How couples can stick to their diet over Valentine's Day

Holidays such as Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year's, and Valentine's Day can knock anyone off the healthy diet bandwagon. With dinner parties, cocktail events, and generously portioned leftovers, it's hard not to feast over these holidays.

Valentine's Day can also be a nightmare for dieters because cakes, chocolates, cookies, and candies are everywhere. And topping it off with wine or champagne makes for icing on the calorie-laden cake.

Yet you and your sweetheart don't have to let your healthy diet fall to the wayside. There are ways to enjoy your Valentine's Day that don't involve sugar and excessive calories.

At dinner parties, keep each other in check. If you're alone at a cocktail party, it can be so tempting to pig out. Having your sweetheart by your side could be a tremendous help. Plan ahead before you arrive. It might help to develop a signal you can use when one of you feels tempted to have those extra portions. A small signal or gentle reminder from your sweetheart may be just what you need to help you enjoy the wonderful moderation.

Find alternatives to sugary Valentine's Day foods. Instead of chocolate boxes why not give your loved one a fruit basket or can of nuts. If you must indulge in the chocolate, find a healthy middle ground with a nice dark chocolate loaded with antioxidants, or how about strawberries and chocolate fondue?

Prepare a Valentine's Day Red-Themed Meal. If you plan on dining in, there are plenty of healthy red foods to give your meal a Valentine's Day theme. Try fresh cherry tomatoes, red bell peppers, red delicious apples, whole grain pasta and tomato sauce, the possibilities are endless. Adorn the table with white table cloth, red roses, or red candles for a romantic touch.

Burn calories with your sweetheart on Valentine's Day by playing a two-person sport. Power up your diet with some tennis, rock-climbing, or couples' yoga. Engaging in physical activity together will bring you closer together. Follow up a good workout with a romantic walk or a couples' massage.

If you choose to dine out, share one entree. In most restaurants, one entree contains enough calories for two or three meals. Splitting an entree will allow you and your sweetheart to enjoy fine dining while still eating reasonable portions. If one entree isn't enough, you can always order a few healthy appetizers as side dishes. If you share a pasta and meatball dish, you can even reenact the scene from Lady and the Tramp.

Valentine's Day does not have to mean gorging on sweets. You and your sweetheart can still enjoy Valentine's Day while sticking to your healthy diet.

Nikon D80 Apple

Used white paper behind apple and above apple and bounced SB-600 at 1/4th power.

Red Apple
Credit: Abhijit Tembhekar from Mumbai, India