Southeast Dairy Association - Easy Italian Vegetable Pasta Bake

Valentine’s Day is the perfect time to celebrate. Whether planning a romantic dinner with your sweetie or a family feast, get to the heart of the celebration with dairy filled meals.

Did you know that three servings of dairy products each day can provide your loved ones with more than just strong bones? A recent study conducted in 21 countries found that increased consumption of dairy products is associated with a reduced risk of heart disease. Additionally, key minerals found in dairy foods – magnesium, potassium, and calcium – help to lower and maintain blood pressure, which is important for heart health.

It’s easy to build dairy foods into a delicious menu, especially on Valentine’s Day. Make the meal memorable and healthy for your loved ones with this Easy Italian Vegetable Pasta Bake. Nothing says “I love you” like Italian food, and it doesn’t get any easier than this one-dish dinner! Packed full of vegetables and reduced-fat mozzarella cheese, this hearty meal is full of vitamins, minerals and fiber. Choose whole grain pasta and low sodium pasta sauce to take it to the next level of heart healthy. Pair this dish with a simple green salad or whole wheat rolls and your family will be in love at first sight.

Whatever you do, don’t forget the chocolate! Valentine’s Day is the perfect time to enjoy a dairy-filled chocolate treat. Try this simple, not too sweet, Hot Chocolate Dip with your favorite fresh fruits for an extra special treat at the end of your meal.

This Valentine’s day give your loved ones a special meal in place of flowers and help protect their heart by choosing dairy products like milk, yogurt, and cheese.

Catherine Arnold MS, RDN, LD, The Mindful Dietitian LLC, is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist based out of Louisville, Kentucky. She specializes in weight management, pediatric nutrition, and comprehensive nutrition and wellness education.  Her goal is to empower individuals to reach and maintain a healthy weight and lifestyle. You can find her at catherinearnoldrd.com.