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How to Handle Valentine’s Sweets and Treats!

Valentine cookiesphoto © 2005 Aine | more info (via: Wylio) I went to the bank the other day and at the end of the transaction the teller handed me two half dollar sized peanut butter & chocolate hearts. How do I know they were peanut butter and chocolate hearts? Because they were already gone before I got into my car. Oops. I didn’t even hesitate. It is this mindless eating that comes when free candy and sweets are offered that can be a detriment to our nutritional goals. But how do you handle this when you need to make treats for your children’s homeroom or the nice secretary at work brings in batches of chocolate? Read on.

The tricky part is that labeling the foods you love as evil actually increases their power over you. When what you really crave is considered “bad,” you feel guilty for even wanting it and deprived because you can’t have it.

The result? You find yourself foraging treats from the Valentine’s candy bowl and burying the candy wrappers at the bottom of the garbage can so you won’t see them.

Minimize your exposure. Wait until the last minute to buy Valentine’s candy or to bake treats; and then buy only what you really think you’ll need for that day. They do make small heart shaped boxes of chocolate. No need for the 40 piece one! And, get treats your kids love, rather than what you like.

Remember, it’s not your food. All too often we eat whatever shows up–valentine’s day candy, donuts in the break room, or samples in the grocery store. But you didn’t choose to put it there so stop mindlessly putting it in your mouth!

Get your own. You’ll be less tempted to get into the kid’s valentine’s candy if stop depriving yourself the rest of the year. Scary, I know. But pick your treats and keep them as a treat.

Eat what you love. Skip the sugary kid candy (unless that’s what you love) and instead choose a few that you really love. Set them aside to eat when you really want them. I like to keep mine in a plastic bag in the freezer.

Save room for dessert. If you’re going to eat Valentine’s candy (you know you are!), then adjust for it. After all, does it really make sense to eat all your dinner to earn dessert?

If you love it that much, act like it! Enjoy those M&Ms® one at a time, mindfully without distractions. Savor your treats. Dark chocolate is a great option and with some strawberries, can be a lovely dessert.

Eat fearlessly without guilt. We all know that guilt leads to more eating, not less, so let it go.

Don’t torture yourself with exercise. Being physically active feels good and provides numerous benefits for your health. Just be careful not to turn it into punishment for eating or penance for eating something “bad.”

Pass it on. When there are more treats around over a holiday like Valentine’s Day, consider it a great time to teach your kids how to enjoy a little candy as part of a healthy and active lifestyle.

Sources: Michelle May, M.D.; caloriecount.about.com

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