I love Valentine’s Day! It’s such a fun excuse to celebrate the ones you love. And often with that celebration, comes a special night out! I love food and there’s no reason why you can’t get out there and enjoy a nice dinner out, even when you’re trying to lose weight. A big part of my plan is feeling great about yourself, and so often that has to do with the choices we make. So get out there and enjoy your dinner out and all the yummy food, but do so in a way that you’re going to feel great about it afterwards.
If you’re on my Plan, then your overall daily calorie goal is 1200-1800 calories per day, depending on your fitness level and goals. You want to make choices that will compliment that plan, while still enjoying your special day. You still want to enjoy a decadent “cheat,” but keep in mind that it’s still important to find balance. If you walk into a restaurant ravenous and ready to gorge yourself, you’ll likely exceed your calories in a single meal, never mind the entire day. Before you head out for the evening, and be sure to drink plenty of water to maintain healthy hydration and fill up your tummy. I like to eat a small apple before dinner, which helps, too. And be sure to get in a good workout that day.
When you’re at the restaurant, I will often order the fresh fish, but choose something that is grilled or broiled and avoid anything that is fried. You may also want to consider sharing a meal, that way you get lots of delicious bites but not too much because it’s only half a portion. Especially when it comes to dessert!
After dinner, you may want to bundle up and go for a walk together. My husband Jeff and I love to go walking after dinner. It’s a great way for us to connect and catch up on our day, while we’re also moving and helping our food to digest.
These are tricks you can use to still enjoy the splurge, feel full, but not go overboard:
● Choose corn instead of flour tortillas. Corn tortillas are also a great replacement for fatty chips when it comes to scooping up the veggie-filled salsa.
● Go for fajitas, and tacos. Not only with you get lots of veggies, but you can choose the quantity of cheese and beans to add.
● Substitute a side salad for rice. Spanish rice is often fried before it’s steamed, so you end up getting a lot more fat and calories than you may realize.
● Go for skinny margaritas. Regular margaritas will cost you about 300 calories. But as for a skinny variety, made with tequila, lime juice, and hint of agave nectar.
● Start with soup. Almost all Asian Soups are broth-based, so you don’t have much to worry about.
● Enjoy green tea. Not only is it filled with antioxidants, but it will also keep you full so that you don’t overeat.
● Avoid fried items. Spring rolls, tempura, and fried noodles should be avoided. Order steamed dumplings or summer rolls (wrapped in rice paper) instead.
● Sauce on the side. If you get the sauce mixed in, your food will be swimming in it. Getting it on the side allows you to use just enough to season your food.
● Try chopsticks. You’ll eat more slowly than you would if you use a fork. The extra time it takes will allow you to get a true sense of fullness.
● Start with a salad. Watch out for creamy dressings and Caesar salads, which have loads of fat.
● Choose minestrone or vegetable soups, which have fewer calories and fat than cream based soups and pasta fagioli!
● Skip the bread basket. Be especially careful of garlic bread or breadsticks, which are often smothered in butter.
● Go red. When it comes to sauces, choose marinara, red clam, or puttanesca sauces over cream-based or Alfredo sauces.
● Skip the side dish of pasta. Ask the waiter for vegetable or side green salad with your dish instead, and order your dressing on the side.
● Dress your pizza perfectly. Go for a plain and simple pizza with fresh vegetables, instead of meat. If whole-wheat crust if available, make that your choice.
Enjoy your special day! It’s moments where we are connecting with the ones we love that make life even more special. Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone!