If you vowed to lose weight after the holidays, another temptation is approaching. An online reservation service’s survey found that 51 percent of respondents dine out on Valentine’s Day. Instead of celebrating in fattening ways, follow these tips from the Calorie Control Council and other experts. You’ll learn how to avoid compounding the effects of decadent sweet gifts, excess alcohol, a heavy restaurant dinner, and rich dessert.
In the weeks before Valentine’s Day, choose healthy snacks over candy and chips. Enjoy apples with sugar-free caramel or dark-chocolate dipping sauce, air-popped popcorn, or raw veggies with hummus. Nourishing snacks can prevent overeating at meals.
Choose Substitute Gifts
Excess pounds can lead to and exacerbate many health problems. Instead of exchanging tempting Valentine’s chocolates, consider healthier, meaningful gifts. The best present you can give your sweetheart is to be well. Visit affordable Canada Drug Pharmacy for all of your medical conditions.
For tangible surprises, do your shopping on foot. Walk briskly between stores. Good edible options include sugar-free chocolates or candies, and a nutrient-rich fruit basket. Or select a healthy cookbook or gift certificate for a personal trainer.
Drink with Restraint
When you begin drinking before ordering at a restaurant, alcohol can hinder your judgment and willpower. You may make less nutritious choices than you planned. Skip cocktails, which can be full of sugar. But you can substitute club soda with a twist of lime.
Wait until the main course to imbibe in alcohol. Red wine is good for your cardiovascular system. Ask if a light version is available. Sip one glass slowly. If you don’t drink alcohol, water is a healthy alternative to sugar-sweetened, high-calorie soft drinks. Staying properly hydrated will help you feel and look your best.
Modify Your Meal
Check major restaurant chains’ nutrition information online first, so you can make healthy choices. Avoid dishes with descriptions like au gratin, creamy, rich, velvety, battered, crispy, crunchy, and en croute. Choose grilled over fried and baked instead of braised to lighten your caloric intake.
Inquire about substitutions like olive oil, lemon, and herbs in place of butter. For seafood, try lemon or cocktail sauce over clarified butter. Replace white pasta or rice with a whole-wheat option or green vegetable such as spinach or broccoli. Swap vegetables for french fries. Make special requests to put dressings and sauces on the side.
Focus on Healthy Red Foods
To get in the spirit of the holiday, have tasty red foods. Red bell peppers, radicchio, tomatoes, red onions, red beans, cherries, and strawberries are rich in vitamins, antioxidants, or cholesterol-reducing protein and fiber.
Order a Healthy First Course
Start the night off right with a salad or light soup. If it fills you up before your main course arrives, nibble slowly. Request a take-out box for the rest.
Skip the Extras
Decline the many extras that your waiter may offer. Avoid topping off your salad with bacon, grated cheese, buttery croutons, and high-fat dressing. Likewise, skip fattening garnishes for baked potatoes, burgers, and all entrees.
If you want a roll, take one. Then place the breadbasket out of reach. At a Mexican restaurant, grab a small handful of chips. Then push the basket away for the remainder of your meal.
Exercise Portion Control
Many restaurants serve generous portions that can satisfy two. Sharing one entrée will prevent overeating and can be romantic. Or eat just half of your dinner, and take the remainder home.
Splurge in Moderation
Enjoying a small dessert or a few chocolate truffles won’t tip the scale. Don’t feel guilty about sampling a box of Valentine chocolates. Research shows that this rich flavor is overflowing with healthy compounds that might help you avoid heart disease, enhance your immune system, and promote a restorative sense of well-being.
Just let the romance of heart-shaped chocolates linger. Store them in your refrigerator or freezer. Enjoy one treat per day, and your gift will last several weeks. Savor each morsel slowly so you can resist the urge to overindulge.
Cook Healthy at Home
Preparing a meal in your own kitchen is an ideal way to conserve calories and money while avoiding crowds. It also allows you to make sure that the menu, food quality, cooking methods, and amounts you consume are healthy. Surprise your Valentine with easy low-calorie dishes, or cook together as a couple. Maybe enroll in a cooking class alone or together to learn new techniques.
Choose skinless poultry, seafood, or lean cuts of meat for your entrée. Roast, grill, steam, or sauté foods rather than frying, which increases fats and calories. Use healthy fats like canola, corn, olive, safflower, sesame, soybean, or sunflower oil sparingly. Replace oil or butter in low-calorie cake or dessert recipes with pureed fruit.
Set a candlelit table that creates an intimate mood in your own private hideaway. Watch a romantic movie as your meal settles. Then feed your sweetie fresh strawberries with low-calorie whipped topping. If you end the evening with a little late-night exercise between the sheets, you may work off your dessert.