Eat Smart

Who Says Valentine’s Day Can’t Be Healthy?

 

Valentine’s Day is either your favorite day of the year or your worst nightmare. This year, get excited for the devoted day regardless of whether you spend it snuggled up to your new beau or hosting your own “Gal-entine’s Day” with your favorite gal pals and snazzy snacks. This “lovely” holiday is never complete without tasty treats, and what’s better than red and pink chocolatey goodness for only half the calories? With these yummy, low-calorie recipes, you’ll be sure to capture the heart of someone special!

 

Dark Chocolate Covered Strawberries
Have a sweet ‘n savory treat with this classic concoction. Dark chocolate is known to help lower your risk of heart disease, so this dessert is sure to make both your stomach and your heart happy.

Ingredients

  • Fresh strawberries
  • 2 cups (12 ounces) dark chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup (3 ounces) white chocolate, optional for drizzling
  • Double-boiler or heatproof bowl and saucepan
  • Heatproof spatula
  • Parchment, wax paper
  • Baking sheet
  • Small plastic bag

Directions

  1. Rinse the strawberries under cold water and pat dry. The strawberries need to be completely dry before dipping, so spread them out and let them air-dry if necessary.
  2. Fill the bottom of the double-boiler or saucepan with an inch or two of water and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Transfer all chocolate into the double-boiler or heatproof bowl and set over the simmering water. Let the chocolate melt until no lumps remain, then remove the bowl from heat.
  3. Dip strawberries one at a time in melted chocolate, coat fully, then lift the strawberries out and shake gently to remove excess chocolate. Lay strawberries on baking sheet to harden.
  4. If you choose to drizzle white chocolate on the strawberries, melt the white chocolate in 15 second intervals, stirring in between, then use a spoon to drizzle chocolate over the hardened strawberries.
  5. Let dry and serve when set.


Layered Strawberry Jell-O Cups
This fun and fruity dessert is perfect for when you want a sweet treat that is light and easy to make!

 Ingredients

  • 5 packets of strawberry Jell-O mix
  • Water
  • 2 cups of Cool Whip, plus more for topping
  • Strawberries, to top each parfait

*In order to get evenly distributed layers that you can clearly see, it is important that you let each layer set before adding the next one. Depending on how many cups you make, you may have leftover mixtures.*

Directions

  1. Layer 1, Layer 3, and Layer 5: Combine 1 cup of boiling water in a bowl with 1 packet of Jell-O mix. Stir until dissolved. Add 1 cup of cold water and stir. Evenly divide this mixture among the cups you’ll be using. Refrigerate until set, about 1-2 hours. Repeat steps for Layers 3 and 5.
  2. Layer 2 and Layer 4: Combine 1 cup of boiling water in a bowl with a packet of Jell-O mix. Stir until dissolved. Add 1 cup of cold water and stir. Add in 1 cup of cool whip. Stir until mixed. Evenly divide this mixture among the cups you’ll be using, layering on top of the previous Jell-O layer. Separation may occur, causing a lighter and darker layer. Refrigerate until set, 1-2 hours. Repeat steps for Layer 4.
  3. Finish by topping with Cool Whip and sliced strawberries.

 

Paleo Chocolate Truffles
Valentine’s Day is all about chocolate, and this year is no exception. For all of those people who love this tasty treat, this recipe is for you. Get the same delicious taste of thick, creamy, chocolate with this healthier alternative to the classic truffle.

Ingredients

  • 5 cups raw cashews
  • 12 dates
  • 3 Tbsp. honey
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 Tbsp. cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut, plus 1 cup for rolling truffles in

 Directions

  • Soak the dates overnight in water.
  • Put all ingredients (minus extra coconut) into a food processor and blend until a paste forms. Scoop out mixture and place in clean bowl.
  • Cover bowl and put into fridge to chill for at least one hour. Once chilled and firm, scoop even amounts of dough out and roll into balls.
  • Roll in shredded coconut, and place in fridge to firm up. You can also freeze these for use later.

 

Strawberry Mint Spritzer
This Valentine’s Day, get the best of both worlds with this creative concoction that goes great both with and without alcohol. However, if you choose to make it, this sassy spritzer will have you dancing the night away with your favorite girlfriends.

Ingredients

  • 1 bottle Sake – any kind will do
  • 1 bottle Dry Champagne
  • 1 pint strawberries
  • 6 Meyer lemons (or 3-4 regular lemons)
  • 3-4 sprigs of mint
  • Vanilla Stevia, to add flavor

Directions

  1. Slice your strawberries into vertical slivers, tear mint leaves roughly, and add both to a large pitcher.
  2. Squeeze the juice of 6 Meyer lemons and gently mash the ingredients using a wooden spoon.
  3. Add equal parts Sake & Champagne, and lots of ice.
  4. Squeeze a dropper full of vanilla stevia into each glass before serving.

 

Strawberry and Cream Cashew Cookie Bites
These “pretty in pink” treats are delicious to look at and eat! With few ingredients and no actual cream, these no-bake energy bites are the perfect way to have a sweet ‘n salty treat to keep your body going.

Ingredients (Makes approx. 40 bites)

  • 1 cup raw cashews
  • 6 medjool dates, pits removed
  • 1/2 cup freeze-dried strawberries
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • A pinch of salt flakes

Directions

  • Place cashews in food processor/blender and pulse until crumbly. You want there to still be a few bigger chunks to give the bites some nice texture.
  • Add dates and pulse until the mixture starts to come together to form a sticky “dough.” Add vanilla extract and salt flakes and pulse again to combine.
  • Finally, add your freeze-dried strawberries and pulse until combined. Using your hands, roll approx. 1 heaping teaspoon of dough into a little bite-sized ball, then transfer to an airtight container (or even just a Ziploc bag) and store in the fridge until you are ready to eat. Repeat steps until batter is gone.

 

By Annie O’Sullivan

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