We want to show our family, kids, friends, and coworkers how much we appreciate them throughout the year by showering them with sweets for the sweet, right?
Many of us are on calorie restricted diets and would rather not be tempted to veer from our plan by a sweet treat, no matter how well meaning.
Sometimes getting unintentionally sabotaged isn’t a positive thing when we are working so hard to lose weight and be healthy.
Worse yet is fighting for our kids to be served healthy and nutritious school lunches only to have a party in the afternoon with candy and other sweet treats stop our healthy efforts in their tracks.
Valentine’s Day does come only once a year so why not enjoy? The reality is that there will be birthday parties and other holidays coming again soon — there is no shortage of days to have a party where our kids get treats at school.
Other parents are certainly well meaning and want to make all the kids happy, but there are other things out there that we can do to show you care without loading kids and friends up with sugar and calories!
Healthy Valentine Options
Here are a few suggestions (and these might get your own creative juices flowing to think of many more fun ideas) to show people in your life how much you care without adding sweetness.
Many kids and adults with food allergies could be harmed with well meaning treats that contain potential items they should avoid, especially at your child’s school.
- Arrange a pot luck lunch instead of filling up everyone’s desktop candy jars. Set the menu ahead of time with healthy options, such as fruit salad, sliced turkey, hummus and veggies, whole wheat bread, hearty soup, and water with lemon/lime slices. People can sign up and bring food that you have predetermined will be on the menu. No snacks or desserts allowed! Remind everyone how important they and their health are so the Valentine’s Day celebration this year is all about our health! Assign one or two co-workers to get some pretty decorations, tablecloths or plates to go with the festivities!
- For your office pot luck lunch, bring the fresh fruit platter and use your cookie cutters to cut out heart shapes and other fun designs.
- Don’t share sweet treats this year, instead limit everyone to bringing old-fashioned Valentine cards like you did in grade school. Fun memories that will bring smiles instead of sweets that add on pounds.
- Put a decorated jar on the break room table and ask that, instead of spending money on candy for everyone or treats for the staff, people add a donation that will be given to a food bank near you or children’s charity, such as a Pediatric Hospice Foundation. Who wouldn’t rather do that?
At your child’s school:
- There are a multitude of small toys you can find in the birthday section of the party store or local retail store in bulk packages. They could be rings, cars, tattoos, balls, pencils, erasers, stickers, crayons, sunglasses, yo-yos or any other type things. Add one of these little objects to the Valentine cards they sign for their friends.
- Avoid the urge to buy candy and encourage your kids, especially the older ones, to create their own valentine cards. They may even be able to make a personalized card on the computer using a selection of their favorite emoji’s or other images. This alone will show others, especially the teacher, just how important they are that actual time and thought went into this Valentine.
- Create a card that matches the little object that you found in the store. One example is a card that reads “I’m stuck on you Valentine” that accompanies a few assorted stickers. You can get creative depending on the items you find.
- Add a joke to the personalized card your child makes for their friends. The kids will love a guessing game such as “Knock Knock” on the front and the rest of the joke on the back. Use colored index cards that gives them room to write the joke and will staple easily to the Valentine card.
- Buy some beads and pipe cleaners and let your kids make bracelets for their friends. The result will be colorful, creative and a great way to share friendship without candy.
- Find buttons with cute sayings that your child can share. There are button making kits available if you have time to make your own.
- Have your child make bookmarks for their friends, give them plenty of cool things to get creative, such as ribbons, cardboard, markers, stencils, stickers and raffia.Your dentist will thank you (or she should), the teacher will thank you and even your family and co-workers will thank you for putting their health and well-being ahead of the chocolate hearts.
(Don’t we still have Halloween candy and chocolate from our Christmas stockings around somewhere?)
Have more fun non-candy ideas for Valentine’s Day? We would love for you to share them with us!