Three Healthy Sweet Treat Ideas for Valentine's Day

February 14, 2024

It's Valentine’s Day and you know what that means. Your kids will face a smorgasbord of sugary treats, whether in the classroom or at grandma’s house. Tasty as these treats may be, they are sure to spoil appetites for healthier foods, raise blood sugar and—if your child really goes overboard—lead to an upset stomach.

The good news is that you can cut the sugar without losing the fun of Valentine’s Day. It’s just a matter of thinking outside the box of chocolates.

Is Sugar Such a Bad Thing?

The sugars in candy, desserts and regular soda are simple carbohydrates, sometimes called “added” or “refined” sugar. Unfortunately, children (and adults) get way too much of it. According to the American Heart Association, children and young adults ages 2-19 consume 66 grams of added sugar daily. That’s 53 pounds of added sugar a year!

Too much sugar puts kids at risk for obesity, diabetes, tooth decay, heart disease and a host of other conditions that affect their long-term health. By limiting sugar intake in your home and educating your kids about nutrition when they are young, you can help them make good choices now and in the future.

Fruit and vegetables also contain simple carbohydrates. But these foods also offer other nutrients, such as fiber, vitamins and minerals, contributing to good health.

And now, let’s get to the star of the show: Healthier Valentine’s Day treats.

Sweet Treats That Won't Spike Blood Sugar

smoothie ingredients in blender cup

Start the Day With High-Protein Smoothies for Your Sweethearts

Valentine’s Day is an opportunity to show your kids that not all fun and delicious treats are laden with sugar. Start your day with a protein enriched smoothie for your sweethearts first thing in the morning by blending frozen fruit, fresh greens (like kale or spinach), your favorite nut butter or milk, and cooked quinoa. This protein and fiber packed liquid meal can slow down the digestion of carbohydrates, which help keep blood sugar levels more stable. That’s good because when blood sugar levels spike a lot over a prolonged time, it can lead to cardiovascular disease, even in young people.

berry yogurt popsicles

Melt-Your-Heart Popsicles

Heart-shaped silicone molds and cookie cutters are a parent’s go-to tools for creating (relatively) healthy Valentine’s Day treats. They amp up the fun factor—the only limit is your imagination. This Valentine’s Day, use a silicone mold to create fruit and frozen yogurt heart-shaped popsicles. Cookie cutters can also turn a boring peanut butter and jelly sandwich into something special. You can make the sandwich and use a large or small cookie cutter to create a heart-shaped PB&J.

strawberry muffins

Send Them to School with a Classroom Treat

No kid wants to bring heart-shaped cucumber sandwiches to school for the class party. Mom, that’s so embarrassing! But you might get away with sending along this kid friendly strawberry-inspired snack. Your kids can even help you make them. All you need are fresh strawberries, your favorite muffin mix, heart-shaped muffin pan, and voila! A socially acceptable, tasty Valentine’s Day muffin. Are they as healthy as a cucumber sandwich? No, but from a nutritional standpoint, they beat cupcakes and candy bars by a mile.

Keep Fighting the Good Fight

Promoting healthy eating habits can feel like an uphill battle. You can stock your fridge with juicy berries, cute baby carrots and fiber-rich whole grains, only to find out that some kid on the school bus brought gooey chocolate brownies for everyone—and your son had two. The struggle is real, but it’s important to stay in it.

Your children are watching you to understand what good nutrition is and why it’s important. It might not seem like they are paying attention or heeding your guidance, but they are. And one day, they’ll thank you.