4 tips for a healthy Valentine’s Day

4 tips for a healthy Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day is a time to celebrate and enjoy time with the people you love.

But you don’t have to forego your favorite celebratory treats. health enews checked in with Jamie Portnoy, a registered dietitian with Advocate Medical Group’s Weight Management Program in Libertyville, Ill. to get some tips.

Here are four ways you can enjoy the holiday in a healthy way with your loved ones:

  1. You can still drink wine. If you plan to partake in a glass or two of vino, Portnoy suggests going for a red wine. “The antioxidant resveratrol, a key ingredient found in red wine, can help prevent damage to blood vessels,” she says. “This ingredient can reduce low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol (the “BAD” cholesterol) and prevents blood clots.”She says some research shows that resveratrol could be linked to a reduced risk of inflammation and blood clotting, both of which can lead to heart disease. “Of course, with any alcohol, always use moderation,” she says. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans defines drinking in moderation as having no more than one drink per day for women and no more than two drinks per day for men.
  1. If you are craving chocolate, Portnoy says reach for the dark chocolate box. “Always choose dark chocolate vs. milk chocolate when choosing chocolate,” she says. “Cocoa and dark chocolate have a wide variety of powerful antioxidants. The compounds can help blood flow in the arteries.” Research shows that eating more dark chocolate can help to lower blood pressure, but you have to balance calories by eating less of other things, portion control and moderation, she says.
  1. Make your outing an active one. “When we think of a typical date, we generally think of meeting for dinner, drinks, something that involves calories,” Portnoy says. “Why not break the ice with something more active and calorie free such as- bowling, rock climbing, ice skating, tennis, a museum, a planetarium, a walk around the mall or a workout class.”
  1. Taking your date to a restaurant? Portnoy suggests to look up the menu prior to going, that way you can make your decision before you go and not be tempted with bad decisions once you arrive at the restaurant.“Never leave the house hungry. About one to two hours before eating, have a small, healthy snack (apple, small salad) to avoid pre-meal munching later,” she says. “Once you sit down at your table, try and order first. Listening to everyone else’s choices can be tempting.”

    Portnoy also says to try ordering menu items a la carte. “You can add vegetables to just about anything,” she adds. “Eat slowly, engage in conversation, taste the food and enjoy.”

While you are indulging your heart with all the love this weekend, don’t forget these tips to keep your ticker and overall health in good shape, too, Portnoy says.

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About the Author

Sarah Scroggins
Sarah Scroggins

Sarah Scroggins, health enews contributor, is the director of social media at Advocate Aurora Health. She has a BA and MA in Communications. When not on social media, she loves reading a good book (or audiobook), watching the latest Netflix series and teaching a college night class.