My Q Health | 10 Sweet Tips For A Healthy Valentine’s Day
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10 Sweet Tips For A Healthy Valentine’s Day

10 Sweet Tips For A Healthy Valentine’s Day

By Delialah Falcon. May 7th 2016

February is American Heart Month. What better time to highlight the importance of good heart health than in February, when so many individuals celebrate Valentine’s Day? This day is traditionally celebrated with expressions of love for one another through the presentation of chocolates, confections and other sweets.

Other traditional gifts include flowers and greeting cards. Common symbols used on Valentine’s Day include cupid, doves and of course…hearts. This year, when celebrating Valentine’s Day, why not treat your loved ones to the gift of good health and a truly happy heart? By incorporating some healthy changes into your traditional Valentine’s Day routine, you and your loved ones can celebrate together without sacrificing your health.

1. Limit Candy And Sweets

While so many other holidays are celebrated with candies and sweets, Valentine’s Day immediately brings to mind visions of chocolates carefully packaged in heart-shaped containers. Most of these candies are chock-full of preservatives, trans fat and chemical additives. Instead of giving these traditional gifts, get your creative juices flowing and put together a healthier treat. Use a heart-shaped cookie cutter and whip up a few batches of your loved ones favorite cookies using all natural ingredients. If you have the time and patience, try making your own chocolates using baker’s chocolate, or even dark chocolate, and heart shaped chocolate molds. Other chocolate options include:

  • Chocolate-dipped strawberries and other fruits
  • Chocolate-dipped pretzel rods
  • Chocolate-dipped plastic spoons to be used as coffee stirrers
  • Chocolate-dipped marshmallows on a stick
  • Chocolate-covered almonds and other nuts
  • Chocolate-covered raisins

(For more healthy alternatives to sweets, read Healthy Valentine’s Day Snacks For Kids.)

2. Get Active

Who says your Valentine’s Day has to include dinner and a movie? Skip the theater and try something more adventurous with your loved ones. If you live in a warmer climate, plan an outdoor date that will keep you active. Think outside the box and take your loved one on a nature hike that ends with a healthy picnic. Visit a local park and engage in a game of 1-on-1 volleyball or tennis. Take a trip to a local zoo or wildlife center. Challenge your loved one to a game of miniature golf.

In colder weather, look for indoor activities that will get the blood flowing and the heart pumping. Think of activities like ice-skating, a trip to a local museum (lots of walking), a cooking class (cooking burns calories), or an indoor sports complex that offers rock climbing and other activities.

3. Express Yourself

Emotional and mental health are equally as important as physical health. Learning how to express your emotions is not only good for your relationships, but can improve your overall health in two ways.

  • The brain is a muscle, and just like other muscles in the body, the brain needs to be exercised to stay healthy. Tapping into emotions and learning how to communicate them effectively works those brain muscles, helping to keep them alert and healthy.
  • In addition, expressing your emotions will help you maintain a healthy emotional balance, which will have a positive effect on your relationships with others. Instead of browsing through cards in our local stationary store, write your own Valentine’s Day sentiment or poem.

4. Prepare A Home-Cooked Meal

Next to Mother’s Day, Valentine’s Day is the busiest day of the year for restaurants. Many restaurants offer a select menu with special meal options offered at a set price just for Valentine’s Day. These specials are often hearty dishes complete with rich sauces and heavy dressings. In addition, many of these specials will include an appetizer, soup or salad, entrée and dessert. Not only is this abundance of food unnecessary, but overeating can leave you feeling sluggish and too tired to do anything else. For a healthier Valentine’s Day meal, treat your loved one to a home-cooked meal derived from fresh, natural ingredients.

5. Volunteer

Nothing makes the heart feel better than doing a good deed and helping others who are in need. Instead of spending an intimate Valentine’s Day together, use the day to celebrate the gift of giving. There are many places where you and your loved ones can volunteer your time together, such as:

  • Homeless shelters
  • Hospitals
  • Nursing homes
  • Foster care homes
  • Churches
  • Food kitchens
  • Domestic violence shelters
  • Non-profit agencies such as Goodwill or Salvation Army
  • Assisted living facilities for adults with disabilities
  • Local charity groups

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