Love is in the air, and isn’t that worth celebrating? With the holiday season behind us and Valentine’s Day on our heels, it can feel like the winter months turn into a long-running celebration, and with that can come plenty of indulgences. The key to managing it all is finding the balance between self-care and self-indulgence. Taking care of yourself is a strong tool to show yourself some love, and while that includes eating balanced and healthful meals and moving your body as feels right to you, it also includes some room for splurges here and there. Whether you’re celebrating love with a romantic partner, family, friends, a fur baby, or even yourself, we’ve got some simple tips for keeping the balance this Valentine’s Day.

Bring on the extra spoons

A romantic dinner out doesn’t have to spell disaster for your healthy habits. Restaurant and takeout portions tend to be larger than what you would prepare at home, so sharing a particularly decadent entree can help lighten the load. For added balance, pair your portion with a side of veggies or a salad. And while an adult beverage may fit the bill with your meal, just be careful not to overindulge, as excess alcohol contributes to excess caloric intake (not to mention impacts on blood sugar and pressure). Dining alone? Share with yourself! Ask your server to split your entree in half before it is delivered to the table and bring the leftover portion home. Celebrate because you just scored yourself a lovely lunch or dinner for another day.

Play matchmaker for your sweet treats

If a box of chocolates in your home or at the office seems inevitable, pair those treats with some stabilizing sidekicks! Combining your chocolate with a small handful of nuts not only increases the nutritional value by providing protein, fat, and fiber, but these nutrients will help increase your satiety and satisfaction with fewer chocolate pieces. Looking to step out of the box a bit with your combinations? Dark chocolate pairs well with savory items such as cheeses and olive oil. Or skip the heart-shaped box entirely and take your chocolate creations to the next level with a twist on a decadent chocolate mousse! Give this avocado-chocolate mousse a whirl for a boost of healthy fats and fiber so tasty you won’t even know it’s healthy. Looking for some protein to help balance out your dessert? This Mexican chocolate tofu pudding is the perfect blend of sweet and creamy, with just enough spice for a fun kick!

Step outside the box

While chocolates and fancy dinners have made their mark as Valentine’s Day staples, there are plenty of fun (and even adventurous!) activities that don’t make date night all about food. Indulge your cultural senses with a movie or museum. Looking for something more interactive? Step behind the canvas with a local paint night. Many studios offer couples and group painting events that will walk you step-by-step through a piece. At the end of the night you’ll have your own masterpiece to show off your skills, and plenty of fun memories to go along with it. Or get physical with a dance class, walking tour, or even circus classes! A fun and relaxed environment is perfect for celebrating those close to you, and will leave you with plenty of good giggles in the end.

Looking to have a balanced and relaxed Valentine’s Day, but not sure where to start? The Brook Experts are here to help. Head on over the the Brook Expert Channel to chat ways to tackle restaurant plates and brainstorm creative dates.

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