February is a banner month to put nutrition front and center. For starters, there’s still time to make good on New Year’s resolutions — at least that’s what I tell my customers. It’s never too late to start a healthy lifestyle, and that includes eating, food shopping and exercise.
And at the top of many lists for this month is the fact that February is Heart Month. Check out the resources from the American Heart Association, which features a combination of the “Go Red” theme and heart health. Even Valentine’s Day can take on a heart healthy theme. February 22, Ash Wednesday, introduces the beginning of Lent for some and a focus on meatless meals for many.
It’s a short but busy month — and there is that extra day since 2012 is a Leap Year. Wow… there are lots of ways to feature health:
• Check out the American Heart Association website and think about partnering on some Go Red or heart-healthy meal ideas.
• Feature red fruits and veggies and the phytonutrients they provide. What about a red lettuce salad with red bell pepper and dried cranberries with a raspberry vinaigrette? Or, anyone for sautéed red Swiss chard with red onions? Or a fruit salad with pink grapefruit (it’s okay to stray a little bit on your colors), apples and strawberries or raspberries?
• Pair some heart-healthy foods for a Valentine’s day meal — red snapper or salmon with red bell peppers and tomatoes. Add some baby red-skin potatoes roasted with rosemary. Don’t forget that (fortunately) red wine and chocolate have some heart healthy benefits… in moderation of course!
• Spotlight meatless meal ideas to kick off Lent. Along with seafood, think lentils (and yes, there are red lentils), split peas, beans and one of the trendy food makeovers — dressed-up Mac and Cheese. Combine the old favorites with ideas to keep the food heart healthy, such as lower-fat cheeses, chopped veggies, heart-healthy fats and oils.
• Combine the heart-healthy, meatless and leap year theme to focus on the extra time you gain (and the money you can save) by cooking at home or buying prepared foods (healthy ones of course) rather than eating out.
• Put registered dietitians front and center with chefs to combine nutrition, smart-shopping and culinary tips.
February is great month to put new energy into the resolutions made on January 1 and to get ready for March — National Nutrition Month!
[Photo credit: Becka Spence]