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It’s February and that means Valentine’s Day temptations are everywhere you look – candied hearts, boxed chocolates, heart-shaped goodies and a dinner date for two with your sweetheart. This time of the year also marks another important observance, National Cancer Prevention Month, which is a great time to start making healthy changes that reduce cancer risk for you, your family and friends. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle, such as eating healthy and staying active can be challenging during any holiday. Here are six tips that will help you and that special someone in your life stick to healthy habits and prevent cancer for an enjoyable and romantic Valentine’s Day:

  1. Cook a romantic dinner for two. Planning a dinner date at home can be a very romantic gesture and it can save both cash and calories. Choose healthy, low-fat recipes with vegetables, fruits, whole grains and lean meat. Don’t forget the soft music and candle light!
  2. Valentine's Day eCardIf you do go out for dinner remember sharing is caring. Splitting an entrée or dessert helps you avoid overindulging on those typical large portion restaurant meals. You still get to enjoy a romantic dinner out, but it costs you only half the calories (and half the price tag) of your usual meal.
  3. Consider alternative gifts to chocolate. Rather than tempting your beloved with chocolates, consider sending flowers or a fruit basket that has natural sugar as well as healthy nutrients.
  4. Indulge your sweet tooth a little, but don’t overdo it. If your sweetheart gives you a box of chocolates stick it in the fridge or freezer and enjoy in moderation over several weeks. Dark chocolate is packed with cancer-fighting antioxidants, making it a more nutritious option than milk chocolate.
  5. Plan a date around fitness. Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to revolve around calorie-laden food or periods of inactivity. You can nurture your relationship through many healthy and enjoyable activities. Some fitness date ideas for couples include skiing, hiking, taking dance lessons together, ice skating, rock climbing or kayaking. These activities promote togetherness and can lead to a healthier lifestyle.
  6. Show you care by kicking the smoking habit. One of the best things you can do for your health is to give up smoking or help a loved one quit. Smoking is the cause of more than 80 percent of all lung cancer cases and the cause of 30 percent of all cancer deaths.

Take the opportunity to make this holiday of love special by getting active, eating healthy and quitting tobacco to help you and your Valentine develop lifetime habits that help Stop Cancer Before it Starts!