10 Tips to Have a Healthier Valentine's Day
When you’re trying to stick to a healthier lifestyle, holidays can be a challenge, and Valentine’s Day is no exception. All those Valentine’s Day treats — like candy hearts, boxes of chocolate, decadent dinners, and glasses of bubbly — can put your willpower to the test.
So how can you enjoy the lovefest without abandoning your healthy habits and fitness goals? Here are 10 simple hacks for a healthier Valentine’s Day.
1. Cook a Romantic Dinner at Home
Let’s be real — dining out on Valentine’s Day usually means scoping out a reservation weeks in advance, braving the crowds, and paying way too much for a prix fixe meal. Save the headaches, cash, and calories by cooking dinner at home instead. (Need inspiration? Try one of these Valentine’s Day recipes.)
2. Plan an Active Date Night
There’s no rule that your Valentine’s Day plans have to include a quiet dinner and cuddling on the couch. Make Valentine’s Day healthier (and more fun!) with active date ideas — go for a hike, take a couples yoga class, try axe throwing, or go out dancing.
3. Upgrade Your V-Day Candy
Those chocolate samplers might as well be the official symbol of Valentine’s Day, but if you’re trying to stick to a healthy eating plan, opt for healthier Valentine’s Day candy — like lower-sugar versions of your favorite sweets, or homemade truffles made with strawberries and unsweetened coconut. Even better: Enjoy a yummy fruit basket instead.
4. Get Festive with Fruits
Valentine’s Day typically means everything from cupcakes to candy to beverages dyed in a festive shade of red or pink. Instead of using additives, get in the spirit with naturally rose-hued foods like beets, strawberries, and raspberries. One great option: Start your day with this Beet Berry Smoothie. Its bright pink color comes from beet powder, cherries, and strawberries. Yum!
5. Watch Your Wine Intake
Alcohol is typically full of empty calories, so whether you’re toasting with bubbly or sipping red wine, keep your portions in check. Instead of filling your glass, measure out a 5-ounce serving — and alternate between alcoholic beverages and water or seltzer.
6. Choose Healthier Desserts
If you’ve been thinking about Valentine’s Day desserts since the first minute of February, you don’t have to skip out on sweets altogether. But branch out from your usual pink confetti cupcakes and use V-Day as an excuse to try a healthier dessert recipe, like Gluten-Free Apple Crisp or Strawberry Parfait with Balsamic Vinegar.
7. Stay On-Track with Healthy Food Swaps
Whether you’re planning your Galentine’s Day party menu or baking a Valentine’s Day dessert for your sweetie, a few simple food substitutions can help you cut back on added sugar and empty calories. Try these:
- When baking, use unsweetened applesauce in place of sugar. (You may need to reduce the amount of oil you use so the recipe isn’t watery.)
- For dip recipes, replace sour cream with low-fat Greek yogurt — you’ll get less fat and more protein (around 3 grams per ounce of yogurt).
- Use mashed banana as a substitute for butter in recipes. (Use a one-to-one ratio, but reduce your cooking time by 25 percent.)
- Substitute pureed black beans or white beans for all-purpose flour in recipes for cookies, cupcakes, or brownies.
- Swap out chips and crackers for spiced popcorn or roasted chickpeas.
8. Exchange Gifts that Support Your Goals
Instead of the usual cliché Valentine’s Day gifts, ask for something that will help you achieve your fitness and nutrition goals — like some stylish activewear, a streaming workout subscription, or useful kitchen tools. Sure, getting a veggie spiralizer or pressure cooker for Valentine’s Day might sound like the least romantic gift idea ever. But think about it — while roses will be wilted in a week, you’ll be making your favorite InstantPot recipes for years to come!
9. Get Creative with Valentine’s Day Treats for Kids
Need to send in kid-friendly treats for a classroom party? Think outside the usual sweets and send non-food goodies instead — like stickers, crayons, or heart-shaped sunglasses. (Their teachers will thank you!)
10. Don’t Forget Self-Care
Valentine’s Day is all about celebrating the people you love — and that list should include you! Be sure to include some simple self-care routines in your Valentine’s Day plans, like starting a gratitude journal, scheduling a massage, or trying a walking meditation.