It’s estimated that Americans will buy 58 million pounds of chocolate in the week leading up to Valentine’s Day. (1) That doesn’t include the chalky candy hearts, gummy sweets and other candy. That’s a lot of candy along with sugar, dairy, artificial colors and artificial flavors. So, it’s no surprise that Valentine’s Day isn’t known as being the healthy holiday. Don’t let that scare you off. A healthier Valentine’s Day is possible and even better.
Love yourself and your Valentine by not giving up on a healthy lifestyle. Taking care of your health and the health of those you care about is the best way to show love!
I get it. It doesn’t sound that easy. According to the National Confectioner’s Association, “84 percent of Americans think chocolate and candy are a fun part of special celebrations, including Valentine’s Day.” (2) You don’t have to give up on the fun and the celebration. You just have to do Valentine’s Day differently so you can do healthy differently.
I know it can be stressful as you adopt new habits, especially when celebrations or holidays come about. Stress isn’t good for your health, so let’s make it easier with these easy ideas for a healthier Valentine’s Day.
6 Easy Ideas for a Healthier Valentine’s Day
1) Enjoy Healthy Dark Chocolate
There is a reason chocolate is associated with this the holiday of love. Chocolate helps boost hormones like dopamine, serotonin, and oxytocin that can set the stage for romance. Chocolate also contains phenylethylamine (PEA) which is a neurotransmitter that’s found in the body at higher levels for those experiencing love. While chocolate is a healthy food with many benefits, make sure it’s good quality dark chocolate. The majority of chocolate has been destroyed by overprocessing, milk and too much sugar. Find a healthy option or make these dark chocolate cherry bites. Indulge in the good stuff for a healthier Valentine’s Day!
2) Add a Steamy Mug of Coffee or Tea
Small gestures like a cup of organic coffee or tea can be a healthy, thoughtful way to take a moment to enjoy Valentine’s Day. Try one of our healthy recipes like this collagen latte or this coffee recipe. Coffee and tea without all the sugar or dairy can have many health benefits of their own and are full of antioxidants. Both are also good for circulation and can help get blood flowing for a healthy Valentine’s day activity – like one suggested in our next section. My mind wasn’t in the bedroom, yours was.
3) Plan a Healthy Date
Spending time with those you care about is the best way to say I love you! Plan a healthy date to show just how much you care. This time of year is perfect to get outside for a hike, sledding, skiing, ice skating or other outdoor fun. Or if you prefer to keep it hot inside, try a dancing lesson, massage, or a sauna date. There are lots of great activities to celebrate the holiday and a healthy valentine.
4) Skip the Restaurant and Cook a Romantic, Healthy Meal
It can be hard to ensure a healthy meal at a restaurant but at home you can make sure your meal is full of healthy, organic ingredients. Try one of the healthy recipes on our website or make one of your favorite dishes. Set the mood with candles (all natural of course) or flowers on the tables. If you prefer to go to a restaurant then make sure to look at their menu in advance for healthy, noninflammatory options and call ahead to see if they can accommodate any allergens.
5) Have Fun with Heart-Shaped Foods
Valentine’s day is easy because you can make so many foods into a heart. A heart-shaped cookie cutter can turn fruit, sandwiches, meats and of course cookies into the perfect holiday shape. Pancakes or a fruit pizza recipe are also fun to make. Top them with sliced strawberries that naturally look like little hearts. Sometimes the simplest things are something to love about the day.
6) Make a Healthier Dessert
Being healthy doesn’t always mean you have to give up dessert. You just have to find a dessert that fits with your health goals. For some that could mean organic, dark chocolate sweetened with stevia or fruit dipped in dark chocolate sauce. Berries like strawberries or raspberries are good options because of their low glycemic index. We also have some healthier dessert recipes like this cheesecake recipe, a strawberry shortcake recipe, or this chavocado mousse.
Do Valentine’s Day Differently
You deserve the best version of you that’s functioning at an optimal level. Making healthy choices every day of the year, including Valentine’s Day, will mean that you are giving yourself and your loved ones the best valentine. You don’t have to give up on the fun or celebration to do Valentine’s Day differently.
Written by Dr. Patrick Flynn
Healthy Valentine Resources: