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Top Tips for Staying Healthy This Valentine's Day

Natalie
Stein
January 19, 2022
Top Tips for Staying Healthy This Valentine’s Day - Lark Health
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In this article:

  • Valentine's Day can be challenging if you are trying to lose weight or eat healthily. Candy can be everywhere, and Valentine's Day dinners are often high in calories, carbohydrates, and fat.
  • It is okay to enjoy some favorite treats on Valentine's Day. To keep them from getting in the way of your health goals, have small portions, choose only your favorite treats, and go back to eating your regular healthy foods the next day.
  • Lark can help you lose weight while you enjoy the best parts of life.

1. Have Small Portions

Small Portions

Portion size makes all the difference. Large portions can have more calories, sugar, and fat than you need. Smaller portions let you eat your favorite foods without going overboard.

Consider these.

Approximate Calories Larger Portion Approximate Calories
3-ounce steak
150
12-ounce steak
520
15 shoestring cut (thin) fries
80
20 thick-cut (steak) fries
200
½ cup of cooked pasta
110
Plate of pasta
600
Mini-sized candy bar
80
Large candy bar
280
1 mini brownie, brownie bite, or two-bite brownie
80
1 3×3-inch brownie
250

Valentine's Day can fit into your meal plan if you stick to smaller portions of higher-calorie foods. These can include creamy dips and sauces, pasta, fatty meats, foods with breading or pastry crust, and desserts.

2. Add Something Healthy

You don't have to eat less just because you are taking smaller portions of some high-calorie foods. You can fill up your plate with lower-calorie, more nutritious foods. For example, fill your dinner plate with salad greens or steamed or grilled vegetables. For dessert, you can add fresh or frozen fruit to a small serving of a sugary food. And if you are eating candy for a snack, add something more nutritious, such as fresh fruit or a low-fat string cheese stick. 

3. Be Choosy

Chocolate truffle

There may be some Valentine's Day foods that you really, really want. Enjoy them! But turn up your nose at other foods that are not your favorites. There's no reason to eat less-healthy foods just because they are available. 

For example, let's say you love a certain kind of chocolate truffle. Then have it! But don't eat the rest of the chocolates in the box if you do not like them as much. Choosing what you really want can help you:

  • Enjoy your favorites more.
  • Eat less overall.
  • Plan ahead.

4. Think Ahead

Planning ahead helps you get what you really want to eat without going overboard. When you already know what you are going to eat, there is less chance of the voice in your head telling you to take candy every time you pass the candy bowl. It simply isn't in the plan! Or, if you decide you really do want candy from the bowl, you can have it in exchange for another treat that you had planned to eat.

5. Get in a Workout

Yoga - Vrikshasana aka Tree Pose

Fancy dinner or not, getting some physical activity during the day can help you feel better in the evening. It burns calories and lowers blood sugar. And it can keep you on track as it reminds you that you are working hard to follow a healthy lifestyle.

6. Make Healthy Swaps

Smashed Cauliflower

Swapping a few ingredients can make items healthier. They can still taste great. These are some examples of healthy swaps.

  • Make soups creamier with pumpkin, squash, or yogurt instead of cream.
  • Use whole-grain pasta or zucchini noodles.
  • Try smashed cauliflower instead of mashed potatoes.
  • Use tomato sauce or olive oil and herbs instead of creamy pasta sauce.
  • Make paella with brown rice and with meatless sausage.
  • Try crostini with whole-grain toast or baguette toast and vegetables, such as tomatoes or spinach, fruit, or bean dip.

7. Enjoy Your Food

Why You Should Try Mindful Eating, and How to Practice It

This is a win-win. You get more pleasure. And you get to eat less. Notice the flavors and textures of your food. Think about the people or environment you are in. And eat slowly to get the most out of each bite. 

8. Plan Other Activities

Valentine's Day can include activities other than eating. Dancing, watching a movie, and star gazing are fun in-person activities. If you are remote, you can play party games with your friends. Scavenger hunts and trivia games are both good choices.

9. Eat Well Before and After

Whatever you eat on Valentine's Day will not have much of an effect on weight loss or health. That is as long as you eat your regular healthy foods before and after that special day or meal. If, on the other hand, you eat lots of sweets during most of February, you may notice weight gain or other health effects.

10. Log Your Food

Welcome to Food Logging - Badges

Log your meals and snacks in Lark. Include everything: foods, beverages, snacks, and little bites. It helps you be aware. It can keep you motivated and on track, even if Valentine's Day itself puts you out of range of some goals for calories and other nutrients.

You can also log your food beforehand as you plan what you will eat. That helps you see how different choices might affect your meal and daily totals for calories and nutrients such as carbohydrates and fat.

Losing weight and eating well can have big returns. They can boost health, energy, and confidence. And they can be part of your daily routine. You can even eat your favorite foods and lose weight.

Lark makes weight loss and healthy eating simple. With Lark, weight loss and healthy living happen when you make small changes that fit into your lifestyle. Lark offers tips, tracking, instant feedback, and friendly suggestions. Over time, small healthy changes can become habits for long-term success. Your personal Lark coach is available 24/7 through your smartphone so you can get expert tips, track meals, physical activity, and weight loss. 

The entire program may be available at no cost to you if your health insurer covers it. Click here to find out if you may be eligible for Lark! You could be minutes away from taking the first steps to hitting your weight loss goals and improving health.

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