Valentine’s Day is coming up soon! There are two distinct camps when it comes to celebrating this holiday. Many, like me, love this holiday and thinks it’s adorable! And there is the anti-Valentine’s Day camp who think it’s holiday created by the greeting card companies to take our money.
Somehow over the last few decades, we have turned our Holidays into Foodidays (Yep! I just invented that word). Meaning that whether it’s Christmas, Birthdays, St. Patrick’s or Valentines it has become inextricably linked to FOOD.
Before Christmas even passed, stores start receiving boxes and boxes of pink and red candies. I’m not sure why our expression of love on Valentine’s Day has become wrapped up in giving out artificial foods!
Making our holidays about giving sugar heavy treats sends the opposite message than what we are trying to say. What is actually coming in a box of Russell Stover’s chocolates are processed chemicals, causing damage to our gut bacteria, and sugar which can causes more illness than smoking.
Many of you might be rolling your eyes right now and saying “It’s just once a year”, or “They’re just kids”. But is it really only one day a year your kid eats sugar heavy treats? Most likely not.
Our culture has shifted dramatically. I remember stories from my Grandmother of maybe once a month, going to the corner store to get a Coke. The unfortunate truth is that once a year has turned into once a day for many and at least once a week for most. 50 years ago the average American ate approximately 4 pounds of sugar per year. NOW, we eat approximately 156 pounds per year as of 2015.
Our bodies were not designed by God to handle and process this amount of sugar. Excess sugar is just as toxic to the liver as alcohol causing many to develop alcoholic fatty liver disease even though they abstain from alcohol. Sugar is the most inflammatory thing you can put into your body and is not just the root cause of metabolic syndrome, but now scientists are calling Alzheimer’s Type 3 Diabetes.
Let’s break the cycle with this generation by making wise choices. Here are some of my favorite ideas to turn Valentines Foodidays back into a Holiday expressing our love for one another!
1. Cooking a healthy meal together. Keep it fun and don’t take it too seriously. Use it as a time to discover new foods and try unique recipes.
2. Study God’s word as a couple. Going hand in hand with keeping our bodies as a temple, make a conscious effort to start the habit this valentines day. You could even start with Song of Songs, a great book that focuses on biblical love and intimacy.
3. Make them a gift! I will never forget the year Ben took an old mirror, which had sentimental meaning for me after Katrina, and turned it into a jewelry holder. One year I got a jar with 365 things he loved about me with instructions to open one a day for a year. The choices are endless and you might have the supplies needed already at home.
4. Give them the gift of time. Block out a few hours to intentionally spend time with your Spouse. Whether it costs money such as going to dinner, movie or a concert. You could also choose something more inexpensive like a scenic walk or look into the free days offered at your local art museum.
1. Cook WITH them! Having kids in the kitchen can seem like a headache but I promise it is so rewarding. My granddaughter loves to make almond flour banana bread with us. Kids love getting involved! Having them help you shop and prepare a meal is an easy way to teach them about their food choices.
2. Get crafty. Pinterest is full of ideas that are simple an easy. A great substitute for the traditional candy gift.
3. Have a family date night. Get the whole crew together for a fun dinner out or a matinee movie. Or get your family active by going to a Trampoline Park or the skating rink.
4. Sugar-Free Gift Ideas: For older kids gift cards can be a huge hit. Whether a clothing store or even a gas gift card let’s them have some ownership in choosing the most appropriate gift. For the younger kids there a ton of heart-themed gift options. Stuffed animals, valentine socks, crazy heart leggings, or earrings. You can even find some great choices in the Dollar Spot!
5. Build something together. No matter your gender, your kid will love this. Make a woodworking project. There are great kits available at most craft stores. Also many Home Improvement stores offer weekend classes to make and take an item for yourself!
I’ve barely hit the tip of the iceberg with healthy ways to say “I LOVE YOU”! When my husband writes me a love note or makes me something it expresses affection deeper than an expensive gift or a heart shaped box of candies. What are some of your favorite Valentine’s alternatives?