Valentine’s Day is often associated with flowers, candies, chocolates and indulging in delicious foods. However, this does not mean that it is out of the question to enjoy healthy meals if celebrating this hallmark holiday is on your to-do list this year.
Whether you’re choosing to spend this February 14th with your sweetheart, your family, a good friend or appreciating your own company, here are three delicious and healthy Valentine’s Day entrée ideas that will tickle your tastebuds without doing a number on your waistline.
Irresistible Italian Dishes
If Italian-American food is your top choice, the good news is that there are several recipes that qualify as healthy Valentine’s Day entrées. In fact, some research even suggests that eating pasta a few times a week won’t necessarily contribute to weight gain. Essentially, it’s all about moderation and choosing options that are light on sauces, cheeses, butter and oil.
For instance, it’s not uncommon for lasagna that you order in a restaurant to pack about 800 – 1,000 calories! Even Chicken Marsala and Chicken Piccata, which may seem like healthier options, often contain 800+ calories due to the butter and oil.
Instead of these heavier options, consider Italian dishes that focus more on fish and vegetables. If you’re headed to a restaurant, entrée’s like steamed clams and mussels and Cioppino are likely to have half the calories of menu items like spaghetti, lasagna and Chicken Marsala.
On the other hand, if you’re making dinner at home, you have a lot more freedom to make a healthy fine-dining-level Italian dinner. Take Pesto Shrimp Pasta, for example. One cup of this dish is just under 400 calories and includes spaghetti noodles, olive oil, asparagus, lemon juice, fresh basil, fresh garlic, shrimp, red pepper flakes and a dash of salt.
Scrumptious Steak Dinners
Are you the type of person who associates steak with special occasions, like Valentine’s Day? If so, there are ways that you can enjoy an awesome steak meal without adding 1,000+ calories to your day.
As is the case with Italian entrées, the best way to make a steak dinner healthier with fewer calories is to avoid adding all the extra oils and butters, such as compound butter. You can also make it healthier by opting for lighter side options than a loaded baked potato or mashed potatoes smothered in gravy. For instance, if eating at a restaurant, choosing a side of grilled asparagus with your Ribeye or Tenderloin instead of mashed potatoes can save you nearly 400 calories.
On the flip side, if you choose to enjoy a home cooked steak meal, explore the many options that are available to you. For instance, Flank Steak with Arugula and Tomato Salad is easy to prepare, tastes great and one serving is under 300 calories.
Nothing says romantic or fun like a fondue. There are many different types of fondue that can be placed in the healthy Valentine’s Day entrée category. Fondues are simple to make and you can choose what types of foods you’d like to dip into your yummy creation.
The easiest way to avoid adding additional calories to a fondue is to choose a bouillon preparation for proteins and veggies instead of bourguignonne, which requires hot oil to cook ingredients. Cooking in oil can add an extra 100 – 200 calories to your meal.
The same goes for cheese fondue, which is about 70-100 calories (on average) for only 2 tbsp, or about 35-50 calories per dipped piece of food. As you might imagine, these calories can quickly add up. That said, you can make lower calorie cheese fondue with the help of low-fat cheeses, low-fat milk and cauliflower.
Finally, to further lower the calories as well as up the health of your fondue, swap out bread and cheese sides and choose seafood, chicken, lean beef, veggies and/or fruit for dipping.
Never mind about a Healthy Valentine’s Day Entrée – Tell Me About Dessert!
If dessert is a part of your plans, as it is for most people on this sweet day, beyond providing you with healthy Valentine’s Day entrée ideas, we also have some healthy Valentine’s Day dessert ideas that you can check out, too!