For those living in an assisted living retirement community, Valentine's Day is a perfect opportunity to make some treats for your friends and family to celebrate the holiday. However, that box of chocolates or traditional festive dessert can pack a lot of calories, sodium and unwanted fat. Luckily, there are a wide range of delicious desserts that make health a priority and are still relatively easy to make. Of course, many seniors likely have their own treasured recipes, but a couple minor adjustments might be all it takes to make them a bit more nutritious. Here are five ideas for healthy Valentine's Day desserts to get you started:
1. Heart-shaped pancakes
A hearty breakfast is a great way to begin Valentine's Day. Keep in mind that you can make your morning flapjacks healthier by being conservative with the butter and syrup. Use low-fat or skim milk to cut down on calories as well. What's more, you can easily load up your pancakes with blueberries, bananas or other fruits. In the spirit of the holiday use a mold or knife to cut the pancakes into heart shapes. To add to the festive aesthetic, include a small amount of red food coloring in the batter to give your pancakes a pink hue.
2. Dark chocolate sorbet
AARP recommends making a boozy sorbet for you and your loved one this Valentine's Day that packs a lot of taste without the fat and calorie count of traditional chocolates. The recipe notes that adding a little bit of liquor or liqueur such as rum or amaretto not only adds to the richness of the flavor, but also softens the texture. Chocolate sorbet seems like the perfect palate cleanser to end a big Valentine's Day dinner.
"Dark chocolate can play a role in preventing diabetes."
3. Fruit dipped in dark chocolate
Dark chocolate is considered a superfood for good reason. According to Women's Health Magazine, dark chocolate can reduce the risk of heart failure, play a role in preventing diabetes and help protect your skin from the sun, among other benefits. Couple this delicious superfood with an array of fruit and you have an infallible dessert. Of course, there are always the traditional chocolate-covered strawberries, but also consider trying out bananas, raspberries, blackberries and cherries. These treats can easily be made and chilled beforehand or you can make a chocolate fondue so that your friends, family or loved ones can dip the fruit of their preference.
4. Strawberry cheesecake
Cheesecake may not seem like the most nutritious dessert, but with a few modifications it can be made much healthier. For example, a recipe by Taste of Home for chocolate-dipped strawberry cheesecake uses fat-free versions of ingredients, such as cream cheese and whipped cream, when possible. Moreover, adding strawberries not only adds some nutritional value to the cheesecake, but also brightens up the color to complement the Valentine's Day theme.
5. Kale brownies
Putting greens into brownies might seem like a stretch, but expert food blogger Chocolate Covered Katie has made both zucchini and kale brownies a reality. The blog specifically focuses on healthy desserts, and in the past has included recipes such as cauliflower cake and chickpea blondies, which makes it a great resource year-round. However, brownies loaded with chocolate chips seem a perfect dessert for Valentine's Day. Although, the source notes that while this dessert tastes great, you will be able to notice pieces of the green vegetable throughout the brownies. With that said, if you're a bit more picky about your desserts, this recipe may not be for you.