How to Have a Sweet AND Healthy Valentine’s Day
By: Joe Martinez, RPh, PDE, CMS, Founder and CCO, HMS
Contributor: Stephanie Wu
It’s February and love is in the air with Valentine’s Day coming soon. We know how hard it is to resist the chocolates wrapped in red and pink foil. So, whether you’re spending this Valentine’s Day with a special someone, or just getting a chance to practice some self-care, there is one constant – tempting and decadent desserts and sweets at every turn., Fear not friends, here are a few tips to help you enjoy a sweet AND healthy Valentine’s Day. YES, you can do this!
Say YES to the Dark Box of Chocolates.
The classic Valentine’s gift is a box of chocolate. And guess what, that’s okay! As we know from our blog a couple of weeks ago, “Dark Chocolate is our Friend, Even to Those with Diabetes”, not all chocolates are created equal when it comes to health.
So if you want to go with traditional sweets, just go for it. However, use this one little tweak. Look for dark chocolate bars and boxes of dark chocolate because they a higher percentage of cocoa —anywhere from 70% to 92% cocoa — and less sugar.
Also, dark chocolate is full of antioxidants which are excellent for a number of things. In fact, a study of 470 elderly men, showed that cocoa actually reduced the risk of death from heart disease by 50% over 15 years.
Try an ‘activity’ date!
Rather than sitting and eating, try adding some movement into this year’s date. On their website, The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends aiming for at least 150 minutes of moderately intense physical activity each week. Walking briskly for 30 minutes, five days a week can contribute to better heart health. So, before or after that candle-lit dinner, go ice-skating or take a romantic walk and breathe in all the love in the air. You’ll be glad you did!
Sugar comes in different forms (go for naturally sweet ingredients).
There are many foods that are naturally sweet-tasting for your sweetheart this Valentine’s Day. Foods like fruit or sweet potatoes are packed with antioxidants, vitamin C, beta carotene, fiber, and vitamin B-6. Many of these are good for brain health, as well as for decreasing blood pressure. In place of the decadent desserts, why not try these out to satisfy that sweet tooth.
Celebrate Love at Home This Year!
Skip the crowds and enjoy better control of what goes on your dinner plate. When you prepare your meals at home, you have control over the amount of salt, butter, and sugar you put in your cooking. There are so many fantastic low-calorie and low-sodium recipes online.
And if you don’t feel like cooking, there’s also Health Meals Supreme – delicious, freshly prepared, and healthy meals that are ready for you to eat. Just pop them in the microwave and a savory dinner is served!
You can even impress your loved one with beautiful plating. On each meal page of the Healthy Meals Supreme website, there is a video that shows you “how to plate like a master chef in 60 seconds or less.” It doesn’t get much easier than this, believe me, I’ve tried…
* Always check with your doctor or healthcare professional before making any changes to your diet or exercise routine.