This Valentine’s Day, It Starts With Loving Ourselves

Posted on February 11, 2013 by

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On Valentine’s Day, we often think of all the people we love and try to make the day special for them. But this year, add another important person to the list: you! Little steps like getting enough vitamin D, can make loving on your body a huge success.

Taking care of you
Happy Valentine’s Day… to you! We’re in the season of love, and it’s important to remember that while we’re loving and taking care of others, we need to factor ourselves in, too. Ready to get loving on you a little? Here’s how.
Pump yourself up

When was the last time you worked up a good sweat? Not only are workouts good for your body, but they also can be energizing too. Wake your body up with an intense session and you’ll see long-lasting benefits.

“Every Monday, I take the kids to a sitter and meet with a trainer first thing in the morning. It’s only an hour workout session, but it allows me the chance to take care of myself and I also feel great. It also affords me the opportunity to take a nice, long, hot shower without being interrupted,” says Janae Melvin, a mom of two.

Even if a trainer isn’t in your budget, you can get your sweat on with exercise DVDs, online workout videos or just taking a walk or a jog outside.

Eat well

valentines image002You know that saying that you are what you eat? OK, you might not turn into a jumbo cookie after indulging a little too much from the office treat tray, but if you aren’t eating well, your body will show the effects. So make an effort to start your day right with a balanced breakfast that energizes you for the day.

“I make sure I have a healthy breakfast and allot time each morning to juice kale/apple/carrot/lemon/parsley/cilantro and after my walk, I have chia seeds with warmed coconut milk along with organic hot cocoa – the best comforting, warming, healthy food,” says certified nutritionist Nancy Guberti, MS.

Essential nutrients

Part of loving yourself is feeding yourself well. These nutrients will help you have optimal health and feel good too.
Vitamin C: We all know that germs are the evil enemy in wintertime, but vitamin C can help you fend off colds (though the Mayo Clinic has said that the benefit is small). But it’s also good for your mood according to research. Now please pass the OJ.
Vitamin D: Keep your brain sharp! According to research by a team at Angers University Hospital in France, a diet with a higher vitamin D intake has been linked to a lower risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.

Calcium: Protect those bones! Calcium-rich foods are essential to bone health. And yes, calcium from foods is better than supplements, according to a preliminary study by researchers at Washington University School of Medicine. According to the study, women who get their calcium from dietary sources have better bone density and overall bone health.

Get some shut-eye

Sleep is an important factor in health, too, so make sure you are getting enough rest every evening. You’ll wake up rejuvenated and ready to tackle every day. As a bonus, getting more sleep can also help with weight loss — score!

Express Your Love With Heart-Healthy Foods

Think you need a rich, heavy meal on Valentine’s Day to express your love? Not so! You can still create a heavenly meal that’s heart-healthy, too!

Valentine’s Day is right around the corner, but some indulgent meals and sweet treats can turn into a setback for those looking to stick to a healthy diet. Luckily, several meal options exist that can be very tasty — and healthy, too!
“This holiday marks the end of the big food orgy that I say runs from Halloween to Valentine’s Day.”

“There are lots of ways to interpret cooking for the heart or from the heart on Valentine’s Day,” says Dr. Felicia D. Stoler, author of Living Skinny in Fat Genes. “For me, from the heart means good for the heart.

“We often take for granted that we can make a big impact on our health when it comes to the ingredients we use in the meals we make,” Stoler says. That’s why she likes foods that are low in saturated fat, high in fiber and include functional ingredients such as plant sterols and omega-3 fatty acids.
Based on that notion, Stoler offers the following meal ideas:

Sample appetizer ideas
• Broth-based soups loaded with vegetables. These are a great way to start a meal.
• Mixed green salad. Add chopped nuts, crumbled cheese (like fat-free or low-fat feta), dried fruit (raisins, cranberries, blueberries, cherries, etc.), fresh fruit (apples, bananas, blueberries), and a small amount of salad dressing to moisten.
• Smoked salmon rollups. Take strips of smoked salmon and roll into a circle, creating a cup. Add a dollop of zero-fat Greek yogurt in the middle and sprinkle with some fresh or dried dill.

Sample dinner ideas

• Broil, grill or bake. Filet mignon (a lean cut of beef) is a good idea, but stick to no more than 4 ounces per person. Other choices: Rack of lamb, pork tenderloin, skinless chicken breast, turkey breast tenderloin or any seafood.
• Serve the meal with plenty of colorful vegetables. Options include spaghetti, butternut or acorn squash; wheat berries or quinoa; sauteed spinach (not too much oil); or steamed broccoli, cauliflower, string beans or carrots.

Sample dessert ideas

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• Consider a chocolate fondue. Dip fresh fruit into melted chocolate. You can also cut some squares of angel food cake or dip graham crackers and marshmallows.
• Make chocolate pudding using Smart Balance Heart Right milk. Then spoon it into a parfait or champagne glass, layer with berries and sprinkle with dark-chocolate shavings.
• Consider a fruit and yogurt parfait. Use vanilla Greek yogurt (again, no fat), layer it with All-Bran Buds for crunch and mix in fruit or berries.
• Vitalicious VitaBrownies. Stoler likes the dark chocolate pomegranate variety.

An important must-do is to minimize the use of saturated fats, Stoler says. Use less butter, substituting heart-healthy oils (such as olive, canola and palm fruit) as much as possible when you cook. Using egg whites and even fruit purees or sauces are small healthy changes that can significantly add up. Cutting back on sodium is also important, she notes.

“If you start with good ingredients, you shouldn’t have to slather or drown food in sauces and gravies,” Stoler adds.
As for what to avoid, Stoler says to start by not eating a whole box of chocolates.

“[Valentine’s Day] is but one of many holidays in the year,” she says. “Be good to your heart and body by not overindulging. Remember, this holiday marks the end of the big food orgy that I say runs from Halloween to Valentine’s Day. Super Bowl Sunday was just the week before!”

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