Fewer Sweets, More Sweetness

Wednesday, January 25, 2023

Chocolate kisses, chocolate covered strawberries, and candy hearts. Valentine's Day may mean time with your sweetheart, but for many people, it also means a candy overload. As the bacteria in your mouth snacks on all that sugar, it creates a cavity-causing acid. This is a good time of year to cut back on the sweets and find some fun, healthy ways to celebrate.

These five Valentine's Day surprises will up the fun factor and make everyone smile:

1. Send a fruity message to the class. With a felt-tipped marker, write messages on clementines and bananas, such as "Be mine!" and "I'm bananas for you!"

2. Stick with old-fashioned Valentine's cards. Attach a small toy to each Valentine card instead of candy, such as a glow stick with a message: "You make my heart glow!" or mini, heart-shaped bubble wands with a note, such as: "I'm blown away by you!"

3. Jazz up ordinary treats. Decorate snack-sized packages of whole-grain crackers, individual fruit cups or low-fat pudding cups with heart stickers.

4. Serve chocolate-dipped fruit. These fan favorites will delight Valentines of all ages. Simply melt semi-sweet chocolate chips and swirl in whole strawberries, apple slices and peeled banana chunks. Throw in some pretzel rods too. But be sure to enjoy (and serve) these treats in moderation.

5. Make healthy heart shapes. Using a mini, heart-shaped cookie cutter, make heart-shaped fruit treats for the class. At home, make heart-shaped pancakes or heart-shaped homemade pizza for dinner. Using a regular-sized heart cookie cutter, cut sandwiches into heart shapes.

With a little creativity, a candy-free Valentine's Day can be sweeter than ever.

If you're looking to snack healthy beyond Valentine's Day, ask your primary care provider to recommend a nutritionist.

Sources: Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics; American Heart Association; Food Allergy Research & Education


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