By: Krista Ehret – Valentine’s Day can be a tricky hurdle on a healthy, new year journey. Between the boxes of truffles, chocolate strawberries and bottles of Champagne, it can feel like a losing battle. How can you turn down those cute little sugar pill hearts that your kid comes home with in abundance? You’re doing your parental duty to eat them so your child won’t, right? Stay on track this year by celebrating the holiday with some healthy alternatives.
Cook at Home.
Going out for a romantic Valentine’s dinner is a great way to drop some major bucks and put on some major pounds. Many local restaurants offer pre-determined, several course menus with rich selections and even richer price tags. Not to mention, they want to pack in as many patrons as possible, so your $200 a la carte romance will often find you elbow-to-elbow with the couple next to you. Skip the hype and prepare your favorite meal at home this year. Want to include the whole family? Try serving up some heart-shaped pizzas that everyone can help create.
Opt for an Activity.
Instead of gifts, come up with a fun outing for you and your Valentine. A couple’s massage is a great romantic option. Cooking classes or ballroom dance lessons are other ways to keep your health goals on track.
Minimize the Sweets.
Deprivation often leads to total destruction in a moment of weakness. Portion control is key. Go with a homemade or locally made treat and think quality over quantity. Dark chocolate that is at least seventy- percent cocoa, offers heart benefits and is rich with antioxidants. Skip the sweet Champagne and opt for a glass of red wine.
Let the Kids Decide.
If you plan to give your kids a Valentine’s Day goody, let them decide if they’d rather have an edible treat, an experience such as going to the movies, or a toy of some sort. If they choose the sweet option, make it memorable by baking something together at home. Heart shaped rice crispy treats are easy and not terrible on the sugar scale.
Don’t Get Down.
One issue with this holiday is that many dread it. It’s easy to deal with the blues by indulging. I myself spent a year celebrating with Ben & Jerry. If you find yourself in this category, plan something that will lift your spirits. Get together with friends, go to a workout class, or carve out some “you time” with a mani-pedi or a good book.
The problem with cheating on special occasions is that there is always a party, celebration or holiday to derail you. Learn to indulge yourself in other ways and keep your goals written somewhere where they will be seen regularly. While Valentine’s Day is about spending time with those you love, show some love to yourself by staying on track.