Healthy Hearts for Valentine’s Day Sweethearts

Most Valentine’s Day activities revolve around expensive restaurants, ample chocolates, and piles of sugary candy. This year, why not stick to those health-conscious January resolutions and aim for a healthier Valentine’s Day? Here are six healthier alternatives to the usual Valentine fare from across the great Tar Heel State.

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Get Outdoors

Chimney Rock Park in Chimney Rock, NC, is offering reduced prices for both children and adult tickets, since their elevator to the top is currently closed for repairs. The hike up gives you a view with every step, and exercise is a heart-healthy activity perfect for any Valentine. According to past Valentine’s Day Chimney Rock promo, the climb to the top can be an intimate one, with “quite a few proposals in the Park over the years; hint, hint!” among the views of the Smokey Mountains. Tickets can be found online or at the park.

What’s better than a handful of flowers for your sweetheart? A whole garden! The Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden in Belmont, NC, is 380 acres of gardens, fountains, nature trails, and a conservatory bursting with tropical plants and orchids. Take a walk through the warm conservatory or enjoy a brisk February jaunt outdoors. If you still desire some flowers on your kitchen table for Valentine’s, the garden is holding an orchid sale on Feb. 16. Take home a plant that lasts for more than a week while supporting the garden.

A Little Night Music

Instead of hitting the movie theater for a large bucket of popcorn on your big date night, skip the salty snacks and try some brain food. Listening to classical and concert music improves brain function, according to Science Daily, and skipping the junk food is always a healthy choice.

The North Carolina Symphony is performing the music of My Fair Lady in both Raleigh, NC, and Fayetteville, NC, Feb. 16 – 17. According to their site, the event offers “a timeless love story performed in a concert setting. Emmy winner Peter Scolari and Broadway star Elena Shaddow lead the cast, as the Symphony plays the lush symphonic score.” Tickets can be found here.

The Charlotte Symphony brings classical music to Charlotte, NC, on Feb. 16 with Project Trio, a cellist, bassist, and flutist offering a new high-energy take on classical chamber music. This includes beatboxing while fluting, something you don’t see every day. Tickets for the event are found here.

Sweet Treat Alternatives

WNCN CBS North Carolina has a list of 5 Ways to Be Sweet and Healthy on Valentine's Day, with tips for both adults and kids, such as this piece of advice: “Fruit for dessert. Fresh fruit dipped in yogurt, fruit ice and sherbet are healthy alternatives to more traditional creamy and sugary desserts.” Take a tip from the pros, and focus on ways to reduce the candy this year.

Skip the restaurant this Valentine’s and make a healthy meal at home. You control what you eat, and know exactly what’s in your meal. The act of cooking with your partner can be an incredible bonding experience, and one that does not require anything more than a kitchen, some ingredients, and time spent together. Healthy Cooking Classes are offered by the Cabarrus Health Alliance in Kannapolis, NC. Their Wellness Kitchen offers a variety of recipes and classes focused on different courses and foods. On Saturday, Feb. 17, the $10 class is going red for heart health, since February is American Heart Month. The class session will “focus on the health benefits of naturally red-pigmented foods that will help you maximize the vitamin and mineral nutritional properties, while also promoting heart health.”

Can’t make it to Kannapolis? We’ve got you covered. Previous Cooking Class Recipes are all online, ready for you and your partner to try at home. Put on some music and an apron, and get cooking.

What are your healthy Valentine’s Day plans? Let us know in the comments, or share your healthy choices on our Facebook.

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