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February, 2009

February brings us two important celebrations: American Heart Month and the most romantic holiday of the year, Valentine’s Day.

Strawberry and Crepe with Chocolate Dessert

Celebrate American Heart Month by following some of these easy tips:

• Don’t stand around the food area at parties; this only invites unconscious snacking on usually high-fat foods.

• Serve plenty of fruits and vegetables, cut into easy bite-size pieces or mixed into a party mix. Melissa’s has some great suggestions like dried sweet roasted corn, dried fruits like cranberries, blueberries & strawberries, or trail mix with raisins. Eating these healthy snacks can also help fulfill your 5-a-day for better health requirement!

• Don’t eat wasted calories that have no nutritional value. Stay away from high-sugar sodas and head to the bottled water. Remember, drinking 8 glasses of water a day will help you stay healthy and look better. • Meat alternatives are the greatest thing created. Veggie hot dogs and burgers made with low-fat vegetarian ingredients are a winner for taste and health. Eat them with all the extras for a very tasty meal; Stay away from the fatty mayo and secret sauce! You can even top them with veggie cheese!

• Eat tofu in your daily diet. Studies have shown that tofu can help reduce the risk for cancer. It can be used as a sauce ingredient instead of mayo and even substituted for eggs. Try cubing some into your next stir-fry or soup and see how easy it really is.

Make 2009 a healthy year. Starting with February American Heart Month, you will be well on your way!

February also brings us the romantic holiday of Valentine’s Day. Valentine’s Day dates back to 269 A.D. when Emperor Claudius II forbade any marriages. Valentine would secretly marry couples and eventually got caught. Ironically, Claudius had executed Valentine on the holiday that honored Juno, the Roman goddess of women and marriage. The festival of Lupercalia followed, where boys drew the names of girls from a jar and paired up for the festivities. In 496 A.D., Pope Gelasius set aside February 14 to honor Valentine as Saint Valentine and it has been referred to as such ever since.

Today’s traditions including sending or giving flowers, candy, cards and a romantic evening with your loved one. Preparing a healthy meal with your loved one is always special, too!