Go Healthier This Valentine’s Day

Choose the right options when it comes to decadent desserts

As with most holidays, Valentine’s Day is sure to be filled with delicious and caloric dishes and sweets. From chocolates to truffles and five-course dinners, those calories are practically impossible to escape — until now. If you have the right guide, you can be mindful of what to eat and what to avoid.

With simple substitutions from Dr. Howard Shapiro, a New York City-based weight loss specialist and New York Times best-selling author of the Picture Perfect Weight Loss series, you and your special someone can share the romance without worrying about your diet.

If you want to give something sweet, be mindful of your choices. Although criminally delicious and a great gift to give a loved one, just eight chocolate truffles can have 560 calories — sad, but true. For the same delectable taste, you could get your sweetie eight chocolate-covered strawberries for only 240 calories.

After enjoying a nice meal at your favorite restaurant together, there is always the great debate about what to indulge in for dessert. Often times, the choice is between a slice of a fruity tart or a piece of chocolate layer cake. Most weight-conscious people would avoid the chocolate and choose the fruit-forward dessert, but one 4-ounce slice of chocolate layer cake and one 4-ounce slice of lemon tart both contain just 480 calories. So this Valentine's Day, indulge in that delicious chocolate cake without feeling guilty.

Or, if you want to skip the restaurant dessert and save the treats for back at home, satisfy your sweet tooth by enjoying healthier chocolate treats such as Tootsie Pops or chocolate Hershey's Kisses. After taking your valentine out to dinner, make a delicious frozen yogurt dessert or heat things up next to the fire with a mug of hot cocoa in the comfort of your own home.

By substituting these chocolate sweets for candies you thought were diet-friendly, such as sugar-free caramels or Raisinets, you could cut out more than 450 calories.

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Still the same romance, only half the calories — talk about a success!