A Less Guilty Valentine’s Day

4dancers would like to welcome our latest contributor–the Team from Barre. A Real Food Barre. Each month you can look forward to a post from one of the team members about food–a topic that we wanted to cover more on the site.

Today’s post is a Valentine’s Day special–just for you…

February 14th is a day for love, candy, chocolate, and fancy dinners. With audition season in full swing, it could be hard to find a balance on this special day between indulging with your sweetheart and wanting to stay in tip-top shape for that cattle call on the weekend. However, there is a way to have a sweet treat AND feel confident in your leo and tights the next day! Though these sweets aren’t totally guilt-free, you can treat yourself (in moderation, of course!) knowing that they are providing substantially more health benefits that those conversation hearts and lollipops. They’ll also make your Valentine’s fare a bit more interesting than the same old candy you’ve had every year.dark chocolateDark Chocolate: Valentine’s Day is practically synonymous with chocolate. It’s one of the first treats people turn to when deciding what to give loved ones on the 14th. This year, ask your special someone to forgo the caramel filled truffles and instead buy you a bar of high quality, extra dark chocolate. Believe it or not, dark chocolate has quite a few health benefits!

Heart Healthy: Recent studies in Germany and Switzerland have found that one serving of dark chocolate per day can help lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of heart failure by a third!

Weight Healthy: Dark chocolate is more filling than milk chocolate, ultimately helping you to eat less of it and still feel satisfied. It can also help reduce your cravings for sweet, salty and fatty food. Just make sure you stick to small portions!

Brain Healthy: Dark chocolate is rich in flavanols, antioxidants that improve blood flow to the brain, thus improving short-term brain performance and alertness. It may even help you remember an extra tricky pirouette combo!

Good Earth Sweet and Spicy Tea: If you’re craving a sweet drink to relax with after your date, forgo the hot chocolate or soda and try this flavorful tea! Great on its own or with a little bit of milk, this sweet tea will warm you right up with its aromatic spices and satisfy your sweet tooth with its unique flavor. I like to call it “Dessert in a cup!” Better yet, it has zero calories and comes in a caffeine-free version.

macaroons

Hail Merry Coconut Macaroons: If you’re a fan of coconut, you haven’t lived until you’ve tried these vegan, gluten free, and utterly delicious cookies. Rated the best new vegan product by VegNews Magazine, these responsibly sourced macaroons are rich, flavorful, satisfying, and even a little healthy! They contain coconut oil, which has been found to aid in weight loss because of the triglycerides present. The fiber in these macaroons will also make you feel full sooner, helping to prevent overeating.

Coconut Bliss: Another dessert for coconut lovers, Coconut Bliss is a delicious vegan, gluten free, soy free, and kosher dessert that, in my opinion, is a million times better than ice cream. This rich and creamy dessert comes in a wide variety of flavors and is made from coconut milk instead of dairy milk. It is also sweetened with agave, a natural sweetener with a low glycemic index. Coconut Bliss has less saturated fat and sugar than your typical ice cream and is made from whole food ingredients at a sustainably operated farm in Oregon.

Chocolate Covered Strawberries: Keep this classic sweet treat on the menu this Valentine’s Day! These bite-sized treats provide you with some of your daily fruit needs, and are relatively low calorie. If you dip them in dark chocolate, as opposed to milk, they’ll also provide you with all the health benefits that chocolate has to offer!

Sorbet and Frozen Yogurt: These two frozen desserts, like Coconut Bliss, are healthier alternatives to ice cream, providing you choose the right kind. Sorbet is low fat, vegan, and has fewer calories than ice cream. If you choose this fruit-based dessert, try to buy one that doesn’t have added sugar, corn syrup, or artificial flavors and colors. If you decide to treat yourself to some froyo, pick one that is nonfat and has live active cultures so you receive the full benefits of this creamy dessert.

Happy Valentine’s Day from the Barre team!

~Caroline~

BIO: The Team at Barre contributes posts about food, snacks and healthy eating for 4dancers. The mission of Barre is to provide exceptional nutritional fortification for dancers and everyone else who demands clean, wholesome, nutritious and great tasting sustained energy. To accomplish this goal, Barre produces and distributes health-minded snacks and performance products specially formulated to live up to the rigors of such a demanding artist-athlete lifestyle. Learn more about their products here.

 

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Catherine L. Tully is the owner/editor at 4dancers.org. To learn more about Catherine and the other contributors at 4dancers, see the "Contributor" tab at the top of the page. To reach Catherine, send an e-mail to info (at) 4dancers (dot) org

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