Valentine’s Day is often associated with decadent chocolates, rich desserts, and lavish dinners. While it’s great to indulge in some treats on this special day, it’s also essential to prioritise your health and well-being. This Valentine’s Day, why not celebrate love and nutrition together?
With a whopping 62% of Britons saying they spend Valentines Day at home  , treat your loved one (or yourself) to a delicious and health-conscious, Valentine’s Day meal that nourishes both the body and the soul in our guide to a healthy valentine’s meal!
Start with a Colourful Salad
Firstly, begin your romantic meal with a vibrant and flavourful salad. Use a variety of fresh, colourful vegetables like cherry tomatoes, crisp lettuce, cucumber, and peppers. Add some heart-healthy ingredients like nuts or seeds for a nice crunch. Consider drizzling a homemade vinaigrette made with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and a touch of honey for a delightful burst of flavour. For protein, try a heart-healthy fish, such as salmon or trout, which are rich in omega-3 fatty acids. These healthy fats can contribute to cardiovascular health and provide a delicious, savoury taste.
Choose Lean Proteins
For the main course, prioritise lean proteins for a well-balanced and satisfying meal. Grilled chicken, fish, or lean cuts of meat are excellent choices. Try out this delicious recipe from Vavista’s very own, Dr Sally Norton:
Garlic and Balsamic Steak with a Butternut and Beetroot Crisp Bake
The butternut and beetroot bake gives this dish brilliant colour – and with colour comes antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. Plus, it’s fairly quick and easy; but don’t tell your date that! The balsamic dressing uses healthy monounsaturated fats (olive oil) and is a zero salt recipe. Dr Sally recommends coating your steak in the dressing before laying it in the pan for added flavour.
1 small butternut squash, skin on, seeds scooped out and sliced very thinly (1-2mm thick)
2 medium beetroot, skin peeled and sliced into thin disks (1-2mm thick)
1 tbsp dried thyme
200g sirloin steak (2 x 100g)
5 tbsp balsamic dressing (see recipe)
2 handfuls green beans, trimmed
2 handfuls crisp lettuce, washed and coarsely chopped
For the dressing:
Makes 10 servings (1 tbsp each)
6 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp wholegrain mustard
1 tsp clear honey
small garlic clove, crushed
Simply pop all ingredients into a bottle, put the lid on and shake vigorously like a cocktail.
The dressing can be kept in the bottle; shake well before each use.
Remember you can easily double or triple the recipe to make a big bottle or reduce it for a mini-portion which can be taken with you to work.
- Start with the butternut squash and beetroot bake: Preheat the oven to 200˚C. Wash and slice beetroot and squash. Place in a baking dish, drizzle with the 2 tbsp balsamic dressing, sprinkle with the thyme and season with black pepper and a little salt then toss to glaze each piece, before spreading evenly in the dish. Once the oven is ready, pop the bake in to cook for about 20-30 minutes until the top layer starts to curl and crisp-up. Check frequently as they can burn quickly.
- In the meantime, tenderise your steaks: place the steaks in a sturdy freezer bag, drizzle in the balsamic dressing (and any other spices that you fancy) and massage into the steaks. Then lay them flat, grab a rolling pin and beat the steaks gently all over until about 1cm larger in diameter.
- Prepare your pans for the steak and the green beans; you’ll need a non-stick frying pan over a high heat for the steak and a pan of boiling water for the beans. Once the crisp bake is ready, cover the bake with foil and set aside. Add the green beans to the pan of boiling water for 3-5 minutes.
- Ensure your non-stick pan is nice and hot and immediately place each steak onto the pan. Depending on how ‘well-done’ you like your meat, leave to sizzle for 2-5 minutes on each side.
- Dish up the salad and green beans together and toss in a salad bowl with 1 tbsp balsamic dressing. Then pop your crisp bake as a centre-piece on the table and serve your steaks immediately! Great with a little wholegrain mustard (and a small glass of red).
Tip: If you’re not having much luck with thinly slicing the butternut and beetroot (you’ll need an extra sharp knife or mandolin), just cut into 1cm cubes and continue to follow the recipe.
Create a Romantic Atmosphere
Set the mood with a beautifully decorated table, candles, and soft music. Creating a romantic ambiance will enhance the overall dining experience and make your Valentine’s Day meal more memorable.
Share a Healthy Dessert
Indulging in dessert is a Valentine’s Day tradition, but that doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice nutrition. Consider sharing a fruit platter with a dark chocolate dipping sauce. Dark chocolate contains antioxidants and can be a healthier alternative to traditional desserts. Pair it with fresh berries or sliced fruit for a sweet, yet nutritious, ending to your meal.
Additionally, don’t forget to stay hydrated throughout your special evening. Choose water or herbal teas to accompany your meal. If you’re in the mood for a celebratory beverage, consider a glass of red wine, which has been associated with certain heart-healthy benefits when consumed in moderation .
This Valentine’s Day, prioritise both love and nutrition by crafting a meal that nourishes the body and delights the taste buds. By incorporating fresh, wholesome ingredients and making mindful choices, you can enjoy a romantic and above all, a health-conscious celebration. Here’s to a Valentine’s Day filled with love, good food, and overall well-being!
Need more inspiration, check out even more of our recipes here.
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