Healthy Valentine's Day Treats
Valentine's Day is notorious for candy, sweets and chocolates. A healthy alternative for the sugar shock can be easy, it just takes a bit of creative planning to find them. Begin with your supermarkets produce department and finish up in the garden department! Nutritious CAN be delicious! Let's look and see!
Produce? Really? Yes!
Yes. You can find a great assortment of items that are both delicious and nutritious in the produce aisles. Strawberries dipped in chocolate are routinely associated with love and romance. A healthy alternative to the chocolate would be a smooth and cool vanilla yogurt for dipping them into. Cut them into halves or slices to exhibit the heart shapes inside, lay them around a heart shaped dish filled with the yogurt. This treat is great for kids of all ages!
Another great valentine treat is a dish of heart shaped watermelon bites! Slice watermelon into one inch slices. Using heart shaped cookie cutters of varied sizes, cut hearts out of the red watermelon flesh. Arrange on a dish, add a sprig of fresh mint leaves and serve cold! Kids love this and grown-ups appreciate the low-cal option!
Cut out biscuits with heart shaped cookie cutters are an easy way to start the day with a "heart"y breakfast! Serve them with fresh strawberries, strawberry jam or cherry preserves. Top with a dollop of yogurt and you have a wonderfully sweet treat!
Pop open the cinnamon rolls, unroll them and reshape them into hearts and you will have yet another sweet way to start the day for your significant others of any age! You can do the same thing with can biscuits or even pretzel dough. These can be served with strawberry yogurt as dipping sauce! A delicious and healthy treat!
Whip Up A Meal!
A wonderful way to win anyone's heart is to make them a special meal! Whether it is a child or adult, everyone loves the special feeling we get when someone spends the time and effort to make a delicious meal. They can be simple and quick with little or no chef expertise required! Here are a couple of ideas.
Serve those biscuits or cinnamon rolls with a heart shaped boiled egg! Easy to make and fun to serve, they will be a hit with any sweetie! Begin with a still warm boiled egg, peel then place in a wedge formed by a milk carton. Press the top down using a ceramic chopstick, secure with rubber bands and let sit about 10 minutes to set the shape. Remove the carton, chopstick and rubber bands, slice and serve! This could even be a creative way to make deviled eggs!
Heart shaped grilled cheese sandwich and tomato soup will warm both the heart and the tummy! Cookie cutters may be a bit too small, but these can be easily shaped using a knife and glass. Gently set the glass on the sandwich after grilling and trace the curve for the upper part of the heart! It is quick and easy! A mug of tomato soup can be garnished with two dots of sour cream. Use a knife to pull the dots into a heart! Too worried you can't do that? Cut a heart shape out of cheese or butter to decorate! Either one will add a bit of flavor and connect the love!
Another option is a plate of spaghetti served with sauce and heart shaped meatballs! Roll meat into balls, then press into hearts. Brown and serve on top of your spaghetti! Two good sized hearts with sauce are a "love"ly way to create an awe inspiring meal! Want something "heart"ier? Try a heart shaped meatloaf. Serve it with mashed potatoes and a crisp salad.
There are lots of food treats that are sweet for your sweetheart. Cupcakes, cookies and chocolates are often the first thing we grab. What about non-food alternatives? There are plenty of these too! Pens and pencils are a useful and cute way to remind your sweetie that you care every day! Notepads or a box of stationary are another great way to give a gift that will be used over and over again.
Children love stickers and coloring books as well! Give them a sticker book or coloring book with a new box of crayons! Everyone LOVES new crayons! Give them a kit to make their own cards. Card stock can be found at local craft stores or scrapbook shops. Add stickers, glitter pens, crayons, ribbon and glue.
Story books or books of poetry are yet another great alternative that will continue to remind them of your love. Photo frames with pictures of special events are a great reminder as well as a great gift! Frames can be made of various materials or shapes or sizes. The important part is that there is a connection made. A connection to your love for them and how important they are to you is what will make any item a cherished gift.
We all know that flowers are a great item for ladies of all ages. An alternative to the ever increasing expense of fresh flowers is to get flower bulbs or seeds. Adding a small hand trowel, gardening gloves, and even knee cushions are a great way to expand the gift of flowers for any lady. Tulips and daffodils are wonderful to receive, but getting the bulbs gives them over and over for years to come. Not sure which bulbs or seeds to give, a gift card to a local lumber yard or plant nursery will give them the opportunity to select the type and colors they want for their yard. This is one of my personal favorite Valentine's gifts. I have tulips planted all over both in flower beds and in the yard. Every spring when they pop up, I remember the love with which they were give and the precious looks in the eyes of my husband and children. If I ever move, there will definitely be holes all over the yard where I dug up my bulbs to take with me!
Think Outside The Box.....The Candy Box That Is!
Take the time to think outside of the candy box. Be creative! Think about the things your valentine enjoys doing. What can you get to add to it, to accent it or to support it? That is something to consider! I love the recurring tulips in my yard, warm mugs of flavored latte, beautiful jewelry and silly socks! None of these are expensive or elaborate, but the warmth they bring to my heart make them more special than an expensive diamond, dinner or flower bouquet.
It means more to know that you took the time to think about them and customized your gift to their delights. Giving a part of your time means so much more! Get creative and have fun! May you be blessed with lots of love!
Text and Photo Copyright 2013 Deborah M. Carey
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