I know what you're thinking:
“How do I celebrate Valentine’s Day on a 21-Day Sugar Detox or Squeaky Clean Paleo?”
“What about with kids?”
Chocolates, candy, fancy dinners… these are things we typically enjoy about Valentine’s Day, but you may be dreading them if you are doing The 21-Day Sugar Detox (21DSD) or maybe even the Squeaky Clean Paleo meal plan from Practical Paleo.
Or perhaps you find that you just feel a whole lot better when you avoid super-sweet treats in general, and you’d like some ideas to keep you feeling your best.
Here are some ways to stay away from the treats and to keep your family sugar-free as well.
You might need to adjust your mindset regarding this holiday since it has become a celebration of sugar, chocolate, and indulgence. However, at its core, Valentine’s Day is a celebration of love and friendship, so focusing on those ideas can help you to make this holiday extra special for you and your loved ones.
- Kindly request that your significant other not give you anything with sugar in it. If you typically give/receive gifts, request something that is not food-related such as flowers, a massage, a book, jewelry, or clothing. For ideas on how to show your love without food, check out my post from last Valentine's Day: 8 ways to show love that don’t involve food.
- If you know treats will be around at work, arm yourself with some sugar-free treats (see ideas below).
- Make sure you have plenty of nutrient-dense, delicious, sugar-free foods prepared and available to eat throughout the day. If you know you will be around tempting foods, eat before you arrive so that you are not hungry–it is much easier to resist sugary foods when you have a full belly.
- Celebrate Valentine’s Day with the people you love, doing something that you love to do together. Go for a hike, make a special meal, watch a movie, or visit a museum.
Keeping Valentine’s Day sugar-free for kids is much more challenging, especially if they are in a school or daycare where parties and holiday celebrations are common. There are plenty of things you can do to reduce the sugar load, even if you can’t eliminate it completely. Most of these ideas work best for kids in preschool or elementary school, but if you have older children, you can discuss the benefits of avoiding sugar and allow them to decide how to handle the holiday treats.
- Make your own valentines for family members and friends with fancy paper, stickers, glitter, etc.
- Do a fun Valentine’s Day craft together. Craft stores and stores like Target and Walmart often have inexpensive crafts that are simple and fun for younger children.
- Make sugar-free treats together (see ideas below).
- Decorate your house with hearts, cupids, and streamers.
- Purchase or check out books with Valentine’s Day themes. Read them together.
- If you want to bring food to your child’s Valentine’s Day celebration, find out the school policy on bringing snacks to classroom parties. Some schools require that all snacks be store-bought in order to ensure that there is no risk of contamination from an unsanitary home kitchen. Other schools may allow homemade treats. Learn your kid’s school’s policy and work within its parameters.
- If you can bring homemade treats, make something that your child loves (maybe even with his/her help), but that is unsweetened or sweetened with fruit and will be acceptable to other kids. Some ideas include fruit-sweetened cookies, almond butter or coconut cups, mini fruit-sweetened muffins or banana bread, or some other treat that has some protein and/or fat to go with it.
- If you can only bring store-bought treats, choose items that are sugar-free, high in protein and healthy fats, and/or have abundant vitamins and minerals. Ideas include 100% fruit leathers, fresh fruit (washed and precut), vegetable or fruit chips, dried fruit (are you seeing a pattern here?), kale chips, seaweed snacks (you’d be surprised how many kids like these), trail mix, nut clusters, or cheese sticks.
- You can avoid the food treats altogether and provide a non-food treat for the kids. Great (and inexpensive) ideas that both boys and girls will enjoy include stickers, pencils, fun erasers, bouncy balls, finger puppets, temporary tattoos, balloons, crafts, etc. If you have older kids, ask them what their peers would enjoy and involve them in choosing what to bring.
- Kids love to give and receive valentine’s cards, so stock up on their favorite store-bought cards for them to exchange with their classmates.
Valentine’s Day can be a fun holiday for kids and adults alike, but it doesn’t have to revolve around food, especially the sugary kind. I wish you and your family a lovely Valentine’s Day filled with love, happiness, and health!
But here are a few more that are sure to please your tastebuds and make this Valentine’s Day special.