02/14/2014 08:16 EST | Updated 04/16/2014 05:59 EDT

Don't Let Cupid Shoot an Arrow Through Your Healthy Lifestyle

So you're going along quite well, thank you very much. Sticking to your new year, new attitude! You are getting as much sleep as you can, hitting the gym at least a few times a week, and making good choices when it comes to food. And then along comes Cupid to shoot an arrow right in the heart of your healthy living plan.

But let's face it, there's always something, right? We Canadians find reasons to celebrate, a LOT. Can you blame us? It's really cold. We need something to get our minds off the thermometer. Problem is, our celebrations, regardless of which ones we observe, always seem to have one element in common: food!

But with a little creativity, you can come up with lots of fun ways to celebrate that won't sabotage your quest for healthy living.

Get outside: The cold weather's not going anywhere anytime soon so we might as well embrace it. Sharpen your skates and head outside for a skate with a friend or significant other. Or, hit the slopes -- what could be more romantic? You and your partner against the elements!

Take the kids tobogganing: Nothing can make you re-connect with your inner child like barreling down a hill at top speed, unsure whether you are going to reach the bottom with wacky slide intact.

Go for a walk: In the outdoors, a different perspective can stimulate conversation away from the usual logistical discussions of who's dropping off whom, and who's picking up milk. A brisk walk is also a great way to elevate your heart rate, while relieving stress. Throw on the layers and head out, you'll be glad you did.

If Valentine's wouldn't be Valentine's without your chocolate fix, here is my advice:

• Choose plain, good quality dark chocolate with at least 70 per cent cocoa. This way you get the antioxidant benefit, and the strong flavour means that a little goes a long way.

• Pair chocolate with mixed berries. The natural sweetness in the berries will balance the bitterness of the dark chocolate.

• Dip strawberries, pineapples, or dried apricots in melted dark chocolate and let set. You get a sweet treat with a kick that is also packed with vitamins, antioxidants and fibre.

• Have some delicious Greek yogourt atop fruit, or mix pomegranate seeds into yogourt, and top with chocolate sprinkles: the taste of a decadent dessert, with the nutrition benefits of yogourt and fruit for good measure!

Happy Valentine's Day.


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