The purpose of Valentine’s Day is to spend quality time with your sweetheart, but that doesn’t mean that you have to load up on sweets as well. Though this holiday is often associated with rich, decadent foods, you can find plenty of delicious treats to devour without putting your health at risk. The following are some alternatives to the most notorious Valentine’s Day sweets.
1. Dark chocolate
A box of chocolates has become synonymous with passion, love and romance. Fortunately, you don’t have to skip out on chocolate all together if you want to stay healthy for Valentine’s Day this year. Instead of going for the generic box of assorted chocolates, buy your sweetheart a bar of dark chocolate instead. It’s much healthier than other types of chocolate. It’s loaded with healthy antioxidants (which can help prevent cardiovascular disease and other conditions), and it even helps improve your mood and protect your skin from UV rays. Many believe chocolate is a natural aphrodisiac as well, so it’s a great choice for this romantic holiday. Choose dark chocolates with at least 70 percent cocoa for the most health benefits.
(For a list of other aphrodisiacs for Valentine’s Day, read 5 Natural Aphrodisiacs To Help Set The Mood.)
It’s natural to think of sweets on Valentine’s Day, but don’t forget how sweetly satisfying many fruits can be. Options like pomegranates, strawberries, mango, kiwi and starfruit are delicious, flavorful and sweet. Many people even consider fruit to be a sensual treat. For added sweetness, try drizzling your favorite fruits with dark chocolate or honey. Or, send your sweetie a bouquet of skewered sliced fruits in place of chocolates or flowers.
Many people forget how satisfying nuts are as a snack, and these also can make a great treat to share with your loved one on Valentine’s Day. Specialty shops offer exotic nuts that you can try as well as those which are dusted with flavorful powders, such as cocoa powder, cinnamon or chili. Best of all, this is a healthy snack packed with proteins that you don’t have to feel guilty about.
4. Airy Chocolates
Another option for making your chocolate selection better is to choose chocolates that have light and airy insides rather than a dense inside or fatty fillings. According to Redbook, one miniature 3 Musketeers chocolate has only 24 calories and less than a gram of fat. Compare that with a mini Butterfinger, which has 45 calories and 2 grams of fat and it’s easy to see why these types of chocolates are better for you.
Eating a lollipop is sweet, satisfying and possibly even sensual. Most importantly, they take a long time to consume. That’s why having a sucker can be a great way to satisfy your sweet tooth without consuming too many calories. The classic Dum Dum lollipops, for example, contain just 20 calories and 0 grams of fat each. You could even give a small bouquet of lollipops as a sweet, thoughtful and unique gift for your valentine. And don’t forget about hard candies like Jolly Ranchers. They aren’t great for your teeth, but just one is often satisfying since it’s so flavorful and takes so long to finish.
Whipping up some homemade baked goods is a sweet gesture, but it doesn’t have to be one that’s also filled with calories and fat. Choose healthier varieties of your favorite cookies for a sweet treat that’s just as satisfying. Oatmeal cookies with a sprinkling of raisins or dark chocolate chips are a great option, for example.
7. Ice Cream
One popular dessert that’s always sure to please is ice cream, and Valentine’s Day is no exception. This year, pick out some delicious low-fat ice cream or yogurt for a delicious end to your meal. Sorbet and sherbet are good options as well. Instead of chocolate or other high-calorie toppings, add fruit or crushed nuts for a more nutritious addition to your dessert.
If you’re more of a cake person when it comes to dessert, you can still have your favorite treat on Valentine’s Day without going overboard on the calories. Angel Food cake is much better for you than most other cakes, including cheesecake. Try some of this fat-free cake with some fruit for a topping and you’ll be amazed at how it’s just as sweet as other cakes without the negative effects on your health.
(For snack ideas for the kids, read Healthy Valentine’s Day Snacks For Kids.)
Remember that it’s okay to splurge a little for special occasions like Valentine’s Day. When you pick the right food items, there shouldn’t be anything to worry about when you decide to indulge a little bit in the name of romance. Just keep an eye on your portion size and don’t overdo it, or you may suffer from a sugar crash as a result of your sweet tooth.