It’s the sweetest time of the year: Valentine’s Day! Along with chocolate hearts and romantic dinners, February is a good time to do a check of your diet to see if it’s heart-healthy. I don’t need to tell you what an essential part of life your heart is, so let’s talk about how to optimize your diet to help keep that heart in great shape.

I’m more of a ‘pencil’ dietitian than an ‘eraser’ dietitian, meaning that I prefer to add things to peoples’ diets rather than immediately taking things away from them. It’s just nicer for people, you know? So today I’m going to make some recommendations for things to add to your diet to support a strong heart, and I’m going to show you how I used Flipp to find the best deals on those foods. Simple!

Fatty Fish

You may have heard that omega-3 fatty acids are good for you, and fish like salmon and trout are great sources. I found salmon for $6.99 per pound on Flipp, which is a significant saving!

For those of you who don’t like fish, you can eat plant-based sources of omegas including walnuts, flaxseed, and chia seeds. Don’t forget to grind your flaxseed in order to absorb more of the nutrients.

Good Fats

Do you like avocado? Nuts? Olive oil? These are all sources of heart-healthy monounsaturated fats (FYI: omega-3 fats are polyunsaturated). They’re also delicious and versatile! I’m crazy about avocado, so I put it in everything: sandwiches, eggs, salads, smoothies, even desserts. This fruit’s rich texture and mild flavor are almost addictive for me, and a day without avocado is like a day without sunshine! Yeah, I really love it.

People ask me a lot about nuts. Specifically, which ones are best to eat. My answer? Whichever ones you love best! Each particular nut has its own fat profile, so if you eat several different types, you’ll cover all your bases.

My favorite nuts right now are pistachios, which I found on Flipp for a crazy $10.99 per pound. Get cracking!

Berries

Many of you love colorful berries with your breakfast or as a snack, which is definitely a healthy habit. Berries contain antioxidants and are rich in fiber - both of which can help keep hearts healthy and fight disease. Berries tend to be lower in sugar than other fruits, too. I prefer my berries straight from the container but you can add them to anything — oatmeal, smoothies, salads, or even in place of jam in a peanut butter sandwich!

Beans and Lentils

Beans and are lentils tricky; either you get them or you don’t. A lot of people want to eat them, but don’t know exactly how to cook them. They're packed with plant-based protein, which can help you replace some of the meat in your diet. Meat can be healthy, but as a rule, most people eat too much animal protein and not enough plant protein, which provides more fiber and antioxidants than meat.

You can purchase beans and lentils canned or dried. If opting for canned, rinse them well to remove the salty water or buy salt-free versions. If you buy your beans or lentils dried, you’ll need to soak them overnight before you cook them. Both are great options so choose whichever type you find a better deal on or the one that fits into your lifestyle better. With Flipp, I found a 16 oz bag of dried lentils for $0.99!

And just in case you’re wondering what to do with those lentils, here’s my recipe for Mexican Lentils with Polenta.