Heart Healthy Valentine’s Day
Whether you are celebrating with a loved one, friends or your cats, the following tips will help to ensure you do not literally love them to an early death!
1. Rather than spoiling your Valentine with a cliché box of chocolates, opt for a more meaningful gift. If heartfelt poems aren’t up your alley, jewellery is usually well received and forgoes the calories and fat.Alternatively, well presented gift boxes full of cherries or other fruits can be delivered – Natures candy! Delivered fruit and flowers can also come with a small box of 4 chocolates as a nice treat that will also prevent overindulging (remember, there are calories/ kilojoules in body chocolate and whipped cream as well).
There is also a wonderful cause called SweetHeart Day. Money can be donated to HeartKids for a virtual Valentine’s Day gift to be sent to your loved one on the 14th of February. The money raised will go towards helping to fight childhood heart disease. So instead of spending hundreds of dollars on flowers, sweets or jewellery this year, you could be putting that money towards helping to mend the broken hearts of children. Follow the link to find out more: sweetheartday.org.au
Or perhaps your other half loves animals? There are many gift options available to help protect an array of animals and their habitats, such as the Yunnan Golden Monkey. Who wouldn’t love that face?
2. Why not revolve the day/night around outing instead of eating. Go ice-skating or for a walk along the beach, whatever your partner may fancy that will take the emphasis off indulging in discretionary foods all day – plus it counts as exercise!
3. Try a home cooked meal instead of dining out. This can really cut back on your consumption of sodium, fat and kilojoules/ calories that restaurants are so good at sneaking in by the bucket full. Portion control is also much easier. Serve fish for dinner – fish is great for heart health and is a lean source of protein.
Some tips include:
- Using herbs and spices to add flavour in place of salt
- Choosing cooking methods that require little to no oil/ fats, e.g. grilling, poaching, steaming
- Making vegetables and salad the main component of the dish
- Limiting gravies/ sauces used
- Sticking to the ¼ protein, ¼ carbohydrate, ½ vegetable rule when planning meals
- Choosing lean cuts of meat
- Serving meals on smaller plates
- Use low fat, salt reduced ingredients
Even if you are a terrible cook, your date will likely appreciate the thought and effort you have put in – this should be gift enough! Whip out the candles, put some music on (Barry White is not essential) and dim the lights to set the scene.
4. Take your date on a picnic – this combines the prior 2 points and it is romantic. Pack a healthy kit of fruits, vegetable sticks, fat reduced dips and cheese, multigrain bread, salads, nuts and whatever other healthy snacks take your fancy. Just remember to go easy on the nuts, dip and cheese!
5. If you decide to go out for dinner, share entrees and desserts. They are more than enough for 1 person and will significantly reduce the amount of calories, fat, sugar and salt that you would be otherwise consuming.
6. Keep the wine and alcoholic beverages to a minimum – the best kind of bubbles will be the ones coming from the sparkling water. Woo her/ him with your breathtaking personality instead.
Follow the above tips and not only will you receive brownie points (or, perhaps points based on a healthier sounding scoring system) but you will achieve them in a much healthier manner. So why not give yourself a challenge this year!
Have a happy Valentine’s Day!
Contact us for results focused nutritional advice
This article was written by our dietitian Belinda Elwin who is a Dietitians Association of Australia member and Accredited Practising Dietitian and Nutritionist.
If you have any nutrition related issues, feel free to make an appointment with Belinda. We will provide you with simple and effective advice targeted to your concerns. Contact us today!