Creative Valentine’s Day gifts that don’t involve food are hard to come by.
Big chocolate hearts, small and crunchy hearts, chocolate-covered nuts, caramels and crèmes in heart-shaped boxes, tart hearts, gummy hearts, marshmallow hearts and even lolli-hearts… ‘tis the season for every sweet version you can imagine.
And it’s everywhere you look. So it stands to reason that about half of Valentine’s Day shoppers gift their loved ones some form of candy, according to a survey from the National Retail Federation (NRF). What may surprise you, however, is just how detrimental one day of this splurge can affect your weight.
Before you ask, “how many calories are in those sweet confections,” you might want to prepare yourself. A box of Hershey’s chocolates from Walmart (specifically the Pot of God Valentine’s Premium Collection Pink Heart Box) has 200 calories per serving, half of which are from fat.
But, this isn’t even the worst part. There are four servings per container, meaning that if you go for it—and enjoy your special little, six-dollar Valentine’s Day gift—you’re actually wolfing down 800 calories. Yikes. The same remains true for fancier confections, which contain 190 calories in just three little pieces. It’s true that a little dark chocolate can be healthy in moderation. But, if your loved ones are watching their weight, or trying to shed extra pounds, consider thinking outside the heart-shaped box to help them on their way.
Here are some creative Valentine’s Day gifts and dates that don’t involve food:
1. Plan an active date.
Instead of the go-to dinner and a movie date, start your day earlier and take a long walk along a pretty route. Hiking and biking are also fun, healthy date options. If the weather doesn’t cooperate, perhaps, tour a museum, head to the bowling alley or for the more ambitious—try ice skating or indoor rock climbing.
2. Upload a new workout playlist.
Surprise your sweetie by filling his or her iPod with upbeat songs that mean something to you both or bring a smile to his/her face. Include a few romantic favorites for the cool down. To make this Valentine’s gift even sweeter, pair the playlist with new in-ear headphones or a mini speaker for the workouts that take place at home.
3. Gift an experience.
Your spouse mentioned wanting to try yoga? Buy her passes for a few classes. If your valentine loves to draw, send him for an art lesson. To make it an experience that brings you two closer, take a dance class together or register for a cooking class. Lots of pottery and painting shops have opened their doors to BYOS-ers (bring-your-own-snackers), who want to partake in a painting or pottery class while noshing on treats they bring. Give your honey a gift card to one of these experiences, and bring healthy options to enjoy while you create something special together. Gifting an exciting activity that creates a special memory or enhances a particular skill lasts way longer than a candy, bound to go stale.
4. Consider healthy gear.
Give your babe something that’ll actually get used with healthy gear. Find a unique or personalized, reusable water bottle to help them stay hydrated, even during their most ambitious sweat sesh. New workout mats are ideal for yoga and Pilates enthusiasts, while fitness trackers do the job for someone who just started exercising. Mini blenders satisfy anyone that starts their day with smoothies or loves to get creative in the kitchen. Our new healthy living staple? Air fryers. The tools to help your loved one stay on track are endless, so explore a bunch of different options to find the perfect one for that perfect one.
5. Volunteer together.
Volunteering can bring two people together like nothing else. In this scenario, a couple is united, for a common purpose, learning how to work together, and maybe poking a little fun at each other while doing it. Volunteering also helps individuals feel more socially connected, while reducing depression and anxiety. Research also suggests that people who give their time to others may also enjoy better health—including lower blood pressure and a longer life. So give them a gift this Valentine’s Day that does the direct opposite of those boring, old candies.