Top 5 Valentine's treat alternatives

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner! Have you ever thought about how heartless it is for all the stores to put those adorable pink and red packages of sugary deliciousness right before your eyes shortly after setting your New Year’s resolution to eat healthier?

For you strong souls still clinging to your willpower, here are a few of our favorite Valentine’s treat alternatives to help you get through one of the most tempting sugar months of the year:

  1. Larabars – Lindsey Klyn’s favorite

larabarsThese bars are so tasty – you’d never guess they’re only made from a few ingredients, and healthy ingredients at that! They’re a great alternative to a fresh baked cookie or bar, and they’re easy to grab on the go. Lindsey’s favorite is the Peanut Butter Cookie; the only ingredients in it are dates, peanuts, and sea salt. Larabars come in tons of flavors, including options that are fruitier like apple pie or include chocolate like chocolate chip cookie dough.

You can purchase them at a variety of stores including Hy-Vee, Fareway, Walmart, Target, and Amazon. A box of five usually costs $5-$7, while an individual bar costs between $1.50-$2.00.

  1. Nice Cream – Kayla Landhuis’ favorite

Two frozen bananas + two Tbsps. peanut butter + 1 cup milk (almond milk works too) + your blender = nice cream! You’ll likely be surprised with how similar of a consistency this healthy alternative has to ice cream. Kayla likes to occasionally add a bit of cocoa powder to transform this delectable dish into chocolate nice cream. You can also try mixing up this yummy strawberry banana ice cream recipe if fruity ice cream is more up your alley:

  1. Bai Antioxidant Infusions – Rachel Johnson’s favorite

baiRachel loves Bai drinks (pronounced “bye”) because it’s a healthier alternative to pop or juice.  Bai has no artificial colors or preservatives, and each bottle contains only 2 grams of sugar and 10 calories! Bai, which means ‘white’ in Chinese, is made with white tea extract giving each bottle about 70mg of caffeine which will give you a small boost if you are dragging.

At $2 a bottle, they may seem pricy, but it’s no worse than buying a Starbucks coffee or a bottle of pop at a sporting event.  You can find Bai at your local grocery store. They can be found in the health food aisle at Hy-Vee or with the sporting drinks at Target. Rachel’s favorite flavors are Ipanema Pomegranate, which is a little tart, and she also likes the Brasilia Blueberry.  If you are looking for a sweeter taste, her husband’s favorite flavor is Molokai Coconut. Next time you’re in the store, grab one and see if it suits your taste.

  1. Fruit – Heather Pilcher’s favorite

It’s natural to think of sweets around Valentine’s Day, but don’t forget how sweetly satisfying fruit can be! Heather’s go to healthy treat is fruit; she especially loves strawberries. For something special for Valentine’s Day, buy some strawberries and drizzle a bit of melted chocolate on top. Now doesn’t that sound romantic?

  1. Lindt 85% Cocoa Bars – Matt Scotton’s favorite

lindtWho says you have to give up chocolate completely to be healthy? Dark chocolate has antioxidants that can improve your health and lower the risk of heart disease. Always look for the greater percent of cocoa and the fewest ingredients.

Matt’s favorite dark chocolate is Lindt 85% cocoa bars that can be found at Walgreens, Target, and Wal-Mart, among other places.  He loves them because they’re tasty, slightly sweet, and relatively healthy because of all the antioxidants. Snag yourself a bar for $2-$3.

While you try to maintain your resolutions for 2017, remember to give yourself grace when you slip up and let yourself splurge a little for special occasions like Valentine’s Day. After all, a healthy lifestyle is all about balance and letting yourself enjoy something special every once and again will likely make your healthy lifestyle more feasible to maintain long-term.