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If you are thinking that candy is a bit overdone (and overpriced just in time for February 14th!), you are probably looking for a different way to share your love this Valentine’s Day. Why not consider a healthy alternative to a big box of chocolate?
Here are 6 Valentine’s Day ideas that will show the sweet side of love without adding a pound!

1)Plan an Outside-the-Box Date (for a Different Night!)
Dinner and a movie is pretty predictable. Why not try something new? With all the new date night options, you can have your pick of some pre-planned adventures within your current interests, or something totally new. Paint Nights, Plant Nights, City Tours on wheels or with ghosts, and Escape Rooms – there is honestly something for everyone in a variety of price ranges. The real key is to schedule the date (preferable for another night if you like to avoid the rush and crowds). That guarantees you’ll go out and makes that night stress-free because you planned it ahead of time!
Health Benefit: Beside the fact that you save the movie-theater popcorn calories, many of these date nights will get you out and moving. And even if they aren’t doing a physical activity, learning something new can change your brain! The neuroplasticity of the brain is amazing and spending time on new activities can not only feel recharging, but also keep your brain young!

2)Fill a Heart with a Healthy Treat
If you still want to give a gift that will satisfy the taste buds, there is a wide range of healthy alternatives including nuts, nitrate-free jerky, popcorn and dried fruit. And just because you are thinking healthy, doesn’t mean you have to skip the cheesy fun; Stop at your local craft (or dollar) store and find a cute container to fill with these tasty treats. There’s not need to buy a pre-packaged heart. Choose the whole foods your sweetie likes to eat and make your own!
Health Benefit: Choosing your own healthy mixture instead of pre-packed junk food gives you the opportunity to eliminate preservatives, artificial ingredients and processed sugars, making it less of an indulgence and more of a gift. And you’ll love that your wallet doesn’t take a beating either!

3)Plan a Meal for the Meal Planner
There’s a good chance that if you look at your relationship, you will likely see that one of you is a planner and one of you is a participant in different areas of life. If your loved one is the meal planner, a great gift to gift is to plan a healthy meal for them. One of the hardest things to do when you cook all the time is CHOOSE what to make. So plan it for them, shop for all the ingredients and (if you can!) cook it for them. If you are dangerous in the kitchen, just planning and prepping a healthy meal is still a gift for a cook that does that every day. Taking that one thing off their plate can help make it more fun to fill yours!
Health Benefit: Any time you cook a healthy meal at home, you get a number of health benefits. You can control the portion size and the ingredient list. Not to mention, you can avoid the crowds, the noise and the cost of a Valentine’s night out and still get a delicious meal for two.

4)De-Stress Together
There are many ways to de-stress the body and mind. Two excellent stress-melters are therapeutic massage and essentials oils. Through the sense of touch, massage can relieve muscle tension caused by physical and emotional stress. While a good shoulder rub is nice, a truly thoughtful gift would be to purchase a set of massages for your loved one to enjoy when they are stressed or as part of their overall wellness care plan. Utilizing the sense of smell, diffusing certain essential oils can promote relaxation, balance and peace; others can be used to motivate and invigorate. A diffuser is a gift that can last for years and serve a variety of purposes in the home!
Health Benefit: The accumulation of stress over time is the root cause of many health challenges. Managing the stresses in your life that are outside of your control involves taking care of your body so that it is able to adapt to its environment and handles those stresses without allowing them to build up over time. Two great ways that couples can de-stress together are massages and essential oils. Including a regularly scheduled massage as part of your wellness plan is a great way to manage stress. Diffusing Essential oils is another way to add some balancing aromas to your life in even the most stressful times. Using a diffuser also eliminates the need for candles and air fresheners are add toxins into the environment that will further stress the body’s nervous system.

5)Pick an Air-Cleansing Plant instead of a Bouquet
Flowers are always a nice touch. But the cost of a bouquet (especially a red one!) on Valentine’s Day is pretty steep; not to mention, a cut arrangement will wilt after a few days. Another option is to purchase a live plant and – even better – one that does the cleaning! Sadly, it will not do the dishes or laundry, but air-purifying plants will filter the air and remove some of the toxins that accumulate throughout the day. Some very pretty options include peace lilies, spider plants, waxed begonias, and tulips.
Health Benefit: Having air-purifying plants in your home are not only pretty, but also remove everyday toxins from the air. This will leave your home smelling cleaner and offer you the peace of mind that you’re breathing in fresh air.

6)Skip the Card and Hand Write a Note
Let’s be honest – no one cares what Hallmark has to say! Penning your own words is the way to go if you really want to express a message. And penning does not mean an email or text! Taking the time to put words to paper means something in the age of technology. Consider taking a moment to add your own note to any of these other gift ideas (and save yourself $4 on a card!)
Health Benefit: This benefit might be more of a relationship benefit (and a healthy relationship is good for your health!). Sharing your feelings is a simple way to strengthen your bond and the compliments you share will be cherished by those that you share them with. Building someone else up is always good for the giver and receiver!
Now, it’s not that people don’t appreciate a card and candy. Sure they do! But why not show that you care about them and their health by choosing a gift they will love that also supports their need for wellness and fun. Take this day to make a memory by sharing the health as you share you heart.

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