Forgot the Flowers? Take Heart and Make a Healthy, Romantic Feast

By Posted on you wake up this morning to the realization that it’s Valentine’s Day and – oh no – you haven’t gotten the gift. Although there’s still time to get flowers, chocolate and other traditional presents, don’t panic, I’ve got a plan ready to go so you can wow your main squeeze with your culinary prowess.

Follow these instructions and you can serve a simple, tasty and elegant meal. And, it’s packed with colorful, cancer-fighting, health promoting foods – with just the right balance of a sweet ending.

Menu: Fruitful Salad with Walnuts, Cranberry Roasted Chicken, Maple-Topped Sweet Potatoes, Hot Broccoli, Chocolate & Strawberry Angel Cake

 Shopping list:

  • Pre-washed salad greens in bag or box
  • 1 Small head of broccoli crown or 1 bunch asparagus
  • 2 medium sweet potatoes
  • 1 Apple or pear
  • 12 large fresh strawberries (sliced, frozen berries work too)
  • Cranberry chutney (jar)
  • Small bag walnut pieces
  • Maple syrup or honey
  • Red pepper flakes
  • Raspberry vinaigrette
  • Store roasted chicken, whole or breast
  • Prepared Angel food cake
  • Dark Chocolate bar (70% cocoa)
  • Candles, red napkins, red rose(s)

 Preparation: 1 hour before dinner:

  • Wash sweet potatoes and place on chopping board. Slice crosswise into 1-inch rounds. Peel each round and place in microwaveable casserole dish. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons of maple syrup or honey. Set aside.
  • Wash broccoli (or asparagus) and cut broccoli into florets. You can see picture of florets here. Put ½ cup water in small saucepan.
  • Wash and slice strawberries, sprinkle with 1-2 teaspoons sugar and gently toss to bring out a little juice. Put chocolate in small microwaveable bowl and set aside. Have dessert plates ready.
  • Set table with candles, red napkins and your best flatware.

30 minutes before:

  • On each of two salad plates, arrange 1 cup of salad greens. Dice apple or pear into ½-inch pieces. Sprinkle each salad with ¼ cup fruit and 1-2 tablespoons walnuts. Pour vinaigrette into small pitcher and place on table with salads. Light candles.
  • Slice chicken and arrange on dinner plates (remember to follow the New American Plate – 1/3 or less of plate contains chicken, leaving the other 2/3 for sweet potatoes and broccoli).

5-10 minutes before:

  • Put sweet potatoes in microwave and cook until soft.
  • While potatoes cook, bring water in saucepan to gentle boil. Lower heat, add broccoli or asparagus and steam for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and drain. Add 1 teaspoon butter to broccoli or asparagus and sprinkle with a dash of red pepper flakes.
  • Top chicken with 1-2 tablespoons chutney. Warm in microwave. Arrange sliced sweet potatoes and green vegetable on plates. Serve.
  • Turn on the romantic music, invite your sweetie to the table. Sit down and enjoy.


  • Melt chocolate in microwave.
  • Place slice of Angel food cake on each dessert plate. Top with sliced strawberries.
  • Drizzle melted chocolate over fruit and cake.
  • Garnish plate with red rose petals, if desired and serve.

What will you be serving for your healthy Valentine’s Day menu?





Author: Alice RD

Alice G. Bender, MS, RDN, is the Director of Nutrition Programs at AICR. She helps put the science of cancer prevention into action by providing tips and tools to choose nutritious and delicious foods. Alice has guided thousands of individuals to healthier lives through diet changes and choices.

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