Editor’s note: The following article is written by a Skinny Mom Resident Mom. The Resident Mom program gives a voice to our readers, allowing moms across the world to contribute content to Skinny Mom. If you’re interested in becoming a Resident Mom, click here to apply.

resident mom header

Who doesn’t love Valentine’s Day? A day centered around love that includes flowers, candles, date night, wine, and chocolate! In my opinion, add a bubble bath and a romantic comedy and it’s pretty much the perfect day. But, I don’t want the ambiance of mood-lit, tipsy perfection to have a hangover affect from overindulging. Instead, I would prefer to wake up with a heart full of love versus a belly full of hangover bloat.

valentine's day heart with candles and two glasses of sparkling champagne

Don’t get me wrong, life is way too short to live without chocolate and I would love nothing more than to devour the entire heart-shaped box (assuming I’m lucky enough to be gifted one), but doing this would make me hate next week’s burpees even more! To avoid this, I’ll be planning my indulgence so I can control my impulses — well, at least a little.

With this in mind, going out on a romantic date night is a fine idea, but restaurants often have limited seating and menus on Valentine’s Day, not to mention more temptation to overdo it versus a planned meal that’s made from scratch at home. And it’s okay to stay in; really, it is! There’s not a law that says everyone has to have a date and go out on Valentine’s Day — it’s not like it’s New Year’s Eve! (Just kidding.) So, go ahead, take the kids to a sitter, stay in and cook a clean meal that is affordable, fun and filling and that you can feel good about eating. Trust me; you’ll thank me on Monday.

So, come on honey, let’s get this holiday started with a K.I.S.S.!

That’s right! Keep It Simple Sweetheart and by keeping it simple, we can also keep it clean! I suggest a simple and savory, one-dish entree that includes a colorful variety of rosemary and honey-roasted vegetables, paired with a honey vinaigrette spinach salad, served with a sweet wine and finished off with a decadent, and oh-so-delicious, you-won’t-believe-it’s-good-for-you, creamy, dark chocolate dessert topped with fresh raspberries and drizzled with honey. Honey? Are you starting to see the sweet theme? Well, now that your mouth is watering, maybe it’s time to…

K: Kiss. That’s right; set the stage for the evening by starting with a slow, seductive kiss, candle light and romantic music. What says romance more than chopping up veggies together by candle light? But, if meal prep doesn’t get your heart racing, maybe the kissing will as it may increase your metabolic rate and boost immunity. No need to question medical advice – smooch away! Kiss before the meal, kiss during the meal, and of course, kiss after the meal.

kissing couple feet

I: Indulge. Indulge in simple pleasures. Simple is best on Valentine’s Day and (every day). Eating clean doesn’t have to be expensive and overwhelming if you ignore all the complicated recipes with endless ingredient lists. Instead invest in a few clean, organic pantry staples such as organic extra virgin olive oil, garlic, sea salt, and black pepper. Once you start eating clean, the majority of other grocery items, including herbs, should be purchased as a whole food in their fresh, natural states and in small quantities. Keep in mind that fresh items free of chemicals and preservatives will spoil quickly, so make a shopping list and only buy what you need that week.

If you purchase foods that can stay in your pantry for years or you can’t pronounce the drastically long, ingredient list, you probably shouldn’t consume that food or fake food item. Whole foods are foods that are in their natural state because they’re unprocessed foods found in nature that lack additives such as preservatives. Examples include grains, beans, nuts, seeds, fruits, vegetables and animal products, including meats and non-homogenized dairy products. I’m not sure about you, but I can’t remember the last time I walked outside and saw a Doritos tree, pretzel plant, or dug up dried potato flakes. No need to buy a box of these; just buy and serve a whole food, straight from nature, baked potato.

>> Read more: Clean Eating 101

Reach for the whole foods as much as possible and avoid processed alternatives whenever you can by going back to buying the basics. Has anyone ever told you that dirt is a sign of clean? In this case, it is. It’s good when your clean-eating whole foods are dirty with actual dirt. Dirt should always be preferred to processed chemicals and preservatives. Don’t be fooled or waste your time and money indulging in industry-created foods; instead indulge in the atmosphere of candles, music, kisses, a clean and savory meal, and of course, a luscious, chocolate dessert. Even adding an ounce of dark chocolate as a pairing to the red wine can be a clean treat. Speaking of wine….

couple eating a meal

S: Sip. What goes great with chocolate and Valentine’s Day? Wine. Sweet is a necessity especially on the sweetest day of the year, so sip a glass of sweet red or white wine. It will add to the evening’s experience, plus it’s good for your health. On top of lowering bad cholesterol, polyphenols — the antioxidants in red wine — can help keep blood vessels flexible and reduce the risk of unwanted clotting, and the resveratrol you get from drinking one glass of red wine three or four times a week may be enough to starve any nascent cancer cells says John Folts, Ph.DHowever, the key here is limited consumption and moderation, so stick to one glass and don’t overdo it. If you want more, try adding sparkling seltzer water to your wine so one glass can turn into two or three glasses.

wine night

S: Do I dare say “sex?” According to WebMD, in addition to increasing emotional connection through touch, lowering blood pressure and heart attack risk, it’s fun! The tradition of Valentine’s Day and the link to sex can actually be dated back to the Middle Ages, when France and England believed that February 14th was the beginning of birds’ mating season, which added to the idea that Valentine’s Day should be a day for romance. And, since I’m not one to break tradition…

Anyway, back to that K.I.S.S. A romantic evening full of love, clean eating, and kisses should always start and end with a heartfelt thought. On this day of hearts, it’s important to remember that whether you’re celebrating a special romance or you’re celebrating alone, make sure you give love to your loved ones, but most importantly, to yourself. Loving yourself and caring for yourself by practicing healthy, simple, clean eating is imperative to a heart healthy, well-nourished body and life.

>> Read more about how sex is good for you here.

So, let this day be a heartfelt symbol of loving yourself, by some relaxation, pampering, indulgence and clean eating, not as a selfish act, but instead a loving gift that you’re giving yourself so you can give your best self to your loved ones on this Valentine’s Day and for many more to come. After all, I’m sure this gift to yourself pairs well with wine and chocolate.

Want a Valentine’s Day menu? Click “next” to see a clean date night meal.