Enjoy a Healthy Valentine’s Day with Your SweetheartPosted on: February 12, 2013Categories: LiveWell 24/7
From intimate meals to decadent desserts, couples across the globe will be celebrating romance this February 14th. Love it or hate it, Valentine’s Day remains one of the biggest restaurant nights of the year – one that often involves heavy dinners. But with a few tips and some planning, you can get through the big night without adding inches to your waistline.
Ignore the Bread Basket: The tempting bread basket can add hundreds of calories to your night before your meal arrives. Grab one roll and then place the rest of the basket out of reach.
Don’t Be Scared to Ask for Modifications: Restaurants are usually very accommodating to special requests. Ask the waiter if they can put the sauce on the side- or substitute veggies for starchy carbohydrates. You can also ask that your meal be made without butter, oil, or salt. Remember, grilled is usually better than fried and baked is better than braised.
Start Out Healthy: Think about ordering a broth-based soup or light salad. This will help fill you up before the big meal with minimal calories.
Practice Portion Control: You may want to split an entree with your sweetheart. Restaurant sizes are usually larger than normal. Consider eating half of your meal and taking the rest home for tomorrow.
Avoid the Bells and Whistles: Don’t add a bunch of extras to your meal. When it comes to a salad, avoid topping it off with buttery croutons, grated cheese, bacon and dollops of high-fat dressing. The same goes with a burger, baked potato and other entrees.
Think Red: Red bell peppers, radicchio, cherries, strawberries, red beans, red onions and tomatoes, for example, are all packed with vitamins, cancer-fighting antioxidants or cholesterol-busting fiber and protein. In addition, a daily glass of red wine is believed to help reduce the risk of blood clots and keep the cardiovascular system in shape. So forgo that cocktail, which can be loaded with sugar, and have a glass of red wine instead.
Give Creative Gifts: If you and your significant other are trying to lose or maintain weight, consider purchasing a fruit basket instead of a box of chocolate, or baking a low-calorie dessert. It’s also important to remember that a number of sugar-free candies and chocolate brands are available and can be found at your local store. A bouquet of flowers, healthy cookbook, personal training sessions or a day spa gift certificate are also great healthy ideas.
Don’t Completely Deprive Yourself: Valentine’s Day is a time for laughter, fun and food. Having a small slice of cake or a couple truffles will not lead to weight gain. Moderation is key. And if you do pop the lid off that box of chocolates this Valentine’s Day, don’t feel guilty. Research indicates chocolate is chock-full of healthy compounds and may actually help prevent heart disease, enhance immune systems and give us a feeling of well-being.
Consider Dining In: A great way to save calories, money and avoid crowds. Find an easy reduced calorie meal that you can cook with or for your significant other at home. Rent some romantic movies and make a healthy dessert, like strawberry shortcake sprinkled with your favorite low-calorie sweetener, and enjoy!