Valentine’s day may have your New Year’s resolution put to the test. From the traditional box of chocolates to the chocolate covered cherries your loved one is impressing you with, the holiday sweets just seem to always be present. We should have the opportunity to indulge on a special day, and some sweets can even have positive health benefits. Here are some sweet treat alternatives and tips to healthy Valentine’s day gift giving.
Opt for a single, small piece of dark chocolate rather than a whole box of mixed chocolates. Forgoing the easy-to-find heart shaped box of chocolates will show your sweetie you really care. Find a local candy shop and purchase one piece of decadent, rich, dark chocolate. Wrap the box with beautiful paper and a bow to make it even more special. Dark chocolate has heart healthy benefits. It contains antioxidants and flavonoids that relax blood vessels and in turn may help to lower blood pressure. Dark chocolate also contains oleic acid which is a monounsaturated fat. This type of fat in moderation is good for the heart and has been shown to lower LDL (or the “bad”) cholesterol.
Cook up a special dinner and serve with a bottle of red wine. A glass of wine also has heart healthy benefits. Filled with antioxidants, red wine has been shown to increase HDL (or the “good”) cholesterol, prevent blood clotting and plaque formation in arteries.
Make the day special for your kids by cutting their lunchbox sandwiches or breakfast toast in heart shapes. Leave heart shaped love notes in their homework or book bag. These simple gestures leave out the unwanted calories (mainly sugar!) they don’t need and really show your kids how much they are loved.
Send your sweetie a fruit basket. Companies specialize in customized edible fruit arrangements that are very showy and beautiful. The thought is what counts and beautiful cut fruit in differing shapes and sizes will be sure to impress your loved one.
If you just can’t beat the urge to bake a batch of cookies or brownies for your sweetie, then replace half the amount of fat the recipe calls for with applesauce. Splenda can also be used in place of half the amount of sugar the recipe calls for. Both tricks will cut back on calories and still leave your baked goods tasting scrumptious.
Remember, Valentine’s day isn’t about the sweet treats. Help keep your loved one healthy by choosing healthy alternative treats. And if these sweet treats don’t trip your trigger, flowers never fail!