7 Healthy Valentine’s Day Snacks & Tips to Cut Down on SugarBy Stephanie Eng-Aponte Reviewed by Briana Rodriquez, R.D. Science-Backed
When store shelves are lined with boxes of chocolate truffles and colorful candy hearts, where can you find healthy Valentine’s Day snacks? Whether you have a significant other or you’re treating the day like any other, Valentine’s Day sweets may be tough to avoid if you have weight loss in mind.
Don’t worry — we’ve got strategies to keep your search for healthy Valentine’s Day snacks from ending in heartbreak! Get ready to fall in love with our favorite foods and check out our top tips to help you cut back on sugar.
Healthy Valentine’s Day snacks and meals you’ll want to try
Celebrate the love you have for yourself and others by cooking a thoughtful meal — complete with healthy snacks and appetizers.
If you’re following the Jenny Craig program, check with your consultant before making any swaps or changes to ensure you’re staying on track.
1. Overnight oats
We’re sure you’ve heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day — it’s true! Enjoy every minute of Valentine’s Day and keep your energy levels up with a breakfast that’ll help support your weight loss goals and your heart health: oatmeal. Enjoying whole-grain oats is linked to lower cholesterol levels, which may prevent cardiovascular disease.1 Oats are an excellent source of beta-glucan, a type of soluble fiber that could effectively reduce LDL cholesterol, one study found.2
Smart swap: A plain bagel (without any toppings!) contains almost nine grams of sugar, but a half cup of plain oatmeal doesn’t have any added sugar.3,4 And if weight loss is one of your goals, oats are a great choice for another reason: The soluble fiber they provide can help slow down the way your body processes food, which could help you feel full and satisfied.1
Try this: No time to prep in the morning? No problem. This delicious recipe for overnight oats is one of our favorites. Just pour the ingredients into a container, pop it in the fridge overnight and give yourself a solid pat on the back in the morning. For more of a Valentine’s Day theme, trade blueberries for juicy strawberries and raspberries. Who needs sugar-sweetened cereal when your breakfast tastes this good?
Photo by JeniFoto on Shutterstock
2. Crispy beet chips
Ruby red beets are one of the most Valentine’s Day-friendly veggies we can think of! Thinly sliced baked beets make a savory, crunchy chip that’s perfect for snacking. Beets are loaded with nutrients that may help with inflammation and cardiovascular health. Many studies focus on the benefits of beet juice or powder, but experts say eating whole beets could provide similar effects.5
Smart swap: Crispy beets are the perfect swap for another crunchy snack that delivers over 30 grams of sugar per serving: caramel corn.6 Although beets can be higher in sugar than other vegetables, they’re a good source of fiber. Along with slowing digestion, fiber helps to slow down sugar’s absorption into your bloodstream,5 helping to prevent a dramatic energy spike and crash.
Try this: This recipe makes a ton of beet chips, so it’s perfect for sharing. Preheat your oven to 300 F. Slice off the leafy tops and save them for later — sauté them with garlic, salt and pepper for a tasty side dish. Cut a dozen beets into thin ⅛-inch slices. Toss slices with salt and set aside in a colander for 15-20 minutes to drain. Season beets with pepper and a spritz of nonstick cooking spray, then place them on a baking sheet in a single layer. Bake for 45 minutes, or until crisp. If you have an air fryer, cook your chips at 320 F for 25-30 minutes until crisp. Let beet chips cool completely before storing in an airtight container.
Photo by srz on Unsplash
3. Roasted red peppers
If you’re planning on hosting a Valentine’s Day party, these easy-to-make roasted red peppers make a fancy addition to a vegetable platter and can even be used make a light and delicious salad dressing.
Smart swap: Salad dressing can be a surprising source of added sugar. French dressing made with corn syrup and brown sugar can pack four grams of sugar in just two tablespoons.7 Make your own flavorful, sugar-free dressing by blending roasted red peppers, red wine vinegar, olive oil and fresh garlic together. Plus, red bell peppers are a great source of nutrients and antioxidants, including vitamin C, potassium and vitamin A.8
Try this: Preheat your oven to 500 F. Place whole peppers on a baking sheet and roast for 30-40 minutes until charred. Turn a few times while roasting to cook evenly. Remove peppers from the oven and cover the pan with aluminum foil. Set aside to cool completely. Once cool, remove the stems, skins and seeds, and cut peppers into slices.
4. Tomato basil soup
Creamy, savory and topped with fresh herbs, this warm and comforting tomato basil soup is a great dish to enjoy with your loved ones. And like red bell peppers, tomatoes are an excellent source of vitamin C.
