DHEC offers healthier alternatives for Valentine’s Day

Courtsey of: Sliceofchic

COLUMBIA, SC – The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) wants you to not only show love to your significant other but your health as well.

What better way to say I love you than preparing a healthy homemade meal for the one you love? Make this Valentine’s Day extra special by cooking at home. You will not only spoil that special someone, but you will also keep your heart and body happy by including heart healthy foods. Impress your date without indulging in excess calories. DHEC encourages you to try these easy recipes and health tips on Valentine’s Day.

10 Heart Healthy Foods to Include in your Valentine’s Day plans

  1. Fish
  2. Nuts
  3. Flax Seed
  4. Red Wine
  5. Dark Chocolate
  6. Tofu
  7. Berries
  8. Tomatoes
  9. Beans
  10. Oats

5 Healthy Valentine’s Day Tips

  1. Cook at home: Preparing a meal at home not only keeps your wallet happy but also keeps your body happy. Restaurants add lots of extra fats and salt to foods; when you are the cook you control the ingredients used.
  2. Share Your Sweets: Don’t overindulge in candy and chocolates given by loved ones. Remember there aren’t many nutritious benefits in these treats so watch portion sizes and eat only a small amount. If you need to share with others to avoid going overboard.
  3. Plan an active date night: Instead on planning your date night around food and treats, do something fun like taking a romantic hike or going on a scenic bike ride.
  4. Think Red: Red is not only the color of love but red foods are good for your heart. Full of antioxidants, fiber, and key vitamins; including red foods can be a great way to celebrate love for each other and your heart.
  5. Don’t Deprive Yourself: Remember that the day is supposed to be focused on spending time with those you love. Enjoy the day and don’t be afraid to eat a small treat to celebrate. Dark Chocolate has been shown to have nutritious properties through its antioxidants benefiting our health.

  Roasted Salmon, Green Beans, and Tomatoes courtesy of : Flickr4jazz


  • 6 clove garlic
  • 1 lb. green beans
  • 1 pt. grape tomatoes
  • ½ c. pitted kalamata olives
  • 3 anchovy fillets
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • kosher salt
  • Pepper
  • 1 skinless salmon fillet


  1. Heat oven to 425 degrees F. On a large rimmed baking sheet toss together the garlic, beans, tomatoes, olives, and anchovies (if using) with 1 tablespoon oil and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Roast until the vegetables are tender and beginning to brown, 12 to 15 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, heat the remaining tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Season the salmon with 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper and cook until golden brown and opaque throughout, 4 to 5 minutes per side. Serve with the vegetables.

 Chunky Oatmeal Cookies


  • ½ cup unsalted butter
  • ½ cup white granulated sugar
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 Tablespoons nonfat milk
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1½ cups quick-cooking rolled oats
  • 1 cup of “mix-ins,” such as chopped dried fruit, chocolate chips, or chopped nuts
  • Non-stick cooking spray


  • Baking sheet
  • Large bowl
  • Measuring cups
  • Measuring spoons
  • Microwave-safe bowl
  • Rubber spatula
  • Sharp knife


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
    2. Cut butter stick in half. Soften at room temperature. Or, place in a microwave safe bowl. Heat in microwave for 10–15 seconds to soften. Be careful not to melt butter.
    3. In a large bowl, blend butter, white sugar, and brown sugar, using a rubber spatula or fork. Mix until light and creamy.
    4. Crack egg into bowl. Add milk and vanilla. Mix until smooth.
    5. Add flour, salt, and baking soda. Mix until just blended. Do not overmix.
    6. Add rolled oats and “mix-ins.” Mix until all ingredients are blended.
    7. Lightly coat a baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray.
    8. Scoop 1 Tablespoon of dough per cookie. Use your hands to shape dough into a ball. Place 2 inches apart on the baking sheet.
    9. Bake until cookies are lightly browned on bottom, about 8–10 minutes. Remove from oven. Let sit 2–3 minutes to firm up before removing from baking sheet. Let cool.
  2. Repeat steps 7–9 until all cookies are baked.