Valentine’s Day is here again!
It’s a time for cards, flowers, and kisses—and for huge boxes of candy and rich, indulgent meals. What’s a health-conscious couple to do?
Whether you’re planning to hit the town with a significant other or spend the night cooking up a storm at home, it is possible to have a healthy, delicious Valentine’s Day meal!
For the romantics out there, here are seven tasty, nutritious foods to keep in mind:
1.) Dark Chocolate
What says “romance” more than chocolate? Dark, silky, sensual, and proven to boost libido, chocolate is a Valentine’s Day staple for a reason.
And as long as you stick to the right kinds of chocolate, this delicious indulgence can actually come loaded with health benefits!
If you eat the good stuff this Valentine’s Day (we’re talking dark chocolate, containing 70–85 percent cocoa), you’ll also be getting a ton of:
- healthful fibers
- vitamins and minerals (including iron, magnesium, potassium, and zinc)
- powerful antioxidants
Try splitting a bar of this sweet treat with your sweetie, or serving it alongside your favorite fruits for a simple, healthy dessert.
Coming in bright shades of red, purple, and pink, berries are the perfect complement to a Valentine’s Day meal. These little fruits are sweet and tart – and also totally good for you!
In fact, berries have been said to be “among the healthiest foods you can eat.” For one thing, berries come jam-packed with antioxidants, which can help neutralize free radicals, reduce inflammation, and fight against disease.
Try serving up a few of your favorite berries in a parfait, alongside your favorite Greek yogurt and topped with some (amazingly healthy) chia seeds. Want to go savory? Consider adding berries to a salad containing some bright, healthy greens, like arugula or kale.
As any teenager could tell you, being able to tie a cherry stem with your tongue is a sure sign that someone’s a good kisser. But this Valentine’s Day, don’t just rip off the stems—eat that fruit, too!
In addition to their striking red color and sweet flavor, cherries can add a pop of nutrition to your Valentine’s meal. This low-calorie stone fruit is loaded with fiber, calcium, Vitamin A, and folic acid. Cherries also come chock full of antioxidants and boast a high polyphenol content, which could help reduce blood pressure.
Try splitting a bowl of sweet cherries with your significant other for a delicious pre- or post-meal treat. You can also cook up tart cherries into a delicious sauce, perfect for drizzling over baked goods or ice cream.
Another bright red food, tomatoes are the perfect visual addition to a Valentine’s Day table. They’re also tasty, versatile, and surprisingly nutritious!
In particular, tomatoes are high in an antioxidant known as lycopene, which has been shown to help in the fight against heart disease and cancer by strengthening cells. In addition, tomatoes are rich in potassium and other minerals.
Try whipping up a quick, delicious tomato sauce this Valentine’s Day, or creating a simple salad with tomatoes and fresh herbs. And on February 15, a nice Bloody Mary, containing fresh squeezed tomato juice, might just do your body some good (depending on what you imbibe the night before).
Like chocolate, oysters have long been said to be a potent, natural aphrodisiac. While it may sound like an urban legend, it’s true! This slippery, slimy shellfish comes loaded with zinc, which helps the body produce testosterone, a hormone that plays a big role in regulating libido and sexual function for men and women alike.
Even if you’re thinking beyond the bedroom, oysters may still be a great, healthy choice! They come packed with beneficial vitamins and minerals, plus a hefty portion of protein. In fact, a six-ounce portion of Pacific oysters contains a whopping 16 grams of protein (almost a quarter of the daily recommended intake), and just four grams of fat.
To experience all the benefits of oysters this Valentine’s Day, try getting an order served on the half-shell. If you’ve never tried oysters and you’re nervous about the taste, you can always zest up your serving with horseradish, cocktail sauce, or hot sauce.
For many people, Valentine’s Day is synonymous with one destination—the steakhouse.
Whether or not you or your loved one is a certifiable carnivore, steaks are a classic Valentine’s Day main course. They’re rich, juicy, and definitely expensive enough to impress a date. But are they healthy?
On the one hand, beef is a great source of protein, as well as essential vitamins and minerals, like zinc, iron, and Vitamin B12. On the other hand (or should we say “hoof”), some cuts of steak can be incredibly fatty.
If you’re opting for a steak this Valentine’s Day, you can make a healthy choice by opting for a leaner cut of meat, one that offers the highest ratio of protein to fat, like eye-of-round or top sirloin. Be sure to look at the menu’s description, too. USDA-certified meats come in three categories; if you’re worried about fat, order a cut graded “Choice” or “Select,” rather than “Prime” (which usually has more fat).
7.) Sparkling Wine
On Valentine’s Day, wine is almost de rigeur for couples dining out—and sparkling wine is an amazingly popular choice! In fact, Americans typically spend about $8.6 million on sparkling wine on Valentine’s Day, with more than 174,000 gallons sold over the course of the holiday week.
This year, you can pop open that bottle of bubbly without shame. At the very least, you can tell yourself that you’re making a (reasonably) healthy choice. Champagne and other varieties of sparkling wine, like prosecco or cava, are:
Now, the Enrollment Specialists would like to know: How are you celebrating Valentine’s Day this year? What are your tips for staying healthy on this indulgent holiday? We’d love to hear from you on Facebook!
And if your Valentine’s Day celebrations (*ahem*) lead to a new family member (or two) down the road, the Enrollment Specialists are here to talk all things health and life insurance! Don’t hesitate to shoot us a line with any policy questions you may have. Our insurance superhero, Matt Peebles, is always ready to save the day!