If you’re like me, you strongly oppose the idea that Valentine’s is an over-rated holiday created by the retail industry to make us buy things we don’t need — or that it’s an excuse to eat an insane amount of heart shaped candies and chocolates. Not to mention the flowers and cards we have to buy, all to prove our undying affection to those we love.
Okay, fine. It might be a little overrated, but I admit I’m a hopeless romantic. My husband tries to convince me every year, but I stand my ground and embrace the “love is in the air” hype. Honestly, I do it for my kids. On Feb. 14th, we wear red (and pink), handwrite special notes, and make yummy treats.
However, as a nutritionist and, most importantly, a mom, I know that treats with all that added sugar can turn south pretty quick. Kids bouncing off the walls? No, thank you. So, instead of buying Valentine’s treats full of added sugar, dyes and artificial flavors, I go on a mission to find simple, yet healthy Valentine’s Day treats.
Here are some of the treats we make in our home. Try them out, and feel free to adapt any ingredient to your taste or preference.
1. Heart-shaped fruit:
This one is easy as pie! No baking required. Simply cutting red fruit in heart shapes is all we need to get us in a festive mood. Kids love helping with this one too, so get your heart-shaped cookie cutters ready.
My favorite fruit to use is watermelon. Kiwis are fun, too!
Cut watermelon in slices from 1/2” to 1”
Lay flat and cut your little heart out using the cookie cutter!
Add blueberries or other fruit of your choice.
2. Dried strawberries:
This is also super easy, super healthy, and some even say they taste like Twizzlers! Simply buy fresh strawberries (organic if you can, since berries are some of the most heavily sprayed produce) and bake them in the oven for a few hours. The kiddos might get impatient waiting, but these little treats are worth the wait! Can’t go wrong with a simple treat that tastes like nature’s candy.
Buy organic strawberries & wash thoroughly
Cut off the tops in a V-shape so they resemble hearts.
Bake in the oven for 3 hours at 210 degrees F.
3. Chocolate Raspberry Truffles:
If you have a chocolate-lover in your house, this will not disappoint. Topped with sea salt, they are the perfect amount of sweet & salty. These are also a favorite at my house since my son and I are gluten-intolerant, and these treats can be made with coconut or almond flour. The dark chocolate provides antioxidants as well and the Medjool dates give it the right amount of sweetness.
There are a few more steps involved for this one, so checkout the full recipe on My Whole Foods.
4. Berry Ladybugs:
These make a great edible craft! You’ll need strawberries, blueberries, dark chocolate chips and a candy decorating bag. If your kids prefer milk chocolate, you can certainly switch out the dark chocolate for the milk chocolate, although typically milk chocolate will contain more sugar. But, since berries are already low in sugar and high in fiber, we’ll let it slide.
Remove the tops of the strawberries by cutting in a V-shape
Cut them lengthwise.
Melt chocolate chips according to instructions and decorate strawberries, using the blueberries as little ladybug heads.
For a step-by-step video, check out The Soccer Mom Blog’s video recipe.
5. Strawberry Mousse:
You only need three ingredients for this tasty treat! After you “whip” it up, top with fresh berries of choice and voila! A perfect Valentine’s treat.
One pound strawberries
1 1/2 cups coconut cream (or heavy cream if you prefer) and
2 tablespoons natural sweetener of choice. My favorites include coconut sugar, raw honey or maple syrup.
A great variation of this mousse is to add cacao powder to make it a Chocolate-Strawberry Mousse. For detailed instructions, check out the full recipe on Almost SuperMom’s Blog.
Of course, the most important step is to enjoy making these sweet treats with your family. And if you don’t get the hand-written love note (or the flowers), don’t worry— the chocolate truffles will make it all better!