Okay to indulge in 'special' treats this Valetine's Day
THE three Rs come to mind when we think of Valentine's Day: roses, romance - and ridiculously delicious treats.
From candy hearts to chocolate, the February 14 celebration has become an occasion for giving and receiving sweets.
For those trying to keep to a nutritious, healthy diet, a strategy exists for managing this influx of sugary goodness.
Sunshine Coast Dietetics director Sally-Anne Livock says the key is to remember the word "special".
"The premise behind Valentine's Day is wonderful - showing your love in special ways," she said.
"And chocolate and candy are just that - 'special', occasional treats.
"Treats are best enjoyed in moderation, as part of a sound nutrition strategy.
"Overindulgence can contribute to long-term health concerns, from heart ailments to diabetes and more."
The National Heart Foundation of Australia recommends limiting "extra" or "sometimes" foods high in sugar, which include confectionery, sweet biscuits, cakes and more.
"This Valentine's Day, our message to all sweethearts is: be sweet to your heart and to your entire body. Monitor your intake of treats, strive for balance in your diet, and if you overindulge, forgive yourself - then get right back on track," Sally-Anne said.
"At Sunshine Coast Dietetics, we have an 80/20 policy when it comes to making eating decisions. We encourage healthy food choices 80% of the time. The other 20% is reserved for special occasions in life."
HOW SWEET IT IS!
Don't deprive yourself. Instead, try the one-a-day rule. Ration out one treat a day and enjoy it slowly.
Giving a gift? There are alternatives to sweets that make ideal expressions of love on Valentine's Day.
The freezer is your friend. Pop those yummy goodies into the freezer - way in the back. Out of mind, out of sight.
Dine out right. When dining out for special occasions, such as Valentine's Day, try and keep sound diet principles in mind. protein and whole grains. Then try a walk afterwards to help burn off some of those calories.
Feel the love. When you enjoy your sweet treats, remember they come from someone who loves you. Then return that love - by supporting your sweetheart in pursuing healthy habits.