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Valentines Day Gift Ideas

Create memories for the best valentines.
Create memories for the best valentines.

Two weeks before Valentines Day, I was doing a little shopping when I saw it. A box of chocolates so large, it wouldn't lay flat in a grocery cart. The heart-shaped box was filled with over ten pounds of chocolate candies. Beside it was a five-pound Hershey's Milk Chocolate Bar. Towering over them both was a 26-pound Gummy Bear. Welcome to the supersized world.

A sign on the shelf beside these caloric titans said, "The perfect gift for your Valentine's Sweetheart." Sure, who wouldn't want a box of chocolates with 26,268 calories, or a Gummy Bear that could be broken down into 450 servings?

Instead of dumping calorie bombs on your loved one, why not give a gift or plan an activity that creates lasting memories? Here are six ideas you can try.

Make a modern mixtape. In the 1970s and 80s, people would buy a blank cassette tape, fill it with carefully chosen songs and give it to someone they cared about. They were called mixtapes. It was a romantic way to share the music you enjoy with the person you love.

Instead of using a cassette, get a USB drive. Then go on a site like Amazon.com and buy the songs you want to share. Put them on the USB drive, write out a list of the music and put it together in a small gift box. Make an upbeat mix for runners, a romantic mix for those special times together or a lullaby mix to play as your loved one is relaxing and drifting off to sleep.

Cook a romantic dinner for two. Don't plan something big and fancy, make it simple and light. When you go out to eat, you have little control over the portion sizes, fat and sugar. When you make something at home, you can choose a dish that's both tasty and healthy. If it's a hit, make it a weekly date where you cook with your partner. You'll spend more quality time together and be able to prepare things that are good for you. I've tested and posted hundreds of healthy recipes free online at WeCookFit.com.

Plan an active date. Hit some golf balls at a driving range. Visit an indoor rock climbing wall. Meet some friends for tennis. Rent a kayak, rowboat or paddleboard. In the winter go sledding, ice skating or collect wood for a romantic fire. Couples who engage in physical activities together tend to be healthier and happier because they share common goals.

Put together a fruit basket. Pack it with 14 odd or unusual choices that you can sample together. Print or write out a small 3x5 card describing each item. Don't eat them all at once. Set aside a few minutes a night, over the course of a week and sample two things on each "date." It's a great way to romantically connect while also exploring healthy foods.

Give blood together. According to the American Red Cross, every two seconds someone in the United States needs blood. Show your loved one you care and make it a date. Potentially saving a life while you're at it is just a bonus.

Take a seasonal nature walk. Bring a camera and take pictures of your neighborhood that include the flowers, trees and bushes. Repeat the walk every couple of months and take repeated shots from the same vantage points, then display the pictures side-by-side. Document as trees change from bare in the winter, green in the spring, flowering in summer and golden during fall. It's fun trying to recreate the same shots and amazing how different things look over time.

As a personal trainer, you would think I would suggest a gift certificate for some sessions, but you'd be wrong. The same goes for a gym membership. Those kinds of gifts are easily misinterpreted. Your loved one may think it's a subtle way of saying, "You're fat. Use this to get into shape." Only get gifts like that if you've been asked for them.

What romantic thing will you plan?

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