Chances are you received some sweets from a sweetheart or another loved one this past Valentine’s Day. While savoring a sugary treat from time to time isn’t terrible, it’s important to keep your heart’s health in mind while snacking. Certain foods (such as walnuts, chickpeas, and fruits) have been medically proven to decrease your chance of heart disease. But don’t worry! Your taste buds can still enjoy a delicious (and nutritious) snack! There are plenty of ways to incorporate healthy foods into your favorite treats. Take a look at some of these scrumptious ideas:

Substitute your snacking. It isn’t easy to turn down chocolate or a bag of salty chips. Denying your cravings could make you crash, so substitute the bad sweets for some good sweets! Munch on some walnuts when you want something crunchy. Grab a handful of fresh fruit next time your sweet tooth is calling. These simple substitutions can go a long way.

Try something new. Eating the same health foods over and over gets boring pretty quickly. Be creative in the kitchen instead! Next time you are making breakfast, throw some fresh blueberries in your oatmeal! Making tuna salad? Add some walnuts for flavor and texture. A great way to find new health foods is to check out your local farmers market! The Minneapolis farmers market is held every other Saturday until April. Starting in April the schedule will change and more spring produce will be offered. Many other nearby cities including St. Paul, Hastings, Bloomington and Lakeville offer their own variations so look for the one nearest you. An added bonus is the heart healthy exercise you get while walking the market.

Host a healthy party. Being healthy is easier when you aren’t alone! Host a healthy snack party with new heart-healthy foods. Encourage your friends and loved ones to improve their heart health. Not only will your heart be healthier, but also your mind will be at ease knowing you’ve helped others improve their health. Not into hosting at home? Take your party out on the town and check out Spoonriver, The Good Earth or Birdhouse on Hennepin, which are known as some of the Twin Cities healthiest restaurants.

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