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Have a Heart-Healthy, Diabetes-Friendly Valentine's

Have a Heart-Healthy, Diabetes-Friendly Valentine's

By Marcia Mangum Cronin

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I love Valentine's Day and not just because it's a chance to celebrate romance. I like any excuse for a fancy dinner with the people I love. 

I prefer to eat at home on Valentine's because I don't like to fight crowds. And, when we had children at home, I wanted to include them in our special meal. 

Traditionally, I set the table with red and pink linens and flowers, and we enjoy a candlelight dinner of seafood, artichokes and chocolate. The precise menu varies, but those are usually the basics.

My kids are no longer home, but I continue this tradition for my husband and me. As we get older, it becomes more important to consider our dietary habits, even on special occasions. We're fortunate that we don't have any serious restrictions, but we are trying to eat more seafood and veggies and limit things that could raise cholesterol. That means our basic menu is still pretty good—just need to limit the butter on the artichokes.

For those with diabetes, Amy Riolo, spokesperson for the American Diabetes Association's new book Quick Diabetic Recipes for Dummies, offers suggestions for a homemade diabetes-friendly and heart-healthy Valentine's dinner. Quick Diabetic Recipes for Dummies has hundreds of quick and easy diabetes-friendly recipes and includes the best food choices for diabetes, the basics of diabetes nutrition and how to find a meal plan that works for you. 

Riolo, an author and chef, along with the American Diabetes Association, offers these recipes for a gourmet meal that will make you and your sweetheart happy, even if one of you has diabetes. And remember, you're not alone: over 30 million Americans have diabetes. 

Whip up some or all of these dishes and enjoy a special day with your sweetie! 

Start with shrimp and radicchio salad, which gives you a good serving of protein, plus healthy vitamins and minerals. Not to mention taste! If don't eat shrimp, you can substitute scallops or chicken.

Warm up the evening with a hearty chicken with mushroom cream sauce entrée. You won't even miss those artery-clogging ingredients too often found in creamy dishes. 

Complement the chicken dish with a side of sautéed sweet peppers—packed with vitamins and flavor. 

And finish the meal with an elegant strawberries Romanoff, which you can even top with a diabetes-friendly whipped cream. 

Happy Valentine's and happy dining! 

About Amy Riolo: Amy Riolo is an award-winning, best-selling author, chef, television personality, cuisine and culture expert, educator and the editor of the American Diabetes Association's new book Quick Diabetic Recipes for Dummies. She is known for sharing history, culture, and nutrition through global cuisine. A graduate of Cornell University, Amy is considered a culinary thought leader who enjoys changing the way we think about food and the people who create it.

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