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Five Sweet Chocolate Alternatives for Your Valentine

 A card, a dozen roses and a box of chocolates: it must be Valentine’s Day.

But this year, why not think outside of the chocolate box? Instead of giving candy, show your sweetheart that you love them with one of these fun, healthful activities that you can enjoy together.

1. Cook up a heart-healthy feast

Cooking together is fun, and a homemade feast is definitely better for both your waistline and your wallet. The heart-healthy recipes provided by the Heart and Stroke Foundation provide lots of options for indulgent but healthful menus. Even better, some foods that are thought to be aphrodisiacs also have health benefits – figs, for example, are chock full of antioxidants, and oysters are a great source of zinc.

All you need to do now is light a few candles and turn on some of your favourite music and have yourself a romantic, cost-effective and healthy date night.

2. Get a couple’s massage

Massage is known for promoting relaxation and a sense of well-being. If you’d like to take a more hands-on approach, sign up for a couple’s massage course for a gift that keeps on giving long after Valentine’s Day is over. Keep it simple and more intimate by taking turns with your partner and giving each other a massage at home. You don’t need to be “expert-trained” – you just need some lotion, candles and the right attitude!

3. Head outside

Bundle up – February is the perfect time to take advantage of some of Nova Scotia’s amazing winter activities. Whether you prefer skiing, skating or snow-shoeing – or even winter surfing! – there are lots of opportunities to get your beloved’s heart pumping a little faster. Head to the Emera Oval, a neighbourhood pond, local trail or check out this guide to free snowshoe rentals in Nova Scotia.

4. Make something

Give the gift of new synaptic connections – learning a new craft is a great brain booster, and working with your hands can be an excellent way to relax. If you’re looking for something a little more romantic than knitting, consider a pottery date night at the Nova Scotia Centre for Craft or head to downtown Halifax and attend Paint Nite – cocktails and painting guided by a professional artist and host at one of the city’s happening restaurant or bars. There’s no experience necessary and we’ll provide all the supplies, so you don’t have to worry about a thing (except having a great time!.

5. Have a (HE)Art Attack – see what we did there?

Visit a local art gallery and feast your eyes on scenes of love through the ages. Perhaps you’ll indulge in a post-gallery glass of red wine – it’s full of heart-healthy antioxidants.

Of course, some occasions just call for chocolate, and the right kind of chocolate, in moderation, isn’t unreasonable on this special occasion. For best results, give your loved one a small amount of high-quality dark chocolate to savour – you might both reap the rewards.

Over to you — What’s your favourite chocolate-free way to celebrate Valentine’s Day? Share your ideas in the comments below!