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Have a happy Valentine's Day, sans the candy

By Meghan McCloskey, Staff Writer

You either love or hate Valentine's Day, often depending on the status of your love life. But, what really should be the reason for the holiday's bad feelings is the negative effect all of those chocolate hearts and boxes of truffles have on your health.   

On February 14, chocolate and sweets are practically forced upon you. They are unavoidable, whether eaten out of self-pity (because after all, you owe it to yourself) or for someone else's happiness. It was a gift so you have to eat every piece, right? Wrong.

If the common feeling of self-pity and sadness comes around the 14th of February and you feel like treating yourself to one of those cute, heart-shaped boxes of Russell Stover assorted chocolates, beware. Popping three of these little chocolates in your mouth means 199 calories and 8 grams of fat. And really, who can stop at just three? Before you have time to even think about the reason you are eating them, the entire box is gone and 796 calories have been added onto your day.

If you happen to have a significant other during Valentine's Day, they will probably buy you chocolate. Just keep in mind those delicious Ghirardelli chocolate squares with red and pink heart-printed wrapping are 220 calories for a portion of three.

Thankfully, there are ways to survive Valentine's Day and still remain healthy.  If treating yourself, stick to the dark chocolate Ghirardelli squares. They have fewer calories (four of them are 220) and they have a health benefit: they are good for your heart because dark chocolate contains healthy antioxidants. Just make sure to buy them with at least 60% cacao to reap the benefits.  If you have a boyfriend or girlfriend, make sure you let them know that you do not need a colossal, heart box filled with chocolate. Instead, make a date for two at a restaurant and choose a healthy meal like fish or chicken. If the typical college-student budget doesn't call for an entire dinner out, make it a "dessert date." 

Pick a favorite place and only order dessert. Sure, a Crumbs Red Velvet Cupcake comes in at 780 calories and 36 grams of fat, but if you split it with your date, it will be more romantic and a reasonable indulgence. 

Exercising is difficult now because of the weather and the University's gym renovation, but there are other options. A temporary weight room is available in the Physical Fitness Center and the swim center is always open. Kristina Waltiere, a freshman, journalism major, uses every resource available to her.

"I usually swim at the swim center or just exercise in my dorm with my friends," she says.
If you are fortunate enough to have a car on campus like senior, business management major, Christina Luniewski, there are plenty of gyms in the area you can join.

"I joined a gym off campus in Roosevelt Field.  It's only a few minutes away and it's so nice," she said.

Just remember every little bit helps. Take the stairs when possible, walk around campus and skip the giant, peanut butter-filled chocolate heart all together. 

Ghirardelli’s 60% Cacao chocolate is much healthier than others. (Photo Courtesy of

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