02/01/2018 Nutrition & Recipes
Do your Valentine’s Day plans include indulging in decadent desserts? Keep the decadence, but make the treat healthier by choosing one of these five delectable treats.
Whether or not you are in a romantic relationship, Valentine’s Day is a celebration of ALL things love. This could be sharing a day of love with a romantic partner or it could mean sharing love with friends and family. Most importantly, this Valentine’s day it’s time to practice and celebrate self-love.
There are two essential elements of a self-love practice:
- Recognizing the quality of your self-talk
- Taking notice of your self-care practices
You tend to be hard on yourself around holidays because you feel guilty about your food choices. The guilt cycle usually starts after you eat something that you think is bad for you and/or if you eat too much. How does your self-talk sound after you eat dessert? If the answer is not so nice, then this is a perfect opportunity to practice being kind to yourself. Being hard on yourself does not help you make a healthier choice next time. It leads to similar behavior because when you are hard on yourself you tend to feel sad or frustrated, which can lead to more of the same food choices.
Valentine’s Day is a good time to focus on the self-care element of your self-love practice. Nourishing your body with high-quality nutrients is an important element of self-care. When you make food choices that contain nutritious ingredients, that is a symbol of your love for your body. You are sending your body a message that you respect it, care about it, and want it to FEEL good.
The good news is that you don’t have to cut out sweets completely and it certainly doesn’t mean that you have to miss out on all the holiday fun. A great place to start is by finding healthy upgrades so that you can both practice self-love and enjoy some delicious treats.
Since chocolate is the most popular dessert choice on Valentine’s Day, there are two ingredient swaps that are good to start with. While there are plenty of health benefits from the flavonoids that are found in the cacao bean, most of the chocolate that is consumed doesn’t have the same health benefits because it has a low percentage of cacao and a high amount of sugar.
- Sugar: Cane sugar is well known for its addictive properties. Ever notice that the more sugar you eat, the more you crave it? Sugar also contributes to inflammation in the body, which can contribute to diseases such as heart disease and diabetes. Instead of eating chocolate that contains sugar, look for chocolates that are sweetened with coconut palm sugar, stevia, or maple syrup.
- Cacao: The cacao bean was used as a heart-opening nutrient in ancient Mayan and Aztec cultures. Studies show that the flavonoids in raw cacao are shown to have anti-oxidant effects on the body, specifically for cardiovascular health.
Here are five deliciously sweet and healthy treats to indulge in on Valentine’s Day.
1. Hu Kitchen
This chocolate bar is dairy free and refined-sugar free.
2. Hail Merry
This healthy dessert line offers three yummy types of desserts—chocolate almond butter cups, dark chocolate coconut bites, and mini chocolate tarts. All of their products are dairy free and use alternative sweeteners like maple syrup.
3. Chocolate-Covered Strawberries
Use Live A Lot chocolate sauce or make your own chocolate sauce by melting 1/4 cup of Enjoy Life dark chocolate chips. Simply dip the strawberries in the chocolate sauce and place in the fridge until the chocolate hardens. You can sprinkle some shredded coconut on the chocolate sauce before you place them in the fridge for a fun variation.
4. Chocolate-Lover Pudding
With seven simple ingredients you can whip up this lovely dessert last minute to enjoy on Valentine’s Day!
- 1/2 avocado
- 1/2 cup fresh coconut milk
- 3 tablespoons raw cacao powder
- 1 medjool date, pitted
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon stevia
Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. If not using a high-speed blender, you may need to stop and move things around with a spatula to help blend.
Optional: Place in refrigerator for 20 minutes to serve chilled. You can add sliced strawberries and chopped hazelnuts to add texture and sweetness.
5. Homemade Raspberry-Raw Chocolate Truffles
These Paleo- and vegan-friendly raw chocolate truffles make a delicious and heartfelt Valentine's Day gift for all your loved ones.
- 1 cup organic blanched almond meal
- 1/2 cup raw almond butter
- 1/4 cup raw cacao powder
- 1/4 cup raw honey
- 1/4 cup unsweetened macaroon coconut
- 1/4 cup freeze-dried raspberries
In a medium bowl, mix together almond meal, nut butter, raw cacao, and raw honey until well combined.
Cover and refrigerate for about 30 minutes—until the mixture firms slightly. This will make your truffles easier to roll.
Meanwhile, crush freeze-dried raspberries into a fine powder using a mortar and pestle or coffee grinder. Place in a bowl or on a flat plate.
Remove dough from refrigerator. Using clean hands, roll into quarter-sized balls. Once you've formed your truffles, roll them in the dried raspberries—coat evenly.
Place in a box or container and freeze until ready to serve. These will keep in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.
Serves: about 24 truffles | Prep time: 30 minutes | Recipe from Vivacious Dish
As with many holidays, there are likely to be additional temptations at the office and in social settings. Make sure to have some of these healthy alternatives available with you so that you are prepared and can share the healthy treats. Or, you can send this article to that special someone to give them some tips on what to buy or make for you this Valentine’s Day!
*Editor’s Note: The information in this article is intended for your educational use only; does not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Chopra Center's Mind-Body Medical Group; and is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health providers with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition and before undertaking any diet, supplement, fitness, or other health program.
Show yourself some love with the gift of Perfect Health, our six-day Ayurvedic healing retreat including daily spa treatments, our signature cleanse, personalized guidance from our mind-body medical staff, and more. Learn More.