The Hallmark proclaimed day of love is upon us.  Yes, there is a deep-rooted history behind this holiday, but my personal feeling is that Hallmark hijacked it and that’s why we’re bombarded with everything Valentine’s Day shortly after the New Year.  

Okay, off my soapbox.

Typically, we celebrate by indulging in food (sweets in particular) and alcohol.  The holiday happens to fall on a Friday this year, which means you’re more likely to splurge.  Let’s discuss some ways to enjoy this day to its fullest while keeping health in mind.

Whether your Valentine has two or four legs, you’ll be looking for some kind of gift to give them.  Don’t forget to treat yourself, too. You can (and should) be your own Valentine because loving yourself is the foundation for loving others.  So, how can you treat someone else and treat yourself with health in mind?

Physical Activity
Get the giggles out of your system now because I’m not talking about what you think I am.  Taking a walk with your favorite person or pet is a great way to incorporate movement and quality time.  Whether it’s a stroll along the street outside the restaurant you just dined at, a walk in the local park or a hike on a trail you’ve been dying to get to, any of these are great ways to spend your time.  There’s a Dirty Dancing Beer and Yoga event coming up soon, too!

Looking to de-stress and relax with your love?  Spas are usually running specials on just about every service they offer.  Massage does wonders for your body so lay back and enjoy. Nails looking not so good?  Get a manicure or pedicure. Treat yourself to a style session at your local salon – who doesn’t love a scalp massage with your shampoo?  All of these activities involve pampering and relaxation. Treating someone to any of these shows them you care about them just as much as you do yourself.

Get Creative
You don’t have to fall for the giant box of chocolate.  Instead, get in the kitchen and make one of these indulgences that say hey, I like you enough to keep your health in mind:

  • Chocolate covered strawberries, or any berry for that matter.  Melt some dark chocolate and get dipping!
  • Popcorn dipped in melted white chocolate and mixed with some sprinkles or chocolate candies
  • Add some of your favorite chopped nuts and some multigrain cereal and dried fruit to that popcorn recipe for a trail mix you can take on your hike
  • For your 4 legged friend, try these two ingredient treats!

Now let’s switch gears for a moment here and focus on the special meal that’s likely to take place at some point that weekend.

As I mentioned earlier, one night of indulgence will not derail your healthy lifestyle overall.  Some easy tips to keep in mind while eating out:

  • My drink and water rule: For every alcoholic drink you have, drink double that amount of water before you have your next drink.
  • Share small plates: Who says you have to have a full entree?  Tweaking our previous strategy for desserts at Thanksgiving, order appetizers or tapas to split.  This way you can sample and not feel deprived.
  • Don’t skip dessert!  Read that again. Have some damned dessert!  It’s a day to enjoy something sweet.  I suggest sharing a dessert at the restaurant.  You could go to a local bakery and buy a couple of cookies or a small tart to keep portions in check.  If you like any of the recipes I suggested, get in the kitchen and make them with your Valentine: time together with something yummy to share at the end is always a good time.  

Well, folks, I hope this day of love treats you well, no matter how you spend it.  Remember, self-care and indulgence can go hand in hand.

Treat yo’ self!

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