Like most of the holidays Valentine’s Day revolves around sweets and treats. If you are not careful you could wake up February 15th not feeling your best. So before you down that champagne or gobble up those candy hearts read on to learn how to enjoy your holiday without compromising you nutrition goals.
- Don’t let the holiday revolve around food: The first thing you think of when you hear the word Valentine’s Day is grub. Whether you go out to eat or take-in, a romantic candlelight dinner will probably be part of the evening. Even the gifts are edible! Roses and chocolates or candy coated strawberries are the first gift that come to mind. Instead of focusing on food, find an activity that does not involve eating. If you live in a warmer climate get outside, go to the park, beach, for a fun day in the sun. Skiing, snowboarding, or in-door rock climbing can be a fun date if you are into sports. If you are crafty you can make that special someone a one of a kind present. Take advantage of the three day weekend and go on a mini vacation.
- Don’t over do it at dinner: You may be going all out for dinner: the appetizer, main entrees, desserts and fancy cocktails or wine. Eating too much can leave you feeling like you’re about to deliver a food baby. Instead, keep it simple and pick one or two things you want to indulge in that day. Whether it is a few glasses of wine or a couple of pieces of candy, keep moderation in mind.
- Give that recipe a makeover: Rework a recipe to make it a bit healthier. My fiancé Art loves Fettuccine Alfredo. However, the nutritionist in me was not really into making this heavy dish. So I changed up the recipe and used whole wheat pasta along with chicken broth instead of heavy cream. For Valentine’s Day a few years ago I made a healthy dessert. It was a no bake tart made out of fruit and nuts. This was a really sweet treat with no added sugar.
- Make sure you eat well the rest of the day: If you know you are going out that night for a big dinner try to go easy during the day. Make sure your other meals are filled healthy eats. Start with a hearty breakfast and follow it up with a filling lunch that is rich in veggies, lean proteins, and healthy fat. Something like steel cut oatmeal with chia seeds, apples, and cinnamon for breakfast. Then for lunch you can have a lettuce wrap with grilled chicken and veggies. Be sure to get enough water throughout the day as well as at dinner. This is about eight (8) ounce glasses.
- Share you gifts with someone else: Your significant other may shower you with too many gifts leaving you with candy overload for weeks. You might nibble a piece then come back to the box a few minutes later and grab another treat. Too much candy consumption can lead to a bellyache and sugar coma. To avoid death by chocolate, take one or two pieces and then freeze the rest. Another way to get rid of the excess is to share with friends, families, and co-workers.
- Get the best quality candies: I always say if you are going to indulge get the best quality you can. Ditch the candies with any processed ingredients (if you can’t pronounce it, don’t buy it). Look for ones with real cane sugar and a limited ingredient list (less than 5 ingredients if possible). Go for a dark chocolate with 80 to 100 percent real cacao. This type has anti-oxidants that are better than the regular variety.
- Enjoy yourself and listen to your body: You know when you have too much. Don’t get to the point where you feel overly stuffed. Drink water with your meal and take small bites. Savor what you are eating and listen for cues from your body that you are full.
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