Love is in the air. Whether your Valentine's Day is sealed with an extra special kiss from your sweetie or a night on the town with your single girlfriends, you want to feel great in your own skin. A good place to start: loving yourself. More than 58 million pounds of chocolate will be sold during Valentine's Day week, according to Nielsen research, but that doesn't mean you should overindulge.
Think about it: Do you really want to be intimate after gorging yourself with endless amounts of chocolate? If you're out on the town, will you feel as confident in your little red dress, flirting with single men? You are the one person who matters most. You only get one body, so make sure you take care of it. Here are my favorite ways to give back to yourself (yes, chocolate is included).
Start the day on a sweet note. Imagine this: bananas, chocolate peanut butter, honey. You just can't go wrong with this combination. Sweeten up your breakfast with some chocolate, and then love a new breakfast year-round. Sprinkle a serving of NuttZo CHOC over bananas, then put in the microwave for about 30 seconds. Drizzle with honey for a complete breakfast with a boost of protein and omega-3s! This breakfast sets the chocolate bar high. It's like having your cake and eating it too. Not only will you be giving your body a healthy gift, but a portion of NuttZo's proceeds go to helping orphans around the world.
Try a new exercise class. Are you a yoga lover? Dancing diva? Cardio queen? You never regret getting a workout in. After your delicious breakfast, keep those endorphins up by trying a new exercise class. Schedule your sweat session in advance at GoRecess.com to instantly find a specialty class in your area. It's relatively inexpensive and a treat for every muscle in your body. Grab your honey, your girlfriend or go solo. You won't be able to wipe that smile off your face.
Dedicate yourself to clean eating. Valentine's Day and American Heart Month coincide, but they can also coexist. If you're slammed at work and don't have time to prepare lunch, skip the fast food and give your heart some love with a clean nutrition bar. I always recommend 22 Days Nutrition Bar, because the only ingredients are real food -- nuts, seeds, peanut butter and in some cases, chocolate. Remember, nothing replaces real food, but when you're stuck, a nutrition bar can be a healthy choice if you select wisely.
Treat yourself to a massage. I can't think of a better way to relax. Instead of sitting on the couch, eating chocolate, watching a tear-jerking romance, feel good and healthy with a massage. Between meetings, papers and presentations, "you" time may seem out of the question. Tension builds in your shoulders, and sitting at your desk for hours day in and day out gives you back pain. Studies show massage can help alleviate back pain, headaches, stress and reduce anxiety.
Warm up with hot chocolate. Chilly winter nights may be in full swing, but it gives us an excuse to warm up with a delicious drink. Two tablespoons of Green & Black's Organic Hot Chocolate Mix is just 40 calories and made with dark chocolate, which gives you a boost of antioxidants. Mix with one cup of almond milk for a theme-fitting, heart-healthy treat.
Host a healthy dinner party for two. Ditch the fancy (and potentially fattening) dinner reservations this year and get creative in the kitchen. Try a new recipe to impress your other half, and let your inner chef shine though. For all my taken ladies, I recommend trying a recipe from the cookbook EatingWell Serves Two, which has recipes filled with healthy ingredients and servings for two people. It just screams Valentine's Day. One of my personal favorites is the Grilled Rib-eye Steak with Tomato Salad and Chimichurri. Not only will your taste buds go wild, but it's only 343 calories per serving!
For more by Heather Bauer, RD, CDN, click here.
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