Decadence isn’t the only way to show affection for your Valentine. This year, try being creative and give something from the heart, with your loved one’s heart in mind. Since it’s national heart health month, too, try one of these heart-healthy gifts instead of chocolate, rich food and wine.

  1. Express yourself – either in the written word or performance. Try finding a classic poem that speaks to your heart. Print it on fancy paper and frame it in an ornate frame. Or pick up your guitar and videotape yourself singing a song – original or a cover – to your love.
  2. Get moving. Bundle up and head outdoors for some ice skating, sledding, snow shoeing through the countryside, or just gathering wood for a cozy fire. If you’d rather stay inside, try something new like the rock gym or a spin class together.
  3. Turn up the heat – in the kitchen, that is. Sign up for a local cooking class to perfect your technique together or just gather the ingredients for a delicious yet healthy meal and whip it up together.
  4. Indulge your palate. Give your loved one the gift of fresh seafood. Just one or two servings of seafood a week can reduce the risk of death from heart disease by 36 percent. Pick up some fresh lobsters, clams, mussels, shrimp, or salmon and enjoy the decadence.
  5. Relax. Book a couple’s massage so you can both relax and let go of the stress that builds up throughout the week. Lowering stress levels is great for your heart health. Better yet, pick up some scented massage oils so you can give each other a massage whenever it’s needed.
  6. Don’t forget the feet! Our feet take a beating and can be the source of pain and stress. Create a package with a foot spa, aloe-infused socks, scented salts for soaking, and a foot massager.
  7. Sink into a book. Indulge your loved one’s passion for reading with a book or two and the promise of uninterrupted time for enjoying them. Make sure you write a loving note on the inside cover to remind the recipient of your love.
  8. Sweets from the south. While the snow and cold are gripping much of the United States, send your Valentine a box of Florida sunshine. You can choose from fresh oranges, grapefruits, honeybells and other juicy fruits.
  9. Sign up to help. Giving back to a cause or community group you support is a great stress reliever and loving activity for you and your family. Volunteer your time to help someone else. It’s bound to boost your mood.
  10. Basket of love. In a pretty basket, gather together an assortment of healthy foods and exercise tools instead of chocolates and wine. Tuck in nuts, which are full of protein and healthy oils; smoothie mixes; a shake cup; fresh fruit; a water diffusing bottle; high-fiber muffins; a yoga mat; and hand weights.

Want to learn more about how to live a heart healthy lifestyle?
Check out this blog post “How is Your Heart Ticking?”