Valentine’s Day is almost here. And although it may be tempting to shower your sweetheart with boxes of chocolate, candy hearts, a high-calorie meal at a fancy restaurant, or a decadent dessert, it may not be the healthiest choice. After all, you want your loved ones to be around for a long time, right? Showing an interest in their health is one of the most romantic things you can do to express your love. Here are some ideas to help you pick a gift for your darling that will show how much you really care, and keep yourself on track with your own healthy habits.
First and foremost, try to avoid food-related gifts. Valentine’s Day is often referred to as a “Hallmark holiday,” created and fueled by marketing departments to get us to buy more stuff we don’t really need, but feel we must because everyone else is doing it. Take a look in any grocery or drug store at this time of year, and you’ll get it. You’ll find aisle upon aisle of sugary red and pink confections, all dipped in chocolate. You might think you’re being clever by choosing a chocolate alternative, but a box of sugar free chocolates merely says, “I don’t want you to get fat, but I don’t mind if you develop complications from risky artificial sweeteners.” Skip it altogether and you’ll both be better off.
Likewise, keep your Valentine’s dinner menu limited to only one decadent dish. It’s perfectly OK to splurge once in a while and enjoy not-so-healthy foods in moderation. But it’s important to limit those foods and balance them with healthier options. If your sweetheart loves an artery-clogging entrée like Steak Diane, and you just can’t imagine making anything else, be sure to round out the meal with a spinach salad and a small whole grain roll. Keep portions reasonable. And choose fruit for dessert.
Or, make a healthier version of your sweetie’s favorite meal. For example, the Boise Healthy Living Examiner is skipping the traditional chicken parmigiana this year for a lower fat, portion-controlled chicken parmigiana meatloaf muffin recipe. You’ll get all of the flavor without all of the calories.
Plan a single serving dessert. Instead of baking a rich chocolate cake or a large batch of brownies, plan a single serving dessert. Low fat chocolate pudding parfaits are easy to make and you won’t have tons of leftovers to tempt you for the rest of the week. Or dip strawberries in dark chocolate for a delicious, romantic dessert that won’t derail your healthy habits.
Put the focus on activities, not food. Go ice skating, hit the gym, slow dance in the living room, or just take a walk around the block and have a nice chat. Making dinner together can be a fun, romantic activity. And who couldn’t use a little help chopping vegetables?
Go ahead and indulge a little bit this Valentine’s Day, but don’t let all the sugary temptations throw your healthy lifestyle off track. By keeping the focus off food, you won’t have to spend extra time in the gym this weekend.
Talk it up:
Do you try to keep your Valentine’s celebration healthy?
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