Grocery and box stores are ready to sell obscene amounts of candy and chocolates this Valentine’s Day. According to CNN, Consumers spend nearly $2 billion on flowers and $2 billon on candy each Valentine’s Day (1).
To be exact:
$1.6 billion – The amount people will spend on candy.
$1.9 billion – The amount people will spend on flowers.
Why not make this Valentine’s Day different?
Instead of indulging in typical Valentine’s Day sweets, why not make this year about healthy eating and developing good habits for your kids?
With two thirds of all adults in the U.S. now overweight or obese and one-third of all children overweight or obese, why don’t we start changing how we celebrate holidays?
If we don’t do something now, 1 in 3 people in the US will have Type 2 diabetes by 2050, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (3). Currently, 1 in 10 Americans have Type 2 diabetes. If you think this won’t happen to your child, don’t bet on it. Your child has a 33% chance of getting Type-2 Diabetes.
At this point, even the cannery in the coalmines has Type-2 Diabetes. We are going to need to make a change now.
We have entire aisles dedicated to the foods that are causing so many of our society’s chronic health problems. We get excited as the aisle changes from Christmas to Valentine’s Day candy. Each one of us needs to make a change in our own home.
Food culture in America seemingly glorifies overindulgence in foods that frankly are bad for us. It’s almost acrimonious to suggest not celebrating a national holiday with candies, cookies and chocolates. I’ve seen my friends’ faces when I’ve broached this subject. Even the mere suggestion of not giving candy to kids on a holiday brings up shocked expressions reminiscent of the Temple of Doom movie when the man tries to rip the child’s heart out. The horror!
Candy will not make or break your child’s fond memories of childhood. I repeat: candy, cookies and other sweets are not why your child will have fond memories of childhood. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t continue celebrating holidays, I’m just suggesting celebrating holidays differently.
Celebrate Valentine’s Day with fruits cut up in heart shapes using cookie cutters or fiber pancakes with heart-shaped strawberries inside or the Raspberry Nut Crumble recipe below.
Food is an opportunity to be social with your family and friends. Now, just make the food healthier and continue the celebratory nature of the meal.
Your child will look back at their childhood and remember all the shared moments together. But now, instead of your child being on fad diets as a young adult, always trying to lose 10-20 pounds, your child will more likely be a healthy weight, have low cholesterol and probably will not be pre-diabetic with metabolic syndrome.
Now, there’s a gift!
Why do we need to change how we celebrate holidays?
Children are eating toxic amounts of sugar and not necessarily just from dessert type foods (2).
Most foods targeted to children often have added sugar to achieve what the industry calls the “bliss point”. Food manufactures have figured out how to get to the right mix of salt, fat and sugar to make our brain desire these foods, even at the detriment of our own health. Valentine’s Day treats are no different. They just come in a red box with hearts adorn on it.
The foods richest in nutrients like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts and seeds need to be the new American holiday foods of choice. Why not give the gift of life-long healthy eating habits instead of a box of chocolates? Why not teach our kids that we want to celebrate our bodies by eating nutritious foods? What better way than to glorify these healthier foods on Valentine’s Day?
Let’s work to change food culture in America one holiday at a time? Who’s with me?
Don’t love your family with chocolates; instead love your family with healthy superfoods.
Raspberry Nut Crumble Recipe for Valentine’s Day
Yield: up to 8 servings
1 ½ cups of nuts (1/2 cup each of almonds, Brazil nuts and pecans)
6 -8 soft dried dates (my favorite madjool dates)
½ TSP cinnamon
½ cup regular water or coconut water
½ TSP vanilla, preferably alcohol free
Choose between Dairy and Non-Dairy Cream Sauce
Non-Dairy Cream Sauce
½ cup cashews, soaked 15-20 mins
2 TSP maple syrup
1 TSP fresh lemon juice
Dairy Cream Sauce
1 cup of heavy cream
2 TSP of maple syrup
1 TSP fresh lemon juice
¾ cup fresh raspberries per person, gently crushed
For the crumble: yield 1 1/2 cups crumble
Place the almonds, pecans, Brazil nuts in food processor until finely ground. Add cinnamon and dates and process until dates are mixed in. Set aside. Chill the crumble.
For the Vanilla Sauce (non-dairy)
Place cashews, water, lemon juice, vanilla and maple syrup in blender and blend until creamy and very smooth. Pour into creamer for serving. This cream keeps for up 2 days if chilled.
For the Vanilla Sauce (Dairy)
Or use heavy whipping cream, measure 1 ½ cups, pour in sauce pan, add 3 TBSP of maple syrup. Cook on moderate heat, stirring consistently so sauce doesn’t stick to the pan. You are looking for it to reduce by 1/3, about 15 minutes.
Crush the berries right before serving and spoon into individual dishes, top with two tablespoons or more of the crumble mixture, garnish with a couple fresh whole berries and drizzle with vanilla sauce. Enjoy!
Adapted from AlkalineSisters.com