Just when you thought the rush of holiday goodies was over, a wave of Valentine’s chocolates crept in your office and home. Before admonishing your loved ones for helping you break your New Year’s resolutions, embrace the extra treats as an opportunity to practice moderation with your sweets. Here are some tips to help keep you from overindulging on heart shaped sweets:
Eat Before you Treat: Having a full stomach and incorporating something sweet in your meal, like fruit, will make you less likely to crave a large quantity of sweets. Having a full stomach tells your brain that you have had enough to eat so that you are likely to choose less and smaller treats after a meal or snack.
Just Dip it!: Consider melting down some of your Valentine’s goodies into a creamy sauce to use for dipping fresh fruits. Strawberries, bananas and apples are particularly delectable for this fondue treat. Incorporating fruit with your desert helps you to feel fuller faster, as well as gives you your daily does of nutrients that we all need. This recipe for fondue may be a great dessert for your family. http://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/chocolate_fondue/
Out of Site out of Mind: Avoid keeping candies on your desk or in clear bowls on your kitchen counter. When we see these beautiful treats, it is a constant reminder that we can always have more. Keeping candy out of site is also a good way to keep your kids from constantly being reminded that Valentine’s Day means more sugar.
Pick a number: Deciding how many piece of candy you want before you reach for the jar may help you limit the amount you actually put in your mouth. Picking a number makes it easier to say “No, I’ve had enough today” despite what your taste buds might be telling you. Don’t let this holiday ruin your commitment to eat healthfully for the rest of the year. Allowing yourself to eat candy in moderation keeps it from being a ‘forbidden food, which usually makes you want it more.
Fun Fact!!! Before you throw out the whole box you should know that there are benefits to a moderate amount of chocolate. Dark chocolate is rich in bioflavonoids and antioxidants, which help prevent cancer, cardiovascular disease and help to maintain blood pressure.
Written by Vallary Townsell, MS Candidate in Nutritional Science and Community Nutrition Co-Chair for the CDA Orange District Dietetic Association