28 Tips to Having a Heart-Healthy Valentine's Day

| Women's Health

Maybe your lover, your child or your mother knows how to tug at your heartstrings. Or maybe they all do! Valentine's Day is all about showing love and appreciation toward your loved ones, but sometimes we forget what really makes the fun holiday possible: Our hearts. Other than being the most vital organ in our bodies, hearts have the ability to break, fall, skip, soar, and most importantly, love. Keeping your heart healthy this Valentine's Day is just as important as any other V-Day aspect. Read on for some heart-healthy Valentine's tips from the American Heart Association.

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Rather than tempting your beloved with chocolates, consider a gift that has more permanence. Search for a poem that describes your feelings and write it on beautiful paper for a handmade Valentine.

>> Read more: 25 Unique Gifts for Valentine's Day

Quality time is one of the most meaningful gifts. Bundle up and plan an active outing such as sledding, ice skating, gathering wood for a fire, or if you’re feeling adventurous, visit an indoor rock wall.

If your children are having a Valentine’s Day party at their school or daycare, instead of sending candies, consider mini-boxes of raisins, mini-bags of pretzels, pencils or stickers as tokens of their friendly affection. Click here for some healthy Valentine's Day treats that your kids can take to school!

Take a date to a local cooking class to practice your skills or learn a new technique. Cooking at home is an excellent way to control the quality and amounts of what you eat.

Prepare a romantic candlelit dinner at home using some of these heart-healthy foods.

valentine's day heart with candles and two glasses of sparkling champagne

If you go to a restaurant to celebrate, check out these heart-healthy tips for dining out.

Give to one another by giving back. Ask a date to volunteer with you at a local charity. Giving back is a healthy habit that will boost your mood and beat stress.

Visit www.ShopHeart.org for gift ideas that benefit the American Heart Association.

Use this day as an opportunity to tell your loved one how you feel about him or her, and share ways that you can support each other’s health and wellness. Get started by taking the My Life Check Assessment tool.

Spice it up: Try cooking at home with healthier seasonings and avoid prepackaged mixes that may contain a lot of salt. Instead, add some spice with some fresh hot peppers. Remove the membrane and seeds first, then finely chop them up. A little goes a long way.

>> Recipe: Roasted Red Pepper & Argula Whole Wheat Pizza

Still craving something sweet? Send a fruit basket to your loved one that has natural sugar as well as healthy nutrients instead of sending sweets with added sugars.

sugar-free chocolate orange cake
(Photo: Sweet as Honey)

>> Read more: Sugar-Free Treats for Valentine's Day

Sharing is caring: If you do go out for a romantic dinner date, order one entrée to share. Many restaurant servings are enough for two – splitting will keep you from overdoing it.

Don’t forget to love Fido, too! Give your pet a Valentine and remember to walk or exercise them daily – getting active will benefit your health and your bond with your pets.

Take it slow: If you were gifted a luxurious box of chocolates from your sweetie, stick it in the fridge or freezer and enjoy in moderation over several weeks.

Hungry for some more heart-healthy V-Day tips? Click here to read the original story from the American Heart Association.