A Sugar-free Valentine’s Day? Sweet!

Valentine’s Day is just a few days away. Every year people use the February 14th holiday to celebrate romantic love, respect, and admiration with partners, family, and friends. It’s a day for Champagne, roses and chocolates, chocolates, chocolates—and for those rare few who don’t like chocolate, alternative sugar-filled treats. But all chocolates are not created equal and sugar is best in small amounts, if not for your spirits, then for your blood chemistry. So, it bears remembering that there are many sugar-free ways to express your true Valentine’s Day feelings, even if you’re shopping at the very last minute.

Get on your favorite search engine and get ready to shop! Here are some great ideas for a sugar-free (or at least a sugar-reduced) Valentine’s Day.

Coffee, Cards and flowers.  Yes, you know this. But it still bears repeating. Who doesn’t love being greeted in the morning with their favorite beverage, flowers, and a beautiful card? If you can’t give your gift in person, delivery is incredibly easy to arrange. Tried and true doesn’t have to mean boring!

Get outdoors. If you’re in the snowy north, enjoy a snowball fight, go sledding or take a walk and enjoy some time together. If the weather is warmer where you are, go for a hike or head to the beach. Exercise always seems to be easier when you can share it with someone you care about. Remember your sunblock no matter where you are; your skin will thank you!

Movies and music. If you’d rather be indoors, cuddle with your sweetie while watching a movie or listening to music. Even better, for both health and romance, get up and dance!

Try something different. Treat your partner to a spa day or better yet, book one together. Go stargazing. Camping. Spend the day doing something you haven’t before – make candles, play paintball, or volunteer together. Sharing new experiences builds memories that can last far longer than fancy candy. Build a new tradition and plan a new activity every year!

If you must have sweets, make them count. For chocolate, the darker the better! Dark chocolate contains antioxidants called flavonoids, which, according to the Harvard School of Public Health, may help lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of diabetes. Milk chocolate has more fat and sugar than dark chocolate, so if that’s your choice, eat it in very limited amounts. Unfortunately, white chocolate is not very nutritious at all – it’s mostly sugar and fat! The healthiest choice is dark chocolate with at least 70% to 85% cocoa; milk chocolate has less cocoa (and therefore lacks the same health benefit) and white chocolate has none.

You can find a ton of Valentine’s Day activities and gift ideas on the web. In the end, though, celebrating is not about what you buy. It’s about showing the people you care about that they are important to you. To paraphrase the immortal wedding scene in The Princess Bride: “Love, true love, will follow you forever. So, treasure your love.”

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