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February- Be Healthy for You and the Ones You Love

Food photography of heart made from different fruits and vegetables on rustic wooden table.Whether you choose to celebrate Valentine’s Day or any special occasion on your own, with a loved one, or on a family date, here are our tips to staying happy and healthy this February!

 

Cooking a meal for others?

Be food-conscious by serving meals with more fruits and vegetables, less fat and salt content, and less sugary sweets.

  • When buying groceries, pay attention to serving sizes. Limit processed foods and packaged sauces that are high in sodium or fat: Look at the Nutrition Facts Label!
  • Serve colorful meals, rich in fresh fruits and vegetables. Use fresh meat, poultry and seafood instead of processed varieties.
  • Look online for healthy recipes! The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute website has many recipes limited in saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol and sodium. Good and Cheap features healthy and delicious recipes for people on a limited income, and is available free in pdf form in English and Spanish.
  • If you choose to eat dinner out, request heart-healthy, ‘lite,’ and lower sodium options. Restaurants may offer entrees with sauces and salad dressings on the side. Consider sharing an entree with another person or taking part of your meal home, for better portion control.

Spread love, not germs!

Winter is the season for respiratory viruses such as influenza. Keep those you care about healthy by doing the following:

  • Stay home and away from others if you have fever and respiratory symptoms (or any other signs of a contagious illness). It’s okay to reschedule a date or outing – your friends and family will love you more for not getting them sick!
  • Wash your hands often.
  • Avoid close contact with others who are sick.
  • Get a flu vaccine if you haven’t yet this season; it’s not too late!
  • If you choose to have sex, use latex condoms to lower the risk for some sexually transmitted infections and prevent unintended pregnancies.

Celebrating with family?

  • Valentine’s Day and “dates” don’t just have to be for couples. Choose an activity that is family friendly and start a new tradition with your loved ones. Here are some suggestions:
  • Celebrate the outdoors and go for a hike, leisurely stroll or bike ride. Take a picnic with you or end up at a favorite restaurant/snack location.
  • Let the kids choose the family outing, or select one that is always a winner such as the zoo, bowling or playground.
  • Find a fun Valentine’s Day craft to make together.
  • Dinner and movie at home – serve a favorite food item for each family member. Have a double feature; one movie for the kids and then round two after the kids go to bed!

Going on a romantic getaway?

Be prepared by taking traveling health precautions appropriate to where you are going:

  • Check the CDC travel website to see if there are any health precautions or restrictions for your planned destination.
  • Get required vaccinations. Be up-to-date on your routine vaccinations and other vaccines that may depend on your destination, medical history, planned activities and other health concerns.
  • Stock enough of your routine medications for your trip, including for any unplanned delays.  Don’t forget the hand sanitizer, insect repellant and sunscreen.
  • Practice usual healthy habits on vacation. See “Spread love, not germs!” section above for more information. Stick to food and water sources that are usually safe.
  • After your trip, closely monitor your health for mild or serious illnesses. If you have fever, diarrhea, skin rash or trouble breathing, seek medical attention. Be sure to include specific details from your travel.

For more information, see the CDC Valentine’s Day Tips website. Join the #OurHearts Movement and learn how you and your friends and family can be heart healthy together for American Heart Month (February).