Food

Healthy Valentine’s Day Dining

How to enjoy a romantic dinner without blowing your diet.

The greatest part about Valentine's Day is spending time with your honey. And what better way to do that than with a nice dinner out?

With a little planning and these six easy strategies, you can take control and treat yourself to a special night.

Relax
Don't approach the dinner with trepidation. You're not denying yourself anything, you're making healthy choices. And you're sharing a meal with those you love, whether that is your honey, your family, or a group of friends. How could it get any better than that?

Ask for what you want
Scan the menu to create your own dinner. If you want the fish, but don't want the cream sauce, ask for it to be served with the salsa that comes with the chicken, or the fresh herbs from the pasta. If you want veal but don't want it drenched in butter, ask for it with lemon juice and herbs.

Fancier restaurants prepare dishes to order, so it's no problem. Less fancy dining establishments are often willing to make changes too. There's no harm in asking!

The same goes for the sides
That shrimp dish you want might come with potato gratin, but the roast chicken comes with grilled asparagus. Just ask for the shrimp with asparagus.

Tell the chef not to "finish" the sauce
Chefs sometimes swirl butter into a sauce before it's served. Ask if the sauce can be plain, fresh and bright, not "finished."

Ask for recommendations
If the chef cannot accommodate you, ask your waiter to suggest an alternative, lighter preparation. But ask for what you want the way you want it.

Order simpler food prepared light
In terms of calories, grilled is usually better than fried; baked is better than braised.

Ask for your meal to be divided
Meals these days are often served in enormous portions. Ask the waiter to divide yours before it's served and put one half in a take-home bag that's reserved for you in the kitchen. That way you'll have dinner the next day too.

Cut things out during the meal

  • Forgo the cocktail, which can be loaded with sugar, and have a glass of red wine instead.
     
  • Ask for lemon juice or vinegar on the salad.
     
  • Ask for cocktail sauce or chutney on your baked potato, rather than butter and sour cream.

Share
You can split an appetizer, a salad or a dessert. It's very romantic to share a dish with someone you love!