit for—my Fx™-approved Valentine’s meal below. It’ll be our little secret. And if you really want to wow them with your wisdom, I’ve included some juicy nuggets about the health benefits of each course.
Health Benefit: Compared to grain-fed beef, grass-fed-and-finished beef is higher in heart-healthy, anti-inflammatory omega-3 fats and lower in calories and overall fat.
Veggie Side Dish
Items: Mushrooms + Onions
Health Benefit: Mushrooms are the only food capable of increasing its own vitamin D levels through exposure to UV light. Vitamin D brings balance to your immune system by protecting your cells from chronic inflammation and invaders like viruses (the cause of colds and flu).
Grain-Based Side Dish
Recommended Preparation: Add a bag of frozen Path of Life Quinoa & Kale to a heated skillet with ¼ cup of water and cook for 8 minutes. The combination of garlic, sea salt and pepper in this pre-seasoned side dish gives it just the right amount of flavor.
Health Benefit: The quinoa (pronounced “KEEN-wah”) seed is a complete protein, meaning it contains all nine essential amino acids necessary for good health.
Recommended Preparation: Fill individual dessert cups with sliced strawberries, then top each cup with a dollop or two of the coconut whipped topping. Finish with a few pieces of chopped dark chocolate. My favorite is Hu, a 70% cacao dark chocolate bar made without refined sugar or emulsifiers.
Health Benefit: Dark chocolate (70% cacao and above) contains tryptophan to support a healthy and balanced mood. It’s also one of the highest dietary sources of magnesium.
Item with Alcohol: Organic Wine
Health Benefit of Organic Wine: According to Heinen’s Director of Wine Events, any wine bearing the “USDA Organic” stamp must be farmed and vinified (made into wine) without the use of synthetic pesticides, herbicides, additives or preservatives.
Recommended Preparation: Stir one tablespoon of syrup into 8 ounces of sparkling water and serve in a beautiful wine glass.
Health Benefit of Mocktail: Elderberry is a potent antioxidant with antibacterial and antiviral properties to support your immune system.
Unfairly villainized foods like steak, butter and chocolate made my list of Fx™-approved ingredients for a healthier Valentine’s Day dinner because these specific brands carried at Heinen’s are minimally processed and sourced in a healthful and responsible manner. Isn’t it refreshing to know that you don’t have to sacrifice flavor in the name of health? Wishing you a Valentine’s Day filled with love, peace, health!