February is the month of love – love for the heart! It’s also American Heart Month, and whose heart is more important than yours? Following these heart-healthy tips will help you have the best ticker in town!

Swap Dining Out for Dining In

Choosing homemade meals over restaurant menu items is a big step toward better heart health. When you cook at home, you have more control over ingredients, portion sizes and calories, and you can watch your sodium intake. Plus, preparing meals with family and friends creates special memories. Looking for something new? Try these healthy versions of popular restaurant meals.

Boost Your Heart Rate

Couple Walking for ExerciseAim for at least 150 minutes of moderately intense physical activity each week. But don’t go it alone. Exercise is more fun when you bring along a friend. Grab your sweetie for a 30-minute walk after dinner; try a new fitness class together; or spend time gardening, biking, canoeing or dancing.

Give Heart-Healthy Gifts

Instead of gifting high-calorie chocolates, try out some lower-calorie sweet treats. If you do go with chocolates, choose dark chocolate, which is full of antioxidants that turn sweet indulgence into a healthy treat. Work some fruit into the gift by giving strawberries dipped in semi-sweet chocolate. They’re healthier than milk chocolates.

Of course, heart health isn’t limited to February. Put these tips into practice throughout the year! Cheers to love!