It’s one of the most common New Year’s resolutions – lose weight. Unfortunately, for those who are trying to maintain healthy eating and stick to this proposition, a holiday associated with sweets and chocolate arrives just a little over a month after the start of the new year. Valentine’s Day can be a quick start to breaking your healthy eating plan, but there are ways to celebrate with your loved ones and not overindulge.

Dinner at home

If you’re looking to have complete control of the nutritional value of what you’re eating, think about cooking with your loved ones at home. Not only is dining in cost effective and probably less crowded, you can control all that you’re consuming.

It doesn’t feel like Valentine’s Day without a few sweets, but make sure you’re curbing that sweet tooth the natural way. Fruits dipped in dark chocolate make a beautiful and delicious dessert that can help you carry less guilt. Make sure the chocolate you are using is mostly cocoa without too many additives. Or, if you’re not a chocolate fan, try whipped cream and berries. Whipped cream is low in calories per serving — usually about eight per tablespoon — and still gives you the sense of decadence.

Carry the Valentine’s Day theme into your meal as well. The Calorie Control Council suggests “Thinking Red.” Red bell peppers, radicchio, cherries, strawberries, red beans, red onions and tomatoes are all packed with vitamins, cancer-fighting antioxidants or cholesterol-busting fiber and protein.

Dining out

When a night out on the town is what you’re seeking, be smart about what you’re consuming. Stick to the basics. Choose lean proteins and practice portion control. If you’re going to splurge, do so in moderation. Don’t let one night out with your sweetheart hinder you hopping back on the wellness train the next day.

There are other simple tricks to cut caloric intake. Don’t forget to drink water before your meal. Not only will you stay hydrated, but you will curb your desire to overeat. Make smart substitutions, ask for your meats to be cooked without butter, and trade in the side of potatoes for steamed veggies. Finally, savor your Valentine’s Day meal. Eat slowly so your body has time to tell your brain you are full and satisfied. This prevents overindulgence and discomfort after the meal.

There is no rule that says you must deprive yourself when trying to shed a few pounds. In fact, rewarding yourself in moderation can be an important part of a long-term wellness plan. Use this Valentine’s Day as the first holiday to make wise decisions without sacrificing taste or satisfaction.