Eat Right Georgia

Valentine’s Day Recipe Round-Up

Valentine’s Day Recipe Round-Up: Georgia dietitians dish out healthier sweet treats
Caroline Young Bearden, Dietetic Intern

The tradition of eating candy on Valentine’s Day started in 1840 when Richard Cadbury produced an excess of cocoa butter, and decided to use it to make chocolates. He stuffed them into pretty heart-shaped boxes covered in images of cupid, and the rest is history.

Fast Forward 176 years later, and around 58 million pounds of chocolate are being sold this week in America.   And nearly 75 percent of Americans will be giving some kind of candy to their loved ones.

This year, five Georgia registered dietitian nutritionists are helping their clients and readers think outside the chocolate box to celebrate Valentine’s Day. Their healthy and delicious recipes feature festive ingredients like pomegranates, cherries, and of course, our beloved chocolate.

To put a healthy spin on a popular sweet treat, try Heart Shaped Angel Food Cake Pops from Kristen Smith, MS, RDN, LD, of 360 Family Nutriton. The simple, three-ingredient recipe provides a lower-fat and lower-calorie version to traditional cake pops.


If you prefer to bake your treats, try Chocolate Cherry Avocado Muffins, created by Lesley Baradel, MBA, MS, RDN, LD and Ann Dunaway Teh, MS, RDN, CCSD, LD, of MyMenuPal. Each muffin has 5 grams of protein from ground flaxseed. Plus, they are loaded with healthy fats from avocado and the flax.

For our candy lovers, Ashley Van Cise, RDN, LD, of Wisdom Kitchen, has a recipe for Dark Chocolate Bark with Dried Goji Berries, Pistachios and Crystalized Ginger. The antioxidant-rich recipe only requires five ingredients. Plus, you can customize or work with what’s already in the pantry, as the berries and pistachios can be subbed for any dried fruit or nut.


For a Valentine’s-themed lunch, try a Love-Your-Heart Bowl with Orange and Tahini dressing from Margot Witteveen, MS, RDN, LD, of Silver Spoons Nutrition. While she created the recipe in light of the American Heart Association’s National Wear Red Day on February 5, it makes for the perfect Valentine’s dish with its heart-healthy ingredients, and punches of red and pink among the leafy greens and barley. Plus, the maple syrup and orange juice dressing sweetens it right up. 

From sprinkles to salmon, these unique recipes offer a little bit of something for everyone. Whether it’s for a client, significant other, children, friends or relatives, there is no better way to show your love than to share a nutritious treat.



  1. Butler, S. Celebrating Valentine’s Day with a Box of Chocolates. History website. Available at: Published February 8, 2013. Accessed February 9, 2016.
  2. Neilson: U.S. Consumers Show their Love for Chocolate on Valentine’s Day. Nielson website. Available at: . Published February 4, 2009. Accessed February 9, 2016.
  3. History of Valentine’s Day. History website. Available at: Accessed February 9, 2016.
  4. Americans Enjoy Valentine’s Treats in Moderation. National Confectioners Association website. Available at: Published February 8, 2016. Accessed February 9, 2016.




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