V alentine’s Day — a day of love, romance and indulgence celebrated by millions of people around the world. This day is usually spent with a special person filled  with gifts, cards, cuddling and of course romantic dinners.

Image by: Piyachok Thawornmat

Restaurants are always pumping on Valentine’s Day. The romantic ambiance filled with couples enjoying a lovely meal while exchanging gifts can be fun. However many people prefer dining at home instead of  sitting in a crowded, sometimes unpleasant restaurant spending most of the night waiting for food.

Preparing a romantic meal for your loved one is so much more intimate than going to an expensive restaurant which may not even have many healthy dishes on the menu. And of course, you will not be tempted to over indulge.

 

Here are a few tips to help you survive the Valentine’s Day binge eating:

When preparing your meal, use low fat ingredients. It’s difficult to taste the difference between regular and fat free products. You’ll be able to cut back on calories and fat intake.

If you are preparing a big meal for dinner then do not starve yourself the entire day. If you do, you’ll be starving by the time dinner is served and will probably be tempted to polish everything in sight. Try to have small healthy snack and fruit during the course of the day. You will be less likely to over indulge.

Lots of people do not realise that alcohol is fattening too. Alcohol contains lots of calories. Try to stick to lower calorie wine if possible and moderate your alcohol intake.

Don’t feel obligated to eat everything on your late. If you cannot finish the entire serving the leave it.

Here are a few recipes for great healthy delicious meals which you can prepare for your Valentine:

Spaghetti with Shrimp and Tomato Sauce

Ingredients:
• 8 ounces of whole wheat spaghetti or linguine

• 2 tsp olive oil

• 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

• 1/2 cup onion, finely chopped

• 1 14 1/2-ounce can chopped tomatoes in thick puree

• 1 8-ounce can tomato sauce, no salt added

• Pinch red pepper flakes (optional)

• 1 pound medium shrimp, deveined

• 2 tbsp fresh chopped basil

Preparation:
Cook spaghetti according to instructions on package. Meanwhile, heat oil in a large nonstick skillet. Add garlic and onion, and gently fry until softened. Stir in tomatoes and sauce (plus pepper flakes if desired). Simmer for 10-15 minutes until sauce reduces and thickens slightly. Stir in shrimp and heat through for 4-5 minutes. Add sauce to drained pasta and toss well. Top with fresh chopped basil.

Per Serving: Calories 377, Calories from Fat 29, Total Fat 3.2g (sat 0.5g), Cholesterol 170mg, Sodium 313mg, Carbohydrate 54.7g, Fiber 4.3g, Protein 32.4g

Meringue Nests with Strawberries

Ingredients:
• 4 large egg whites, with absolutely no yolk

• 1/4 tsp cream of tartar

• 3/4 cup ultra-fine baker’s sugar (regular is fine)

• 2 cups fat-free whipped topping

• 1 cup sliced strawberries

Preparation:
Preheat oven to 250 degrees.

In a large, clean and cool bowl, beat egg whites with an electric mixer at meidum speed until foamy. Add cream of tartar. Continue to mix until the soft-peak stage. Add sugar 1 tablespoon at a time and continue mixing, at high speed, until stiff peaks form. Drop spoonfuls of meringue on to a parchment-lined baking sheet, making six piles. Using the back of a spoon, shape the meringues into nests. Bake for 1 hour. Turn off oven and cool meringues in the oven for 2-3 hours, until dry. Cool completely.

Carefully remove meringues from parchment and spoon whipped topping into each of the 6 nests. Divide sliced strawberries among meringue nests. For an extra treat, drizzle a little fat-free chocolate syrup over the top. Serve immediately. Don’t refrigerate the meringue, as it will become somewhat chewy. Any unused meringue nests can be stored in an airtight container for a day or two.

Per Serving: Calories 151, Calories from Fat 1, Total Fat 1g (sat 0.1g), Cholesterol 0mg, Sodium 37mg, Carbohydrate 37mg, Fiber 0.6mg, Protein 2.5g

Cook your loved one a special healthy Valentine’s Day dinner and he/she will appreciate it more. Make this Valentine’s Day the most memorable one for both of you.

 

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