Tips for a healthier Valentine’s Day

Mass Appeal

Red roses and chocolate candy. Gift box. Heart. Love

CHICOPEE, Mass. (Mass Appeal) – Valentine’s Day typically conjures up images of chocolate boxes and romantic dinners with fine wine and decadent dessert. How can you enjoy the holiday without completely ruining your healthy lifestyle?

Dr. Laura Christoph, Professor of Nutrition joins us with ideas for a healthier holiday.

Most adults, even those who are trying to shed a few lbs, have somewhere between 200-300 “discretionary Calories”, or Calories from increased portion size, added sugars and solid fats, per day.

Those who are highly active have a few more, and those who are sedentary have a few less.

By recognizing and prioritizing where your discretionary Calories come from, you can enjoy your favorite Valentine’s Day treats and maintain the adequate, balanced and moderate diet that you have every other day of the week!If chocolates are your favorite:

Put a few on a plate, and eat slowly and mindfully.

Savor every bite of the indulgent snack.

Avoid having the whole box, that your well-meaning partner gave to you, within sight.

By sitting down, enjoying the flavor of the chocolates, and monitoring portion size, you can extend the

enjoyment of the chocolate and feel better about having a few pieces each day that fit in to your healthy diet rather than “ruining” your efforts and feeling guilty for overconsuming in one sitting.Choose a drink OR dessert:

Both fancy cocktails and indulgent desserts are filled with discretionary Calories.

Think about where you want to “spend” your 200-300 Calories of added sugar, solid fat and alcohol.

Rather than overdoing it one night, remind yourself you have another 200-300 Calories to “spend” tomorrow on what you are in the mood for.

Let go of the all or nothing approach and acknowledge that small indulgences daily can fit in to your nutritional needs.And if you want drinks AND dessert, spend your Calories wisely:

Sometimes I want a little alcohol AND a sweet treat to top off my dinner! If you are the same, there are a number of ways to navigate this:

1. Reduce portion size: Share dessert with a partner

2. Make your drink “skinny”: go for soda water and a bit of your favorite alcohol

3. Make “dessert” with fruit: Try dessert that is sweetened with fruit rather than added sugar and leave your discretionary Calories for the fancy cocktails.

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