Valentine’s Day is all about romance and treating someone special with a box of chocolates. However, February is American Heart Month and what better way to highlight the importance of good heart health than staying healthy for your loved ones. Here are some sweet tips for a healthy Valentine’s Day that you and your special someone can celebrate together without sacrificing your health.
Limit the Chocolate
Valentine’s Day brings to mind visions of chocolate carefully packaged in heart-shaped containers. Yet, no matter what kind of chocolate you choose they contain relatively high amounts of calories, sugar, preservatives, trans fat, and chemical additives.
If you have the time and patience, try making your own chocolate using baker’s chocolate, or even dark chocolate, and heart-shaped cookie molds. Remember, our goal is for a healthy valentine’s day. Healthier chocolate options are chocolate-dipped strawberries and other fruits, chocolate-dipped pretzel rods, almonds and other nuts, and chocolate-covered raisins. Also, I’ve found a delicious and healthy dark chocolate recipe at this link: https://www.allrecipes.com/recipe/244779/amazing-healthy-dark-chocolate/
Keep Portion Sizes Down
First, there’s no such thing as a bad food but too much of any one food won’t make your heart happy. Enjoy your food, but try to watch your portion sizes. Savor small tastes instead of having it all and then put it out of sight.
If you’re dining out feel free to make special requests. Ask the waiter if they can put the sauce on the side – or to substitute veggies for the french fries. Can your meal be made without butter, oil or salt…? Anything that could help cut down on calories? In terms of calories, grilled is usually better than fried. Baked is better than braised.
Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to be about dinner and a movie. Showing your moves on the dance floor is a great way to burn off calories together. If you live in a warmer climate think of an outdoor date that will keep you active. Think outside the box and take your loved one on a nature hike that ends with a healthy picnic. Visit a local park and engage in a game of 1-on-1 volleyball or tennis.
I’ve talked about staying fit with your kids here: http://heartandsoulblog.com/2018/12/17/staying-fit-with-kids-exercise-for-parents/. However, there’s something to be said for staying fit with your significant other, too.
Regardless of how you choose to spend your Valentine’s Day, be sure not to overdo it. Keep your health (and your loved one) in mind and enjoy this special day together.