Valentine’s Day

Candy Hearts and Chocolate Treats—

How to Avoid the Valentine’s Day Sugar Rush

By Juliana Jacobs, MS RD CDN

Love is certainly in the air when February arrives…and so is chocolate!

Valentine’s Day is up on our holiday checklist, which signifies many “I LOVE YOUs” and even more chocolate and sugary treats.

If you haven’t noticed, Valentine’s Day candy has been on store shelves since early-January. More than a month before the actual day! This makes it easy for consumers to purchase candy early and leave it sitting around their kitchen as an unnecessary temptation. Although one of the perks of Valentine’s Day is receiving candy and other sweet snacks, it is important to be mindful of the excess sugar that these treats contain.

Keeping that in mind, there is no need to completely boycott candy and chocolate this Valentine’s Day. We just need to indulge in a way that won’t undo all of the hard work we have done throughout the year.

Here are some sweet-tooth satisfying alternatives for store-bought candy:  

  • Mini- Muffins: Whether chocolate chip or blueberry, mini- muffins are the perfect treat to satisfy any sweet-tooth. They are not only delicious but also filling (which is more than we can say about a chocolate bar)! You can bake them using whole wheat flour, which can add extra fiber as well as low-fat milk and margarine to cut back on calories from fat.
  • Chocolate Pudding: Pudding is the perfect treat for any chocolate lover! It is low in calories and very satisfying. Also, try adding low-fat cool whip or whip cream for some extra zest! Pudding comes in many flavors such as vanilla, caramel and tapioca so it is a great and healthy option for those who crave variety.
  • Hot Chocolate: Everyone loves a cup of hot chocolate. For a rich- tasting, but still low- calorie cup of cocoa, mix a cup of low-fat milk with sugar-free cocoa powder or syrup (can add in a Splenda to sweeten if needed).  This sweet treat is so low in calories that you can even have seconds!
    • Chocolate Protein bar: Pick a bar that has up to 160 calories. You’ll get the benefit of the protein and fiber while enjoying a sweet snack.

Although Valentine’s Day is a time to spread the love, it doesn’t mean we have to over-indulge. Like on any other special day, it is okay to treat yourself to chocolate or other candy; however the key is to be mindful and not go to extremes!

Wishing you and your loved ones a Happy and Healthy Valentine’s day!

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