Posted by: Terri Mendoza – WIC Nutritionist
Ah, tis the season for love, romance, and…tempting high-fat, high-sugar foods! The fall and winter months are packed with opportunities to indulge in foods that are not very healthy. Halloween candy is quickly followed by Thanksgiving carbs–stuffing AND potatoes, anyone? Christmas and New Year’s Eve offer yet more delicacies, and then come our favorite hefty Super Bowl snacks. What’s someone to do who wants to acknowledge Valentine’s Day, the last of these calorie-packed celebrations, but still keep an eye on their waistline? Luckily, there are great alternatives to those heart-shaped candy boxes. Giving flowers but not candy, preparing a healthy meal, or just spending time with that special someone are all great ideas for making Valentine’s Day a little less “sweet” but equally special.
But since chocolate is the first thing to come to mind when talking about Valentine’s Day, you may be glad to know that it’s okay for most people to go ahead—in moderation! Luckily for us chocolate lovers, dark chocolate (but not milk or white chocolate) has actually been found to have health benefits, including lowering blood pressure and other heart-healthy effects. But remember that it can still be a source of calories, sugar, and fat, so watch how much you eat and don’t substitute even dark chocolate for healthier foods. When it comes to chocolate, the darker the better, since it has the most health benefits, so look for ones with a high percentage of cocoa. (Just be aware that the higher the percentage, the more bitter the taste.) Here are some ideas for making your chocolate choices more nutritious:
- Pair melted dark chocolate with fruit–raspberries, strawberries, and bananas are particularly delicious!
- Enjoy chocolate with nuts. Almonds are a long-time favorite, but there are other combinations of dark chocolate covered nuts that you might like just as well.
- Warm up with reduced-fat and low-sugar hot chocolate mixes. Find your favorite and you won’t miss the added cream and sugar!
Enjoy, and Happy Valentine’s Day! How do you plan to spend your Valentine’s Day? We’d love to hear from you!
Back to School Already?? Quick & Healthy Lunch Tips! posted on Sep 1
By Cassandra Becker It’s nearing the end of summer and time for that last summer hurrah. But if you are like most families, it’s also time to start getting ready for your kids to go back to school. Summer offered lots of fresh fruits and …Continue Reading Back to School Already?? Quick & Healthy Lunch Tips!
Send Your Children Back to School Protected from Serious Diseases posted on Aug 31
Back-to-school season is here. While you are gathering the necessary school supplies, like new clothes and back packs, make sure you schedule an appointment with your child’s healthcare provider for their annual wellness visit. As part of this visit your child may receive a recommended vaccine. Schools …Continue Reading Send Your Children Back to School Protected from Serious Diseases
Do You Have a Picky Eater in the Family? posted on Aug 25
By Jennifer Navaroli, RD, LDN and Kaitlin Barragan, RD, LDN “No broccoli for me! I don’t want anything green!” Sound familiar? Picky eating is a common frustration that many parents may struggle with at one point or another. Some may worry that their child is …Continue Reading Do You Have a Picky Eater in the Family?