Valentine’s Day is almost here. Whether you’re a lover or hater you’re bound to be inundated with the sweeter things in life. If you’re still trying to stick to those new year’s changes then read my tips and twix for a healthier Feast of Saint Valentine.
Red roses and chocolate smother our shops during the month of February. The rustle of a red wrapper can be very hard to resist. Dark chocolate is always healthier as it has fewer additives. The higher the dark chocolate percentage the purer the cocoa. Although, no one wants to be too bitter on Valentine’s Day.
Some chocolates have additional sugar, sweeteners and milk to make them more palatable. Check your chocolate labels carefully. It can be better to splurge on a higher end chocolate such as Haigh’s or Koko Black. Their chocolate is sourced directly and sustainably from top quality cocoa farmers. You’ll probably purchase smaller quantities too.
White chocolate is high in sugar and devoid of cocoa solids which give chocolate its health benefits. There are some delicious unsweetened chocolates on the market that contain no added sugar or artificial sweeteners. Sweet Williams ‘Sweet As’ range contains loads less calories than ordinary chocolate and is low GI. The rice crackle and nutty crunch are scrumptious.
Diabetic chocolate should be avoided as it’s loaded with artificial sweeteners and could have you running to the bathroom from your romantic dinner. Carob to me is like a bad date. It’s full of fat, not very sweet and leaves a bad taste in your mouth. If you have diabetes, then you’re better off consuming smaller amounts of dark chocolate.
Read your labels carefully. Some chocolates like Turkish delight claim to have less fat but contain more sugar than your average chocolate. Look for chocolate that has nuts, berries or coconut as they are more nutritious and will fill you up. Lindt fruit sensations are luscious dark chocolates with raspberries, cranberries, acai or blueberries. Just make sure you share them with your loved one.
Chocolate is full of flavonoids which are antioxidants that have a beneficial anti-inflammatory effect. Dark chocolate also contains serotonin which has been shown to improve your mood. In excess on the other hand chocolate can make you feel anxious and give you heart burn and a bad night’s rest. You may think it’s your date making your heart race when it’s actually the box of Roses you shared.
Dining out on Valentine’s Day isn’t great for your waist or wallet. Most menus are set especially for the day with inflated prices that lock you into overeating. Try adding love to a home cooked meal served with candlelight and music instead of fries. If you do go out share your entrees and desserts. Taking time out for a picnic, movie or theatre date can be another special way to feel the romance without feeling the calories.
Gifts don’t always have to be chocolate. I know I’m also willing to accept flowers, perfume or jewellery. Another wonderful idea if you have a big heart is to donate to Sweet Heart Day. This is an organisation that fights childhood heart disease. They can arrange a virtual Valentine’s Day gift to be sent to your loved one on Valentine’s Day.
Kale me a cynic but I think romance can be embraced on any day not just the 14th of February when we feel pressured to purchase overpriced chocolate and dine out on expensive set menus. I’m sure your loved ones already know that you’re the apple of their eye and they’re totally nuts for you. Happy Valentine’s Day.