Eat This, Not That: 8 Healthier Date Night Dishes
When you’re in that exciting new stage of a young relationship, there are two things you want to do together all of the time and both involve whipped cream—having sex, and eating. For some reason, you just want to try all of your partner’s favorite foods and have him try all of your favorites. It’s almost like you’re on a restaurant tour of the city together (on the nights you aren’t ordering delivery so you can get back to making magic under the sheets quicker). There are foods that naturally lend themselves to being split between a couple. These foods tend to be indulgent, fatty, sugary, creamy, and overall naughty because, well, you’re doing a lot of naughty things in a new relationship. But that’s also why you put on those new relationship pounds. Skip the new love bulge and eat this, not that, date night food.
Eat this: Spaghetti squash and turkey meatballs
Spaghetti squash is super low in calories and carbs, and gives you a healthy serving of vegetables. Meanwhile, it soaks up all the same sauces nicely that traditional wheat pasta would. Pair your spaghetti squash with lean, high-protein, low-fat turkey meatballs. And make your own tomato sauce from scratch using a can of stewed tomatoes, salt, pepper, olive oil, oregano, and basil.
Not that: Spaghetti and meatballs
White, wheat pasta is high in carbs and low in nutrition. It just leaves you feeling like you have a bowling ball in your stomach. Then you have traditional meatballs, which are often made with combination of fatty beef and pork. Add to that the high-sugar sauce from a jar, and you’re in no mood to be touched after dinner.
Eat this: Vegan cheese fondue
Fondue is a fun, interactive, very shareable date night food. Make a healthy variety with a base of potatoes, rice, cashews, and sauerkraut (which aids digestion). We like this recipe. And use healthy dipping items like pickles, apple slices, and mushrooms.
Not that: Cheese fondue
Real cheese fondue will let you rack up those calories fast. You’ll consume nearly 500 calories in just one cup of the stuff, not to mention the heavy things you’re dipping in it like bread. Gooey cheese will wreak havoc on your digestion, too, which isn’t exactly sexy.
Eat this: Cauliflower pizza
Want tons of energy to do…whatever…after your meal but still want the comforting taste of ooey, saucey pizza? Try this recipe for a low-carb Keto-friendly cauliflower pizza crust.
Not that: A meaty pizza
Splitting a deep dish pepperoni and sausage pizza will leave you both feeling sluggish, and struggling with heartburn. Just one piece can have over 300 calories, and you probably have a few pieces, plus beer or wine.
Eat this: Healthy nachos
My boyfriend and I love to whip up a big platter of nachos, hunker down in front of the TV, and eat up. But we only do one layer of chips, and we do whole grain, flax seed ones for fiber. We skip the sour cream, go light on the cheese and use low-skim mozzarella. We choose fresh pico de gallo salsa for zest and pickled jalapenos.
Not that: Cheesy loaded nachos
Traditional nachos platters call for several layers of empty-calorie chips, several cups of full fat cheese, sodium-loaded pickled jalapenos, and tons of sour cream. This is a recipe for bloat and gas.
Eat this: Olive oil and pepper flakes popcorn
Popcorn is the perfect movie night snack, and it’s a healthy whole grain. Pop totally plain kernels and top them with olive oil, and seasonings like pepper flakes, Italian seasoning, cayenne pepper, and garlic powder.
Not that: Bucket of buttery popcorn
Skip the butters lovers microwave variety. It has over twice the calories of plain popcorn, and leaves you feeling too full.
Eat this: Skinny fajitas
Fajitas are a fun dish to build together. Load up on the sautéed bell peppers and onions, choose shrimp or grilled chicken, skip the cheese and sour cream, and choose small, street taco size corn tortillas.
Not that: Classic steak fajitas
Classic steak fajitas tend to be heavy on fatty strips of steak and use large, flour tortillas. These not only contain no nutrition, but they play tricks on your eyes—you tell yourself, “I’ve only had two fajitas!” but each one was the size of a burrito, so that’s more like two burritos.
Eat this: Sirloin and baked potato
When you’re craving a classic meat and potatoes dish and want to splurge, grab two pieces of sirloin steak and two baked potatoes. One three-ounce serving has just 206 calories, and five grams of fat. Baked potatoes are loaded with vitamins and minerals, and if you drizzle them with olive oil, salt, and pepper, they can be very healthy.
Not that: Rib-eye and potatoes au gratin
A small cut of rib-eye steak has a frightening 466 calories and nearly 40 grams of saturated fat. And potatoes au gratin are very high in fat and calories, too—not to mention digestion-disturbing butter and cream.
Eat this: Strawberries and dark chocolate
Dark chocolate has compounds that are calming and detoxifying—so have some after a few too many date night cocktails. Drizzle melted dark chocolate over strawberries for a sexy dessert you can serve each other.
Not that: Chocolate lava cake
Just one slice of chocolate lava cake can have nearly 400 calories. While it may be hot and steamy, it won’t make you feel light enough to get hot and steamy later.