Valentine's Day is just around the corner and if you don't have dinner plans already, you've come to the right place! According to a recent study conducted by Zagat, 57 percent of American couples actually prefer to cook dinner at home rather than spend money on dinner at a restaurant on Valentine's Day. And a recent poll by the National Restaurant Association stated that 46 percent of men polled actually preferred food as their gift of choice for Valentine's Day.
All of this is good news for healthy eaters. After all, there's no need to eat unhealthy and ruin all of the New Year's Resolutions that you made earlier this year. With all of the hidden ingredients in restaurant food, there's no real knowing what you're actually eating and how many calories you're consuming. When cooking at home, you have a much more realistic view on what you're putting into your body.
Below are five healthy Valentine's Day dinner options for you and your loved one to try out this holiday. No matter what you're craving, whether it's Italian, Greek, American, Asian or Indian, you can be sure to find a healthy choice that will be both delicious and easy to make. The options below are also fun and exciting. Just because you're cooking at home, it doesn't mean your meal has to be boring. Put on your apron and let's get cooking!
Option One: Italian - Three Courses for 715 Calories
Appetizer: Caprese Salad
Made of fresh tomatoes, crisp basil and mozzarella slivers, a serving is 250 calories.
Use whole wheat pasta (175 calories per serving) and make your own home-made tomato sauce with one can of crushed tomatoes, a pinch of garlic, salt, pepper and cinnamon for (a serving of the sauce will be about 50 calories). Pair this with a side of semi home-made garlic bread by toasting Ezekiel bread with a teaspoon of olive oil and garlic salt (one serving will be 120 calories)
Dessert: Coconut Gelato
One serving of Gelato Massimo's coconut gelato is 120 calories.
Option 2: Greek - Three Courses for 720 Calories
Appetizer: Pita Bread and Hummus
A serving of pita bread is only 75 calories. Pair this with home-made hummus (25 calories per serving) by blending chick peas, olive oil, lemon juice and tahini.
Entree: Falafel Balls and Horiatiki Salad
Falafel balls are only 60 calories per ball. You can make your own horiatiki salad with ripe tomatoes, onion, cucumber, feta cheese, olive oil and Greek olives--one serving will be about 300 calories.
Dessert: Greek-Style Yogurt with Honey and Granola
One serving of this Greek classic will be about 260 calories.
Option 3: American - Three Courses for 571 Calories
Appetizer: Caesar Salad
Combine romaine lettuce, shaved parmesan cheese, croutons and light Caesar dressing. One serving will be around 180 calories.
Entree: Sirloin Steak with Asparagus and Broccoli
One serving of a lean cut of beef sirloin is 160 calories. Pair it with a side of asparagus (seven spears are 21 calories) and broccoli (one serving is 50 calories).
Dessert: Chocolate-Covered Strawberries
Four strawberries of this classic Valentine's dessert will be about 160 calories.
Option 4: Asian - Three Courses for 836 Calories
Appetizer: Steamed Edamame
One serving is about 190 calories.
Entree: Wasabi and Panko-Crusted Pork
One roasted pork chop is 221 calories. When you add on a serving of wasabi (100 calories) and panko-crust (100 calories) with a touch of ginger soy sauce (20 calories), and you'll have a delicious entree that's only 441 calories.
Dessert: Sweet Rice with Coconut Milk
One serving of sweet rice is 170 calories and a serving of coconut milk is 35.
Option 5: Indian - Three Courses for 825 Calories
Appetizer: Chickpeas and Spinach
A serving of chickpeas is only 45 calories and spinach is only 10 calories.
Entree: Chicken Tikka and Lentils
You can make your own chicken tikka by baking chicken in a marinade of red chili powder, yogurt, garlic paste and lemon juice. The calorie count is about 260. Add a side of yellow lentils, which is another 230 calories.
Kheer is a delicious rice pudding made with milk, rice and dry fruits. One serving is about 280 calories.
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Nicole Kennedy is a healthy living blogger and publicist living in the suburbs of Philadelphia. Nicole's blog, Simply Nicole, documents her daily life occurrences as she balances working full-time, blogging, training for races, practicing yoga, eating healthy and planning her wedding. You can connect with Nicole via Facebook and Twitter for real-time blog updates, tips and tricks to living a healthy lifestyle, and more!