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Think outside the chocolates

February 1, 2017
Cara Chase , MOV Parent

Valentine's Day seems to revolve around chocolate and candy galore, but have no fear healthier yet still sweet options are out there! Show some love to your hearts and to others this Valentine's Day and try something different with your kiddos to add physical activity, the spirit of giving, and healthy treats into your celebration.

Get Your Heart Pumping

Make Valentine's Day a day to be kind to your heart, by using this time to talk about the importance of heart health with your kids. It is recommended that children and adolescents get 60 minutes of physical activity per day. This can be done in small bursts throughout the day, but the most important thing is to simply get moving. Try one of the family friendly activities below to get all involved, because physical activity is important at all ages for healthy heart function!

Hand-deliver valentines by walking gifts to friends and neighbors.

Jump rope: Good old-fashioned jump rope! For older kids practice spelling Valentine's themed words by having them spell a letter of the word with each hop.

Heart Hopscotch: Draw hearts for spaces with chalk outside, or cutout paper hearts for indoor use. Simply find an object to toss onto the spaces (lids, erasers, or bean bags work well!).

Show some love to our environment, by cleanuing up litter in your neighborhood or a local park.

Too cold outside? Try having a dance party with fun, kid-friendly tunes.

Heart Search

Hide paper heart cutouts throughout the house, and have the kids search for them. With each heart they find, have them say something they are thankful for.

Share the love: Embrace the Spirit of Kindness

Valentine's Day is a great holiday to share with children the importance of giving back and being kind to others. Here are a few simple ways that you can make those messages come to life with your children.

Start a new tradition with your children and volunteer at a local animal shelter or retirement home.

Valentines without the candy: Try giving out valentines with a toy or other objects like bubbles, pencils, stickers, or yo-yos for as a treat that is sure to warm the heart.

Enjoy a family meal together and use this as a time to share reasons why you love each other.

Write letters of appreciation to community members: teachers, nurses, emergency response personnel, neighbors etc. Use this as a time to discuss gratitude with your kiddos.

Heart Smart Treats

Valentine's Day can still be a holiday celebrated with sweet treats. Try a fruit focused dessert for a sweet treat. Fruits are packed with lots of natural sugars for a sweet taste with an added bonus of many important vitamins and minerals. Always opt for whole fruit over juice when possible - fresh, frozen or canned works just fine. Simply cut or arrange fruit into heart shapes for a fun display, or try out a healthy spin on a dessert classic below.

Baked Banana Split

Serving size: 1


1 banana

2 teaspoons honey

Cinnamon (to taste)

4 strawberries

1/4 to 1/2 cup low-fat plain or vanilla yogurt

Optional toppings: nuts, dark chocolate shavings, berries


Preheat the oven to 400. Slice the banana lengthwise and place it on a square piece of tin foil. Drizzle evenly with honey and sprinkle cinnamon on top. Bake for 10-15 minutes. Note: the longer you bake the softer and gooier the banana will be, bake for as long or as short as you prefer. While the banana cools, slice the strawberries into heart shaped slices. Arrange the banana on a plate and top evenly with yogurt. Place strawberry hearts on top of the yogurt.

Sprinkle remaining desired toppings and enjoy!

TIP: Try using fresh fruits that are in season: citrus fruits, dates, grapefruit, kiwi, pears, and pomegranates. Or use frozen or canned varieties to enjoy any other fruit year-round!

Go to the dark sideof chocolate that is!

Showcase this indulgent treat by topping oatmeal, yogurt, peanut butter toast, or banana slices with a few dark chocolate chips for a sweet treat that's not over the top. This can be a great way to incorporate a new flavor to try too.



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