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Words of Wellness

True Romance: 5 Ways to have a healthy romantic dinner, whether you're cooking in or eating out.

True Romance: 5 Ways to have a healthy romantic dinner, whether you're cooking in or eating out.

It’s February, the month of LOVE, and yes romance is in the air! Valentine’s Day is a special day for lovebirds, but one day is far too short a time for all the romance of February. Why not show your significant other your love and concern for their health by preparing (or ordering) romantic and superbly nutritious dinners for two? Here is a list of the 5 Ways to have a healthy and romantic dinner:

  1. Prepare (or order) heart-healthy Mediterranean-style food: Take a vacation from ho-hum meals. Imagine you are sitting at a table for two alongside the ocean on a Greek Island. Dinner is an all-night affair with the freshest food straight from the garden and the sea. Eat like you’re in Crete and you will be eating heaps of vegetables, legumes, fresh fish, whole grains—seasoned simply with extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice, herbs and garlic and washed down with a glass of red wine. The flavors are rich and the health benefits are hard to ignore. Now this is the true gift of love.
  2. Atmosphere counts: Candles, fresh flowers, beautiful dinnerware and crystal glasses can make a huge difference in whether your romantic dinner is romantic or the same old, same old. Make an effort to spruce up your dinner atmosphere and you will definitely be adding to the charm and romance of the evening. Don’t forget to plan ahead and ditch the kids for the evening, dim the lights and add some music.

  1. Toast to love: Add a glass of red wine to your Mediterranean meal and toast to your love for one another. Red wine is chock full of antioxidants (most notably resveratrol and flavonoids) known to help ward off heart disease (our nation’s leading cause of death in men and women). What could be more romantic than that? CHEERS…a toast to your health and to love!

  1. Savor your meal: Americans tend to wolf down their food without really tasting and appreciating the beauty of what’s on their plate. Take a romantic tip from the Europeans and make an evening of your meal—savor each delicious bite of artfully prepared, healthy course and enjoy the company and the artful preparation as much as the food.

  1. All you need is LOVE (and Dark Chocolate!): Ahhh chocolate—the food of love. Did you know that Casanova, the world’s most famous lover, savored chocolate before every romantic interlude? Chocolate is an aphrodisiac and if you choose the dark kind, a superfood. Dark chocolate is good for the heart. Dark chocolate (with a high percentage of cocoa solids) prevents plaque buildup in the arteries, improves blood flow and prevents blood clots (the root cause of a heart attack). It has also been shown to improve insulin sensitivity—good news for diabetics. Just remember to savor your dark chocolate by the piece (and not the pound) as with the heart healthy ingredients comes lots of sugar, fat and calories. And don’t forget the other “love foods” like oysters, strawberries, figs, bananas, honey and almonds!

Let it go and remember that the evening is about enjoying each other’s company--which is really all that counts. Take time for yourself and your loved one alone, eating healthy delicious food and you will truly be celebrating this month of love. Add in exercise for you and your loved one with the support of Fitness Together and you’ll surely be giving your significant other the gift of health this Heart Health Month. Let a Fitness Together trainer work with you to develop a heart-healthy exercise program to accompany your heart-healthy diet, a program designed to meet your specific goals. You’ll also receive nutritional counseling through the Nutrition Together program, which will complement your workouts. To find the Fitness Together studio nearest you, please visit

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