Valentine’s Day seems to have been turned into a dessert holiday, with food aisles filled with candies and chocolates, and advertisements urging you to buy sweet treats to express your love.
But if the day is truly meant to be about showing someone how much you love them, why give unhealthy treats that can cause harm to their health?
There are plenty of ideas out there for fabulous Valentine’s delights that really say, “I love you.” Here are just a few.
Healthy homemade cookies
Putting the effort into creating something is a great way to show you really care. By making homemade cookies, you’ll know exactly what’s in them – and you can use healthier ingredients as well as an extra cup of love.
This Whole Foods recipe for no-bake “thumbprint” cookies is a great one to try. Use as many organic ingredients as possible.
- ¾ cup pitted dates
- 3 cups organic rolled oats (Bob’s Red Mill makes a good gluten-free version)
- 1 ½ cups almond butter
- ½ cup shredded coconut (unsweetened)
- Zest and juice of one orange
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- ¾ cup 100% all-fruit preserves like cherry or apricot
Place the dates into a medium-sized bowl and cover with hot water; set aside and allow them to soak for 10 to 15 minutes. Reserve ½ cup of the soaking liquid and then drain the dates well. Using a food processor, pulse the oats until they are coarsely ground and then transfer to a large bowl; set aside.
Transfer the dates and reserved soaking liquid to the food processor, pureeing until smooth. Add the date mixture, almond butter, coconut, orange zest and juice, cinnamon and salt to the bowl with the oats and knead together to make a dough.
Roll the dough into about 24 balls and transfer them onto a parchment-lined sheet tray when done. Press down with your thumb into the middle of each ball to make an indentation, and then spoon a little of the fruit preserves into each one. Chill for at least one hour before serving.
Heart-shaped fruit is a colorful, tasty and nutritious treat to give your Valentine. Simply cut melons, pears, pineapples or apples into heart shapes using a cookie cutter. To make them a bit fancier, you can turn them into a beautiful bouquet by using skewer sticks. Place each piece on the end of a skewer, and then tie a red ribbon around your bouquet. To make it a little sweeter while still keeping nutrition in mind, drizzle some melted dark chocolate onto the tops of the fruit.
Speaking of dark chocolate, remember that cacao contains flavonoids, antioxidants that can help reduce inflammation and fight free radicals. Flavonoids are also believed to help support a healthier heart – making dark chocolate a great Valentine’s treat, at least in small doses. As commercial chocolate is often highly processed, be sure to choose organic, raw, dark chocolate with at least 70 percent cacao content.
Celebrating your love with a bottle of good vino – provided it’s not overdone, is an ideal healthy Valentine’s treat. Red wine offers quite a few health benefits, including helping to regulate blood sugar levels, raising good cholesterol and lowering bad cholesterol levels, potentially decreasing cancer risk, boosting brain power, helping to fight infections and more.
It’s important to choose organic red wine as standard grapes are known to be some of the most pesticide-laden types of produce. Organic wines are free from pesticides, additives and sulfites.
This year, toast to your love and to your health!
-The Alternative Daily