I couldn’t possibly let Valentine’s Day go by without making a special post dedicated to it. With all of the hype around finding the perfect box of chocolates for your date and setting reservations at favorite restaurants, it might be hard to stay in tune with your healthy side. Now, as mentioned in an earlier post, I am all about the occasional splurge, but if you are looking for a guilt-free Valentine’s Day, I have you covered!
- Chocolate. There is no reason that you have to push all of the delicious chocolate aside. If you would like to indulge in these sweet treats, the best option is dark chocolate. It has a lot more health benefits over milk chocolate and still has full flavor. A 100 gram bar of dark chocolate with 70-85% cocoa contains 11g of fiber, 67% of the Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDA) of fiber, 58% of the RDA for Magnesium, 89% of the RDA for Copper, 98% of the RDA for Manganese, and includes some amounts of potassium, phosphorous, zinc, and selenium as well. Dark chocolate is also a great source of antioxidants, chemicals that block other chemical activity called radicals that could cause damage to your body’s cells. Dark chocolate can also lower blood pressure which allows for better blood flow, it may lower the risk of cardiovascular disease, protect your skin from sun damage, and improve brain function. So by all means, don’t be afraid of a little bit of chocolate this Valentine’s Day.
- Dinner. Dinner can be a challenge since many restaurant menus may tempt you into a high-caloric, high-fat, high-carb, high-everything entrée. However, there is a way around it! I would recommend checking online on the restaurant’s website to see if they have nutritionals for the menu. Some restaurants will have calorie counts and other nutrition facts listed online so you can prepare ahead for what you will order. If they don’t have this feature, try asking your server if they have any healthier suggestions. Many restaurants now have calorie counts on the menu so that could be a great guide as well.
For those of you who would rather have a cozy night in and not fight the Valentine’s Day crowds out, I have the perfect recipe for you. Last year, my boyfriend and I made this together and it was not only fun to cook together, it was an absolutely delicious, easy, and guilt-free meal. It is a fettuccini alfredo recipe off of the “Hungry Girl” website, one of my favorite places for guilt-free meals. You can find the recipe here and you will immediately see how easy it is! It is only four ingredients and only takes about fifteen minutes to make! When we made it, though, we had some modifications. While I enjoy the shiritaki noodles, he doesn’t–so we used regular fettuccini noodles. Once the noodles cooked all the way, we strained them and dumped them back into the pot. This is where we added the parmesan cheese, Laughing Cow cheese, and instead of sour cream we used milk (since we knew we wouldn’t use a whole tub of sour cream and didn’t want to waste it). Also, for extra protein, we added in Italian sausage. We stirred all of the ingredients in and let it all melt together into a sauce and before we knew it, we had a delicious and guilt-free dinner ready. Although we didn’t follow the recipe exactly, it was still a lower-calorie version of your typical fettuccini alfredo.
- For all of you wine lovers, I have a recommendation for you! Per my Italian heritage, I couldn’t imagine a Valentine’s Day without wine. It is just an absolute essential and it is important to get this element of the day right. There is a particular line of wine called Skinnygirl. This is a complete collection of all flavors and varieties of wine that are all low-calorie that you can check out here. Personally, I have never tried these wines but I have heard positive feedback. If you’re counting calories this V-Day, give it a try!
With that, I hope you all have a fabulous Valentine’s Day and enjoy some delicious calorie-saving treats!
Stay healthy and be strong!