Holidays can be a challenge when you are trying to live a healthy lifestyle. Celebrations are often centered around food – and not always the nutritious kind! While Valentine’s Day is a good occasion to indulge, a few simple swaps can create more healthy meals. A little indulgence now and then can fit within an overall healthy eating pattern. Check out these simple swap ideas:
- Swap sugar for dried fruit. Dried fruit will give you the added sweetness you’re craving in a healthy way.
- Swap regular yogurt for Greek yogurt. Greek yogurt is typically higher in protein and lower in salt and sugar than regular yogurt. Compare food labels, and pick the healthiest option.
- Swap microwave popcorn for air-popped popcorn. Popcorn is a healthy low-calorie, high-fiber snack. Ditch the microwave bags and air-pop instead.
- Swap sugar for cinnamon. Cinnamon a healthy option when you need a little sweetness. Try it on your pancakes, toast, or oatmeal. Use it as a sweetener in your coffee or tea instead of sugar, creamer, or honey. It even tastes great sprinkled on top of air-popped popcorn.
- Swap chips for veggies. If you love a good dip, use veggies. You can enjoy what you love, and get a serving of veggies, too.
- Swap creamy dressing for oil-based dressings. Oil-based dressings can be made with heart healthy oils. Creamy dressings are typically high in fat and sugar.
- Swap white bread, bagels, or muffins with their whole wheat counterparts.
- Swap butter on your potato for broccoli. Steamed broccoli and a sprinkle of low-fat cheese is a healthy and flavorful way to dress up a baked potato.
- Swap shakes for smoothies. Ditch the ice cream and opt for a healthy smoothie with a serving of fruit and veggies! Click here to learn how to create a healthy smoothie.
- Swap chips for nuts. If you’re craving something salty with a good crunch, reach for a handful of nuts instead of a bag of chips. Nuts are heart-healthy and contain fiber and other nutrients.
Start practicing a few of these simple swap ideas. Before you know it, they’ll be a part of your regular eating pattern.
This Valentine’s Day make room for a little indulgence by swapping out a high calorie or high fat breakfast with a healthy one. Try one of these ideas, perfect for the ones you love.
This recipe takes a little extra time to make. If you’re too rushed in the morning, have Valentine crepes for dinner instead.
Kids love food when it comes in fun shapes. When you cut a heart out of each pancake, you’ll have some excess pieces. Don’t throw them away! Save them for breakfast tomorrow. Serve them torn up into bite-sized pieces.
If you want to do something festive on Valentine’s Day morning, but you need it to be quick, make overnight oats. Sprinkle a few mini chocolate chips on top just for fun.
When your regular eating plan consists of healthy behaviors, you can enjoy your valentine’s treat guilt free. Click here for more healthy Valentine Day Ideas.
Certified Nutrition Education Ambassador