How to Have a Healthy Valentine’s Day with Dairy

Southeast Dairy Association - greek yogurt bowl

Hot on the heels of New Year’s Resolutions comes the first big food centric holiday of the year: Valentine’s Day. So how can you continue to stay healthy while still enjoying the luxurious and likely chocolate-y Valentine’s Day you have planned? Do it with dairy!

  • Start the day with a filling breakfast: There may be desserts at the office and chocolates sent to your desk before you even get to the main food event that evening! Beginning your morning with a protein packed breakfast that includes dairy helps you stay full and resist temptations. Take a look at our delicious grab and go breakfast recipes.
  • Cook at home together instead of going out: Save time and money and stay healthy by eating in. Foods prepared in your home are more likely to have less calories, sodium and fat than the restaurant version. Plus, you can also slowly savor without being rushed by a waiter. Studies show that you need 20 minutes for your stomach to tell your brain it’s full.
  • Make a cream sauce with reduced fat dairy: For a luxurious Valentine’s Day dinner, you can’t go wrong with something as fancy as a soufflé or as simple as mac and cheese. Since both start with cream sauce, switching from full fat milk to reduced or low fat milk helps you stay healthy without sacrificing taste. On that same note, substitute sour cream for Greek yogurt for more protein and less fat!
  • Whip up a dessert with volume: Foods with more volume can help trick us into being satisfied with less. Even though a dessert like low-fat chocolate mousse sounds decadent, the whipped texture helps add air, not excess calories. Need a lactose-free option? These custard parfaits add volume with blueberries.
  • Pick hard aged cheese for flavor: Cheeses like aged parmesan give you a lot of bang for your buck when it comes to more flavor with less cheese.  Top asparagus with a sprinkle of asiago or broccoli or roasted potatoes with parmesan instead of butter.

Carlene Thomas RDN, LD is a registered dietitian in Virginia. She helps brides achieve wedding wellness through her company Healthfully Ever After. Carlene also works with a variety of com-panies and schools to find delicious and lasting ways to keep people healthy. She is also the as-sistant membership chair for the Virginia Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Visit Carlene’s website or follow her on Twitter!

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