Health + Fitness

A Healthier “I Love You”: Valentine’s Day Without the Sweets

Only a month into 2017, many people are still working on our New Year’s resolutions. That includes thousands working to make their lifestyles healthier. With Valentine’s Day around the corner, how do you show your thoughtfulness when chocolates are this season’s go-to gift?

Taking the time to come up with something creative can be risky, but your loved one will appreciate your thoughtfulness and support in achieving their health goals.

We came up with a few ideas to help you express your love this Valentine’s Day.

Love in Action

A coupon book is a classic alternative. If that feels too scripted, skip the book and plan ahead to surprise your loved one. Leave work early and surprise them with a romantic meal on the table when they get home. (Want to start looking for healthy recipes? Here are some suggestions.)

Want to really make your loved one feel special? Think about taking an entire day off and surprising them with a clean house when they walk in to find dinner on the table. If it’s not a realistic option, consider taking on one or two smaller tasks.

If you find yourself saying, “But I don’t know how to (fill in the blank with any household chore),” never fear. This is the age of do-it-yourself YouTube channels. A quick search for “how to do laundry,” for example, yields more than 3 million results. Another helpful one, “how to clean the bathroom,” yields nearly the same number.

Whether or not you enjoy it, your loved one will appreciate the effort and the fact that you recognize and appreciate how hard they work.


Date Night

Going out for dinner is a Valentine’s Day staple. While it’s easy to fall into a trap of predictability, it’s also easy to put a special touch on your plans. Even if your significant other seems happy, it’s worth thinking about places you haven’t tried before. They might not feel comfortable suggesting new ideas. If you need help figuring out whether they might be interested in something new, ask their friends. You might be surprised what you discover!

You might realize you really love your routine. There’s nothing wrong with confirming that you’re happy where you’re at! If you find yourself missing your usual place, surprise your loved one with dinner at your favorite place unexpectedly a couple weeks later. They’ll appreciate the thought, and you’ll both enjoy getting back to what you enjoy!

Another idea is to take your significant other somewhere special that they love but maybe you don’t. Make sure you’re willing to deal with an environment you might not enjoy. Nothing kills the mood of an evening like someone who’s visibly unhappy.


Hobbies and Interestsvalentines date

Of course, health isn’t just about physical fitness or eating right. Consider that a healthier 2017 might also mean investing in emotional and mental wellness.

Has your loved one been wanting to learn another language? Take a cooking class? Pick up a new hobby or explore an existing one in greater depth? Look up classes in your area. If you don’t see any, check for activity groups devoted to their area of interest. Activity groups such as Meetup are typically free or inexpensive.

Plan something you can do together. This might take a little creativity since both your interests are unique. Maybe it’s something you haven’t thought of or talked about before. (Again, this is an area where talking to one of your significant other’s friends might be helpful.)


Forget the Flowers

In northern climates where winter still has a long shelf life, flowers can do a lot to brighten a home. Unfortunately, flowers only last so long. Instead, think about buying low-maintenance plants. It might not be as exciting as a bouquet of roses, but their longevity makes up for it. Get creative with your presentation to make the gift seem extra special.

Beyond making your home more aesthetically pleasing, plants can improve air quality. Kamal Meattle, a businessman and environmentalist from New Delhi, India, shared his experience using common houseplants to improve air quality in a TED talk. He calls this “how to grow your own fresh air.”

A 2008 study by the “Central Pollution Control Board” found these plants reduced eye irritation by up to 52 percent, respiratory problems by 34 percent, headaches by 24 percent, and asthma by 9 percent.


alternative valentine's day gift

Gift Your Love

Whether it’s a unique plant or an acting lesson, you can show your significant other your love by keeping their interests in mind. You can avoid the sweets with a little creativity, too.


old valentine

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