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Do you give sweets to your ‘sweetie’ on Valentine’s Day? According to the National Confectioners Association, 83% of Americans will give chocolate or candy on Valentine’s Day. Valentine’s Day is the third largest holiday for the consumption of chocolate, trailing behind Christmas and Easter (US Food Market Outlook 2018). 58 million pounds of chocolate will be purchased the week before Valentine’s Day. That’s a lot of extra calories, and sugar.

heart fruit bowl

My son’s birthday happens to be on Valentine’s Day. Knowing there would be an abundance of sugar at classroom Valentine parties we have always tried to bring a healthy treat to share for his birthday. Pictured here is one of my favorite birthday treats we have shared with classmates. It’s simply fruit cut into heart shapes and arranged in a heart-shaped pan. And you know what? The class has always devoured the fruit! Consider sending a healthy for your child’s classroom… fruit, pretzels, raisins… or a non-food item like pencils or stickers.

Maybe the best way to say I love you… is with a gift that promotes health. Here are some gift ideas that say Happy-Healthy Valentine’s Day:

  • Flowers – buy local and save money!
  • Pampering gifts – bath salts, scented lotion, candles
  • Make or purchase a fruit bouquet
  • Homemade gifts from the kitchen – soup mixes in jar, granola, or flavored popcorn
  • Coupons for quality time together
  • Plan an active date – ice skating, skiing, dancing, hiking, bowling,

Of course you can still enjoy a little chocolate… just do so in moderation and balance it with physical activity and smart food choices the rest of the week. Feel free to share your favorite healthy gift idea in the comments below.

Sources:

Garden-Robinson, J. & Henneman, A. “FREE Holiday Food Mixes in a Jar PowerPoint, Recipe Handout and Online Slide Show.” University of Nebraska-Lincoln. 2019. https://food.unl.edu/free-holiday-food-mixes-jar-powerpoint-and-recipe-handout

“Heart Health and Candy Hearts?” American Heart Association. 2013. https://www.yourethecure.org/heart-health-and-candy-hearts

US Food Market Outlook 2018. https://www.packagedfacts.com/Food-Outlook-11000243/

Written by: Shannon Carter, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Fairfield County

Reviewed by: Lisa Barlage, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Ross County

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