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Dear Cupid: We Heart These Healthy V-Day Treats

We love Valentine’s Day, but we don’t necessary adore what it does to our waistlines. This year, skip the madness that is boxed chocolates and candy hearts and instead ask your sweetheart for the following healthier — and tastier — alternatives.

1. Conscious cookies. When it comes to baking up a batch, cutting back on sugars and incorporating whole grains does wonders for a cookie’s nutritional value. Using healthy alternatives (i.e. honey instead of sugar, ground almonds instead of flour) is another way to show you care about your loved one. Here are ten guilt-free recipes to try.

2. Dark chocolate. Packed with antioxidants, research shows that this divine treat can lower blood pressure and reduce risk of heart attack and stroke. Just be sure to choose chocolates that are made up of at least 70 percent cocoa or cacao — this is the bean we can thank for powerful flavonoids.

3. Fresh fruit. The all-natural sugars will satisfy a sweet tooth and you get plenty of vitamins and nutrients. The only caveat? Don’t overindulge in the servings. Instead, bag up the fruit that freezes well, like berries, and save them for future smoothies.

4. Red wine. Instead of being tempted by dessert that’s high in fat and calories, treat yourself to one or two four-ounce glasses of red wine. (This is the amount that the American Heart Association considers to be moderate wine consumption.) Research continues to debate its potential benefits from lowering the risk of heart disease to promoting longevity, but what we do know is that the beverage carries polyphenols, which help to protect the blood vessels in your heart. Again, the key is moderation.

Find more information on how Independence Blue Cross can be a part of your plan for health and wellness.

Sponsor content is created for IBX by Philadelphia magazine as a marketing collaboration with IBX. This material is intended for reference and information only and should not be used in place of advice from a doctor or suitable qualified healthcare professional.