family meal

Heart Healthy Family Meal Ideas For Valentines Day

Valentines Day is approaching and whether you go out to dinner or cook as a family you’ll want to make sure to enjoy a heart healthy meal. I’ve put together 5 heart healthy family meal ideas to enjoy on Valentine’s Day. 

family meal

What foods are considered heart healthy?

When it comes to protecting the heart we want to make sure we are consuming a variety of plant foods along with omegas. I’m sure you’ve heard the word Omegas before but you might not know exactly what those are and why they are so important.

Omega-3’s are fatty acids that are crucial for cellular health. They play an important role in protecting our heart, eyes, brain, etc from disease. They  also play a role in increasing attention, and decreasing depression and anxiety. Great for kids to eat every morning before school!

Even more, omegas are linked to decreasing overall inflammation in the body which we know that all disease starts from inflammation on a cellular level. This means, long before you even have a symptom disease can be forming so it’s important to feed your body well to keep inflammation at bay.

There are different types of omegas. You can find omegas in ground flax, chia, and hemp seeds. You can also find them in fish like salmon. Our favorite type of omega supplement are THESE 100% plant based omega blends. They bypass the fish and go straight to the source, plants and algae.

My kids even take them. I’ve noticed a difference in our nails, hair, attitudes, skin, mental clarity, and mood since starting. Kids can take them either by chewing, swallowing, or poking a hole and sucking out the yummy orange liquid. No fishy taste with THESE OMEGAS.

Let’s Talk Plants

Next let’s cover plant foods. Plant foods are fruits, vegetables, nuts/seeds, legumes, and whole grains. We want to eat a little bit of a lot of different colors of these foods to maintain our heart health. These are lower fat, cholesterol free, lower sodium, less sugar, and full of vitamins/minerals/nutrients that our body knows exactly what to do with.

This means you are at less risk to develop chronic disease like diabetes, heart disease, etc and even cancer when you eat a higher plant based diet.

If you choose to eat meat, it’s important to limit how often and the types. Red meat has the most research linked to heart disease. Limiting animal protein to leaner cuts of meat like chicken, ground turkey, and salmon are a goal to have when cooking family meals.

To see what a cardiologist has to say and eats throughout the day CLICK HERE.

How To Make Heart Healthy Meals For Kids (And Even Picky Eaters)

Cooking for a family can be difficult at times, especially when your schedule is busy and/or you have different types of eaters in the house. Picky eaters can be especially difficult to cook for if their diet is very limited. To learn more about why kids become picky CLICK HERE. But there are a couple tips I have up my sleeve to helping you cook a heart healthy family meal.

  • Plan ahead. Write out 3 meals for the week that you’d like to have. Writing this down helps you not go over budget or buy extra food that you really don’t need.
  • Consider everyone’s preferences when planning meals and include those foods into the meals.
  • Have at least one preferred food on your child’s plate that they enjoy.
  • Think simple like roasting potatoes, serving raw veggies, or fruits with dips. Side dishes don’t have to be fancy and the less packaged foods the better.
  • It’s totally okay to buy already cut up veggies such as cut up celery, carrot sticks, radish chips, chopped broccoli/cauliflower, frozen stir fry veggies, already cooked frozen brown rice, etc. This will save on time and prep in the kitchen.
  • Think colorful! Kids like colorful and presentation is important for kids. They often base food choices on what they see first.
  • Roast veggies so they have a little bit of a crunch. Kids often don’t prefer mushy veggies so roasting them allows them to cook but still have a crispness to them that kids prefer.

Heart Healthy Family Meal For Valentines Day #1

I love a good sheet pan dinner and mainly because you can throw everything on a pan and toss it in the oven. I get a little stressed when I’m trying to bake something, cook something on the stove, microwave something all at the same time. My goal for dinner is easy peasy.

Here are a couple of our favorite sheet pan dinners that you will love too. They are filled with colors, simple real whole food ingredients, and taste amazing. Feel free to swap out an ingredient for another ingredient that your family enjoys. If you have a food that doesn’t take as long to cook in the oven, then just toss it on the pan about 10 minutes before the meal is set to be done.

heart healthy family meal

Heart Healthy Family Meal Idea For Valentines Day #2

Chicken and Veggie Stir Fry. This dish is simple, easy, and colorful. Filled with different veggies. When possible choose organic chicken and use half of what a recipe calls for. This will decrease your animal protein portion so you can fill up on more veggies.

For kids that don’t eat mix foods it’s okay and actually a great idea to deconstruct their stir fry for them. This means when you are cooking, set aside a little of each ingredient so you can place in different places on their plate or on a separated plate.

I love to deconstruct meals for my kids because it allows me to cook one meal, it exposes them to new foods without pressure, and they can still enjoy their meal without the stress of having it all mixed up. My oldest will eat broccoli, rice, and chicken but not all together just yet. But he will eat them if they are separated.

stir fry

Heart Healthy Family Meal Idea For Valentines Day #3

Heart shaped build your own pizza is a fun meal idea that you can easily get the kids involved. When having the kids help in the kitchen it’s important to pick a day and time that is the least stressful for you. Don’t pick a night where you’ve had a crazy busy day and are flying home from work to then take your oldest to sports. Instead, pick a day where you don’t have sports or it’s the weekend.

Luckily Valentines Day falls on a Sunday so this is a perfect time to have the kids help. We are dairy and gluten free so I buy a couple different already made pizza crusts to make my life easier. I like the Cappellos Naked Pizza Crust, Schar pizza crust (can find at Walmart in GF section), and Caulipower Pizza Crust. All are GF/DF and taste great.

