How to have a Sweet AND Smart Valentine’s Day How to have a Sweet AND Smart Valentine’s Day

Every year, more than 35 million heart-shaped boxes of chocolate are sold for Valentine’s Day.[1]That’s a whole lot of sweets! Here are a few tips to keep the sugar down but keep all the sweetness of the holiday.

Get crafty

A homemade gift can be uniquely crafted with your loved one in mind, which makes it much more heartfelt than a box of chocolates. A hand-written card or hand-picked bouquets of your significant other’s favorite flowers are great options. If flowers aren’t growing just yet, check out this easy floral craft from RealSimple.com using cupcake liners![2]

cupcake liner craft

Cook at home

Some couples go out to eat for Valentine’s Day and end up eating large portions or opting for dessert. Instead, find your significant other’s favorite recipe online and make it home. You can surprise them before they get home from work with the table set or you can have quality time and cook the meal together. Either way, you’ll save money and control what ingredients are going in your food. You’ll also get to plate your own food and can avoid the huge portion sizes restaurants serve. 

Need ideas? Check out our list of delicious and healthy recipes. If you still want something red for your sweetie, try this strawberry smoothie.

couple cooking

If you do go out to dinner, eat light

If there’s a restaurant you’re dying to go to, go ahead and celebrate. Be smart about your choices though. Choosing appetizers instead of entrees or splitting an entrée can help you save money and watch your portion sizes. Here’slist of ways to eat smart when you’re eating out that you can apply to just about any restaurant’s menu.

Celebrate outside

Spending time in nature is the perfect Valentine’s Day date. When was the last time you and your significant other went for a walk together, just the two of you? Choose a park, forest, lake, or any place nearby to spend the day. You can pack a healthy picnic, bring the dog, or even make it a family event and bring along the kids. Take a walk at night instead to see the stars. You’ll get to enjoy the beauty of the outdoors while increasing your physical activity as you walk around. Nature also happens to be pretty budget-friendly- it’s almost always free! Remember that you can use your Georgia public library card to check out a ParkPass and Historic Site Pass for free admission and parking at over 50 parks across the state.

couple walking outside

Make sure your kids have a healthy V-Day too!

Every year schools host Valentine’s Day parties that are usually filled with cupcakes, candy, and soda. To help your child avoid a sugar overload, provide something low in sugar for the party. Ideas include: 

  • Strawberries or watermelon (red for love! Cut them into hearts for extra holiday spirit)
  • Popcorn (pop it from the kernel at home to eliminate the added butter and so you can control the salt)
  • Squeezable yogurt tubes (they provide calcium kids need to grow healthy bones, come in all sorts of flavors, and they’re easy to carry to school! Make sure you check the label and avoid yogurts high in sugar)

Also, if you’re buying Valentine’s Day cards for the class, be sure to choose ones that don’t come with candy.

bowl of strawberries

Give flowers instead of candy

Flowers are just as thoughtful as a box of chocolates, if not more. Choose your significant other’s favorite flower and include a handwritten card to make the gift more personal. You can even go the extra mile and hand-pick the bouquet to make it exactly how they’d like it. Balloons are great options too! This way you skip the calories of candy and give them something more personal that they’ll remember.

Written by Taylor Newman, Ph.D./DI student | Edited by Laurel Sanville, MS, RDN, LD

Petal heart original photo source

Cupcake liner craft original source

Couple cooking original photo source

Couple walking original photo source

Strawberries original photo source


[1]History of Valentine’s Day

[2]Valentine’s Day crafts

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