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Unique and Healthy Valentine’s Day Meal Ideas

Feb 10, 2016

valentines-day-date-dinner-at-homeIt happens all the time. In fact, sometimes it feels like it never ends. Holidays come and try to disrupt our healthy habits.

You’re fresh off making your New Year’s resolutions, and are doing great with your workouts with your trainer and your new take on healthy eating. You’re strolling the store aisles, cart full of fruits and vegetables, when BAM.  You’re face-to-face with hearts, flowers, and CHOCOLATE (which, somehow, always tastes just a little better when wrapped in pink and red foil). You heroically steer right past the sweets-laden areas of the store (good job!), but then you start thinking about your own Valentine’s Day plans.

With your newly refreshed healthy lifestyle, your V-Day norm of going out for a heavy, fat-laden dinner, followed by a movie in a theater doesn’t quite fit the bill. Lucky for you, we’ve put together ideas for a unique, Fitness Together-friendly meal for your Valentine’s Day dinner that will leave both you and your honey feeling fit, energized and ready for whatever else your evening has in store.

Consider a soup starter.  This warm, comforting winter staple happens to be a very smart way to start off you meal (as long as it’s not the healthy-in-disguise kind that’s filled with butter and cream, of course). Filling up on a water-filled soup can keep you from overdoing it on your main course. In fact, a study that appeared in Appetite a few years ago found that people who started lunch with vegetable soup ended up eating 20 percent less than those who skipped the soup.  One to try: This easy tomato soup recipe swaps out the heavy cream for plenty of fresh, antioxidant-rich basil.  http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/tomato-basil-soup-2

Can you do fondue?  Yes, indeed. This culinary relic from the 1970’s is making a comeback, and with its resurgence has come some brilliant ideas for making cheese fondue a healthy, fun meal option. This website (  http://www.sheknows.com/food-and-recipes/articles/807305/cooking-tips-for-making-lowfat-fondue  ) has great ideas for how to enjoy fondue in a healthy way, including using lower-fat cheese, mixing in some diced veggies (think: green chiles, bell peppers, onions, tomatoes, or spinach) to thin out the cheese, and – get this – pureed white beans!  Instead of white bread, be creative with your dippers. Try cut, seasoned and briefly-steamed broccoli, cauliflower, and mushrooms. Raw celery, cherry tomatoes, and green beans are more great dunking options. 

Foil your food.  Have you tried foil pack cooking yet? This healthy, simple way of preparing meats and veggies is taking social media by storm. You simply place your well-seasoned meat and veggies on a square of foil or parchment paper, bake, and you have a delicious meal with very little prep time. Plus, clean-up is a breeze, leaving you more time to spend snuggling with your sweetheart. Check out some recipes here: http://www.eatingwell.com/recipes_menus/recipe_slideshows/healthy_packet_recipes_foil_packet_recipes

Desert the dessert?  No way. We love the idea of blending up frozen fruit, adding in a little water and stevia, to make a guilt-free sorbet. Feeling creative? Try adding some fresh mint or basil leaves to the fruit before blending. Or, if you’re part of the “it’s not dessert if it’s not chocolate” club, here’s a festive way surprise your partner with a healthy-yet-indulgent dessert they won’t soon forget.  Dip some strawberries, banana chunks, and cherries in dark chocolate and place in mini cupcake liners. While the chocolate is still wet, sprinkle on some coconut, chopped nuts, or chia seeds. Let the chocolate set in the refrigerator, and then place in a heart-shaped box for a very special “box of chocolates” the two of you can enjoy together. 

Sharing and preparing a unique and fun Valentine’s Day meal with your loved one can bring you closer together, and is WAY more fun than eating out with the masses of other people at the restaurants. Plus, these meal ideas are healthy enough that you’ll be ready to step right back into your workout habits come Monday. Enjoy! 

Many Fitness Together® studios offer Nutrition Together®, a science-based nutrition program which gives you the knowledge to achieve sustainable healthy eating habits. Industry-leading general nutritional guidance, combined with state-of-the-art personal training, will set you on the right path to a healthy and fit lifestyle. Find a studio near you: http://fitnesstogether.com/find-a-studio