Valentine’s Day is all about love, romance, hearts, flowers…and a lot of calories. Between chocolate, candy, a few cocktails and going out for a nice meal, by the end of the night you have not only been hit with cupid’s arrow, but probably a bloated belly as well.

To keep the romance alive, Dr. Larry Deutsch and Dr. Jeff Schweitzer, authors of the new book Calorie Wars: Fat, Fact and Fiction have come up with a few alternatives to some Valentine’s Day food favorites.  Equally delicious but a bit more healthy!

1. Instead of: A box of chocolates
Try: An edible fruit arrangement
Here’s why: Still a thoughtful gift for your loved one, most fruits are low in calories per gram because they have high water and fiber content. Chocolate is empty nutrition, a high energy density food, meaning the calories are more densely packed into the sweet than a
piece of fruit.

2. Instead of: Chocolate covered strawberries
Try: Strawberries with light whipped cream
Here’s why: When you’re eating whipped cream, most of what you are eating is air. One or two tablespoons of light whipped cream typically has less than 30 calories and little to no fat. A little dollop on strawberries is a delicious alternative to dipping them in
high-calorie, high-fat chocolate.

3. Instead of: Eating out at a restaurant
Try: Cooking dinner at home
Here’s why: At home you can control your portion sizes and what goes into your meals. At a restaurant, most people have more difficulty avoiding high-caloric food and giant sized portions.

4. Instead of: A cocktail
Try: Red wine
Here’s why: Although alcohol itself doesn’t contain fat, it is loaded with calories. And when you add in mixers, juice, sugar, and other ingredients, the calories can really add up. A glass of red wine, in moderation, is lower in calories and has been shown to increase levels
of “good” cholesterol and protect against artery damage.

5. Instead of: cookies or cupcakes for the little valentine in your life
Try: A lower energy version of their favorite treat or simply reduce portion size by ten percent
Here’s why: Putting your little one on the road to healthy eating can never start too early. Indulging them in a sweet every now and then is ok, but consider substituting in healthier ingredients. Instead of oil, substitute for applesauce, instead of whole eggs, consider using egg beaters. Their treat will still be just as delicious but a little healthier and that is the best gift you can give them this Valentine’s Day!

Bottom line, follow these four simple rules:  eat less, choose well, be active and restructure your relationship. You will enjoy Valentine’s Day without adding unwanted pounds!