Thursday, February 13, 2014

Myth: There aren’t any ‘healthy’ gift options for Valentine’s Day.

Answer: BUSTED!

Utensils and hearts on cutting board and table
Cook a healthy meal for your valentine!
It may seem like the only way to show you care on Valentine’s Day is to give candy, but what better way to show some love than to give the gift of good health? Here are alternative gift ideas for this Valentine’s Day.

  • Buy (or make at home) chocolate covered strawberries. Use dark chocolate with 60% cocoa or more. Why? Strawberries and dark chocolate contain flavanols. These substances have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties which may help ward off diseases like heart disease and cancer.
  • Still want to include chocolate in your Valentine’s Day treat? Set a relaxed mood and make a mug of hot cocoa for your sweetie. Use cocoa powder that has not undergone Dutch processing. This kind of cocoa also has flavanols for good health. Use skim or low-fat milk in the cocoa for a healthier and lower-fat treat.
  • You know that fruits are healthy – high in fiber and nutrients, low in calories and sodium. How about giving an edible fruit arrangement instead of a bouquet of flowers? You can also make your own arrangement especially if your sweetie has a favorite fruit. Just search online using the term ‘edible fruit arrangement’ to find some good online sources for this DIY Valentine’s Day gift.
  • Nothing says love more than making a meal for someone else. How about making a relaxing healthy dinner? Or prepare the meal together to make it more special. Try a stir-fry dish or sauté some salmon and greens. Time together is the best gift you can give to someone to show you care.
  • Valentine’s Day falls in the middle of winter. It’s hard to think about gift ideas that involve being active together for good health. Give the gift of fun and get a pass for a local gym. Take a relaxing walk or a class together.

So there you have it. There really ARE alternative ways to celebrate Valentine’s Day that include the gift of good health. Enjoy!

Read more about the benefits of dark chocolate at

Contributor: Ellen Schuster, M.S., R.D., Associate State Specialist, University of Missouri Extension,, 573-882-1933

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