Smart swap: Did you know? A single can of tomato soup could be hiding 18 grams of sugar.9 (That’s over three teaspoons!) Warm up with some homemade soup instead — you can control the amount of sugar that’s in your meal by making it yourself.
Try this: Tomatoes, onion, coconut milk and fragrant spices make a satisfying tomato basil soup that’s ideal for vegetarians and meat-eaters alike. Try it for yourself.
Photo by kaizennguyen on Unsplash
5. Fruit-infused sparkling water
It’s not just festive — refreshing infused water and other non-caloric beverages, like unsweetened tea, can help you to stay hydrated and satisfied between meals.
Smart swap: Trading alcohol for water on Valentine’s Day is a simple swap to help you stick to your weight loss goals and avoid added sweeteners. One rum cocktail could have as much as 36 grams of sugar.10
Try this: Fill a pitcher with ice, sliced fruit and mint, then top it off with a bottle of chilled sparkling water. Sliced strawberries and grapefruit, raspberries and pomegranate, or a mix of all four make a perfectly pink drink that you’ll love sipping with your valentine.
Photo by Natalia Fogarty on Unsplash
6. Fresh fruit and dark chocolate
Instead of eating chocolate bars and caramels, why not satisfy your sweet tooth with fresh or frozen fruit? Fruit is filled with vitamins, minerals and fiber, making it a healthy choice when you want something sweet. Try to keep your fruit servings on the smaller side if you’re trying to lose weight: a small apple, half of a large banana or ¾-cup of berries will help you stay on track. You can still have a little chocolate with your fruit — just keep an eye on your portions.
Smart swap: Love chocolate? We do, too! But consider this: Just two chocolate truffles can contain 18 grams of sugar.11 Cut back on sugar by reaching for the darkest chocolate you can find. Chocolate with 70% to 80% cacao solids12 can contain less sugar than types with 45% to 59% cacao.13
Try this: Dark chocolate strawberries are a classic Valentine’s Day treat: Melt two squares of dark chocolate to drizzle over a few fresh strawberries. Or, try these chocolate-dipped banana bites, a low-sugar dessert we love.
7. Portion-friendly desserts
If you don’t have time to make a Valentine’s Day dessert from scratch, that’s OK! We suggest enjoying premade options in moderation. Support your weight loss goals by aiming for smart portion sizes.
Smart swap: Looking for a frozen treat to finish your Valentine’s Day dinner? An ice cream sandwich can have as much as 17 grams of sugar.14 For a healthier dessert, try a half cup of plain, nonfat frozen yogurt (or better yet, this banana ice cream) with berries, a ⅛-inch slice of pie, or two small cookies to end the evening on a sweet note, without overdoing it.
Healthy options for Valentine’s Day and beyond
When Valentine’s Day is right around the corner, finding good-for-you foods that support your weight loss goals can be challenging. Take the stress out of weight loss with Jenny Craig: Just choose your menu, and we’ll take care of the rest. We emphasize healthy ingredients, and no foods are off-limits. Every day, you’ll enjoy a delicious snack or dessert, along with chef-crafted meals for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Ready to get started? Book your free appointment with a weight loss coach today.
Stephanie Eng-Aponte is a copywriter for Jenny Craig and has written for the health and wellness, tech, and environmental industries. Stephanie graduated from Rutgers University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism and Media Studies. They employ an “eat first, write later” approach to food blogging and enjoy the occasional Oxford comma. Outside of writing, you can find them photographing a muttley crew of rescue pups, brewing kombucha, or exploring San Diego.
Favorite healthy snack: green apple slices with sunflower butter
Briana is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and Certified Personal Trainer for Jenny Craig, based in Carlsbad, California. She is passionate about utilizing food as functional and preventative medicine. Guided by a simplistic and optimistic approach, Briana’s philosophy is to help people improve their health and achieve their goals through the development of sustainable habits to live a healthy life. In her free time, you can find her strength training, indoor cycling, coffee tasting, and at local eateries with her husband and two dogs.
Favorite healthy snack: peanut butter with celery alongside a grapefruit-flavored sparkling water (so refreshing!)
This article is based on scientific research and/or other scientific articles and was written by an experienced health and lifestyle contributor and fact-checked by Briana Rodriquez, RDN, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist at Jenny Craig.
Our goal at Jenny Craig is to provide the most up-to-date and objective information on health-related topics, so our readers can make informed decisions based on factual content. All articles undergo an extensive review process, and depending on topic, are reviewed by a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) or Nutritionist, to ensure accuracy.
This article contains trusted sources including a scientific, peer-reviewed paper. All references are hyperlinked at the end of the article to take readers directly to the source.