This is such a fun family meal idea! My kids like to actually help me make dinner on these nights.

valentines day pizza


Pizza crust

Pizza sauce or tomato paste with basil/oregano/garlic

Cheese of choice (we like the So Delicious or Daiya DF shredded mozzarella)

Toppings of choice  (nitrate free pepperoni or sausage, rainbow of veggies- for Valentines Day think red veggies like peppers, sundried tomatoes, tomato slices, red onion )


  1. Preheat oven to package directions
  2. Spread pizza “cupid” sauce on pizza crust
  3. Cut your pizza crust in the shape of a heart OR have your kids place toppings in heart shapes on top of the pizza
  4. Bake pizza as directed on package. Serve with strawberries to go along with the red Valentines Day theme.

Heart Healthy Family Meal Idea For Valentines Day #4

Zucchini Turkey Meatballs with Spaghetti Sauce and Chickpea Noodles 

Mixed greens salad with almond slivers, sliced strawberries, blueberries, and poppyseed or your favorite vinaigrette dressing 

Find the zucchini turkey meatball recipe HERE. The only changes I made to the recipe were I used Ian’s gluten free breadcrumbs instead of wheat breadcrumbs. I also shred the zucchini on the finest/smaller grater level so that there aren’t any chunks in the meatballs. I use organic ground turkey. Squash will also work if you don’t have zucchini on hand. 

We are huge fans of Chickpea noodles. My kids actually love them with a little vegan butter or olive oil and sea salt. You can use any noodle you like but to make it more “heart healthy” stick with a less processed noodle such as a chickpea noodle, lentil noodle, 100% whole wheat noodle, or even veggie spiral noodles.

One of my kids is not a salad eater so I started putting nuts and pieces of fruit on top of the salad so he could pick them off. I often leave the nuts whole and even the fruit, like I’d leave the strawberry whole so he can just grab it off the top. I don’t necessarily care that he doesn’t eat the greens, my goal is to get him engaged with the salad and touching it first.

But if your kids like salad this is a great salad to make. Just cut up strawberries and leave the blueberries whole. Throw them on top of the mixed greens along with your favorite nut and dressing. Either mix in the dressing ahead of time or leave off and everyone can put their own dressing on their salad.

Deconstructing Spaghetti Dinner

Also, one of my kids is a no sauce kid. Like, absolutely no sauces at all and if it’s touching then he may freak out a bit. So I just deconstruct meals a lot. This helps me to make one meal that we can all enjoy! Honestly, my goal is always to make mealtimes enjoyable where my kids enjoy coming to the table. That’s where a healthy relationship with food begins.

To deconstruct, I just scoop out a couple meatballs and noodles as I’m cooking a put aside or take out right before I’m making plates. meatballs go in a place, noodles in a place, then a very small portion of the mixed food goes in a place. This helps kids to still eat what is made but in a way that is appropriate for what their sensory system is telling them they can handle at the time. If you’re serving family style then make sure to have the meatball, noodles, and sauce in seperate containers or take out a little for your child before placing everything on the table all mixed up family style.

Perfect meal for Valentines Day!

family meal idea

Heart Healthy Family Meal Idea For Valentines Day #5

Quinoa with sundried tomatoes, veggies, and feta 

This is a dish you can honestly just throw together and it taste yummy. Below I’ll let you know what you need as far as ingredients goes but the great thing is you can use most any veggies your family enjoys. If you are dairy free then leave off the feta or use a substitute like Violife feta. I prefer to leave off or use Nutritional yeast. But I’ve had it with feta and it’s absolutely delicious.

This is a perfect heart healthy meal idea right here!

valentines day family meal idea



1/2 sundried tomatoes

1 cup chopped or whole mushrooms

1/4 cup chopped onions

3 handfuls fresh spinach

1/2 cup chopped sweet baby bell peppers

1/4-1/2 cup feta (optional)

1 tbsp olive oil or veggie broth or water for sautéing veggies

3-4 garlic cloves or crushed garlic

Choice of protein (you can have like it is or you can add some fresh roasted salmon, mahi, organic chicken, chickpeas, or tofu)


  1. Cook quinoa as directed on package.
  2. While quinoa is cooking heat the stove to med heat.
  3. Sprinkle olive oil or veggie broth or water on the pan and let warm for a minute.
  4. Once veggies are all chopped. Place onions, mushrooms, and peppers in the pan. Sauté for about 4 minutes. Then add chopped garlic. Sauté for another 2 minutes.
  5. If liquid if running out add a little more liquid so the veggies don’t stick.
  6. Then add in the sundried tomatoes and spinach and sauté for about 2 minutes.
  7. Next add in the quinoa and stir all around. When all mixed in you can add the feta on top. Top with choice of animal or plant protein.

**If cooking an animal protein you will want to cook that while the quinoa is cooking. I like to roast salmon or mahi in the oven on 400 for about 20 minutes. I top the fish with a couple lemon slices and sea salt/pepper. If cooking shrimp, you can easily sauté in some vegan butter and garlic powder & parsley on the stove in a couple minutes. **

You Also Need To Know

I also want you to know that I’m a Mom to a dairy/gluten free family. Although the journey hasn’t always been easy it is one I’m proud of and content with. Proud of my kids for sticking to it even though it was a challenge at first and happy that we’ve learned how to fuel our body with real whole foods and foods that serve our body well.  As a feeding therapist and a Mom I want all kids with food allergies/sensitives to enjoy food that tastes good and makes them feel their best. I want kids to love coming to the table.

I’ve put together a 27 page guide that shares a list of GF products and two weeks of GF kid friendly meal ideas and recipes! Check it out!

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  1. […] Have a wonderful Valentines Day with your loved ones! If you enjoyed this post check out my Heart Healthy Valentines Day Family Friendly Meals post HERE. […]

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