Lynn Beattie, Department of Public Health.
Lynn is a Nutrition Education Specialist with DPH.
Even before the thought of having a true Valentine, I couldn’t have been more excited for the candy inside those Disney character cards back in elementary school. The chocolates, conversational hearts, and red hot cinnamon imperials were a must on February 14th. I understand that this day happens to be reserved for more than just candy—love, romance, flowers, cards. Nevertheless can we agree that regardless of age, everyone likes a piece of delicious candy on Valentine’s Day?
Valentine’s Day was created to honor St. Valentine, a priest of Rome many years ago. But, who is this mysterious saint and where did these traditions come from? One legend suggests that Emperor Claudius II decided that single men made better soldiers than those with wives and families; he outlawed marriage for young men (his crop of potential soldiers). St. Valentine didn’t believe in this new law and continued to perform marriages for young lovers in secret.
Although St. Valentine had nothing to do with the addition of candy to the holiday, that doesn’t change the fact that Valentine’s Day wouldn’t be the same without it.
If you’re going to eat a piece of candy, chocolate isn’t a bad choice. Last year, my husband gave me pomegranate seeds covered in dark chocolate. They were tasty and healthy too! Just remember these few tips:
• Skip the sugar-packed lollipops and other hard candies that don’t provide any nutritional value.
• Try chocolate covered fruit (strawberries, apple wedges, red grapes, cherries, and melon slices). Serve it with low-fat strawberry ice cream or frozen yogurt.
• Make your own chocolate bark by melting semi-sweet or dark chocolate morsels and mix with dried cranberries, almonds, walnuts and golden raisins. Pour the chocolate mixture on a cookie sheet covered with aluminum foil. Allow the mixture to cool in the refrigerator. Once the bark is completely set, break into small, uneven pieces with clean hands.
There are plenty of other red and pink foods to eat on this holiday. Add tomatoes, beets, or roasted red peppers to a meal. Top pork chops with a cranberry sauce. Place baked salmon or shrimp on top of pasta with a red sauce. The possibilities are endless!
What do you plan to eat on Valentine’s Day? Let us know!Tweet