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Give the gift of a healthy heart during February, American Heart Association month

SAN ANTONIO, Texas – February is American Heart Association month. The perfect month to give a heart healthy gift for that “special” someone – whether you’re a couple, single, old, young or somewhere in between, the month of February has made its mark on our society as a time to express love. Nicole Kerr MPH, RD the Air Force Health Promotion Nutrition Manager, has contributed health and nutrition articles to USAF FitFamily as well as offering advice for its latest weight loss section, USAF LivingFit. Here are some ideas for sharing “heart” healthy gifts all month long!

Give a Rainbow of colorful fruits and vegetables basket!
Red, green, blue and purple, white, orange and yellow fruits and vegetables make a delightful expression of love and a basket of them will make a perfect start to a healthy heart. People who eat more generous amounts of fruits and vegetables as part of a healthy diet are likely to have reduced risk of chronic diseases, including strokes, type 2 diabetes, some types of cancer, and perhaps even heart disease and high blood pressure. “Diet is extremely important to the heart.” says Nicole, “Try eating foods in their basic form without preservatives for the best nutritional value.”

Share a little music for the soul and get moving!
Exercise is a critical component to maintain a healthy heart. For many of us the key to a good workout parallels with what music we listen to – whether it’s running to tunes, or just dancing. It’s the perfect time to buy some energizing romantic music for you, your child or significant other to workout by, or purchase a dance music workout DVD. Advice from Nicole: “Do the activities you love to do – the bottom line is to make it fun”. Go online for great music downloads and DVD selections!

Enjoy a delectable healthy heart meal!
Cook dinner for those you love. Treat everyone’s heart to the gift of an amazing dining experience! February is the perfect time to show your love by preparing and dining on a heart healthy meal.  There’s a huge section on, or enjoy Nicole’s heart healthy favorites.

Grilled Rosemary-Salmon Skewers
4 servings, 2 skewers each | Active Time: 30 minutes | Total Time: 30

If you can find (or grow) them, use sturdy rosemary branches, stripped of
leaves, as skewers for these Italian salmon kebabs; they'll add a subtle,
smoky flavor that hints of pine. Oil your grill well to prevent sticking,
don't move the kebabs around unnecessarily and keep a close eye on the fire
to avoid flare-ups.

• 2 teaspoons minced fresh rosemary

• 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil

• 2 cloves garlic, minced

• 1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest

• 1 teaspoon lemon juice

• 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

• 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

• 1 pound center-cut salmon fillet, skinned and cut into 1-inch
cubes (Make Ahead Tip: Prepare the skewers, cover and refrigerate for up
to 8 hours.)

• 1 pint cherry tomatoes

2 servings | Active Time: 15 minutes | Total Time: 15 minutes

Chocolate Fondue
The chocolate will stiffen if it gets cold, so enjoy it while it's still
warm. Skewer and dip anything you like-pear slices, dried apricots, all
kinds of berries.

• 3 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped

• 2 tablespoons nonfat yogurt or low-fat soymilk

• 1 tablespoon instant brewed espresso 

• 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

• Pinch of salt

• 1 banana, peeled and cut into 8 pieces

• 8 1-inch chunks fresh pineapple

• 4 strawberries

Equipment: Fondue forks or bamboo skewers

1.Place chocolate, soymilk/yogurt, espresso, vanilla and salt in a medium
microwave-safe bowl; microwave on Medium, stirring every 20 seconds, until
melted, 1 to 2 minutes. Or place chopped chocolate in the top of a double boiler over
hot, but not boiling water. Gently stir until almost melted. Remove from the
heat and stir until the chocolate melts completely.

2. Pour the chocolate mixture into a serving bowl. Serve with fruit.

Per serving :
345 Calories
19 g Fat
10 g Sat
2 g Mono
20 mg Cholesterol

54 g Carbohydrates
4 g Protein
7 g Fiber
81 mg Sodium
382 mg Potassium

3 Carbohydrate Serving

From EatingWell:  January/February 2008

Invite family and friends to USAF FitFamily with tools to achieve a healthier lifestyle and it’s FREE!
Gift the gift of health by using USAF FitFamily.  FitFamily offers service members and their family’s resources and information on proper nutrition, sports and fitness, games, educational projects and a host of other tips and ideas to keep a family fit. Plus the newest section in USAF FitFamily called USAF LivingFit was designed to help US Air Force members and their families achieve their weight loss goals. With a busy military lifestyle in mind, it’s easy to use and supports members every step of the way – check it out at


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