Healthy tips you’ll love to keep…well beyond Valentine’s Day

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These tips are real keepers, as they’re designed to help you maintain a healthy svelte figure, from your Valentine’s soiree to any future treats of special meals. Love it or hate it, Valentine’s Day remains one of the biggest restaurant nights of the year – one that often involves heavy dinners and decadent desserts. But with a few tips and some planning, you can get through the big night without feeling heavier the next morning.

Steer clear of the bread basket

If you’d like a roll, take one and move the basket out of reach or ask the waitron to remove it. The same goes for chips, should you be at a Mexican restaurant. Allow yourself a small handful and then stay away from them the rest of the night.

Meal modifications are key

Feel free to make special requests, such as asking the waitron to put the sauce on the side – or to substitute veggies for french fries. Find out if your meal can be made without butter, oil or salt…anything that could help cut down on calories. Also remember, grilled is usually better than fried and baked is better than braised.

Healthy from the start

Consider ordering a light salad or soup as a starter, to help fill you up before diving into the big meal. You also might want to split an entrée with your significant other. Remember that restaurant portions are often larger than normal. Consider eating half of your meal and putting the rest in a doggie bag.

Avoid all the bells and whistles

Every extra adds inches, so when it comes to a salad, avoid toppings like buttery croutons, grated cheese, bacon and dollops of high-fat dressing. The same goes with a burger, baked potato and other entrees.

Red is it!

Red bell peppers, radicchio, cherries, strawberries, red beans, red onions and tomatoes, for example, are all packed with vitamins, cancer-fighting antioxidants or cholesterol-busting fiber and protein. In addition, a daily glass of red wine is believed to help reduce the risk of blood clots and keep the cardiovascular system in shape. So forego that cocktail, which can be loaded with sugar, and have a glass of red wine instead (and ask if they serve a light version).

A sensible gift can go a long way

If you and your significant other are trying to lose or maintain weight, consider purchasing a fruit basket instead of a box of chocolates, or baking a low-calorie dessert. Durbell also stocks a number of sugar-free candies and chocolate brands. A bouquet of flowers, healthy cookbook, personal training sessions or a day spa gift certificate could also prove very welcome and worthy gift substitutes.

Total deprivation is not the answer

Valentine’s Day is a celebration of everything you love. Having a small slice of cake or a couple truffles will not kill you or ruin your diet. However, moderation is key. Also, if you decide to delight in a little sweetness, you’ll be pleased to know that research indicates chocolate is full of healthy compounds and may actually help prevent heart disease, enhance the immune system and promote a feeling of well-being. Of course, you knew that all along.

Consider dining in this year

Another great way to save calories, money and avoid crowds, is to have a little kitchen encounter with your love. Find an easy reduced-calorie meal that you can cook together, or treat you significant other to a special home-cooked meal. Rent some romantic movies and make a healthy dessert, like strawberry shortcake sprinkled with your favorite low-calorie sweetener, and enjoy!

For more dietary information, please speak to your Durbell pharmacist or nutritionist, or visit your nearest Durbell Clinic. For all other heart-happy ideas, visit your nearest Durbell – we have Valentine’s covered – from cards to gifts to heart-healthy treats and surprises. Nothing says real love like a heart-felt gift of health and happiness. Visit us soon and feel the love.