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Valentine’s Cards Without Candy

I get really tired of the sugar fest that is Valentine’s Day, the Hallmark holiday co-opted by the sugar and flower industries. Why can’t Valentine’s Day cards exchanged at school be candy-free? We know our kids don’t need more sugar…but “it’s a special occasion,” is the excuse, so we give them lots.

#facepalm

Sometimes I volunteer to plan the party, just so I can make sure the Valentine’s Day treats the kids are being served at school are healthy (and they can chow on their sugary junk at home).

Candy Free Valentines Day

Today I’m pumped to share some candy-free ideas to include with Valentine’s Day cards at school, for those of you who like to give kids a little treat but abhor the thought of contributing to the sugar overload. And actually, even if you’re a fan of candy, these are too cute – keep reading. 😉

For quite a few years, my kids just made handmade cards for Valentine’s Day – counter cultural already because everyone buys them and usually the parents just write the kids’ names. I want my kids to be involved, to care, and to have a little purposeful craft and writing time. So. Homemade, ugly cards that were hearts cut out of construction paper (by the children). They were awesome.

My kids started asking to include a treat though, and I thought we came up with a really cute idea our first time around. (And I didn’t even use Pinterest, gasp!) 😉

Healthy Valentine's Day card gifts

It’s not the most frugal option, I’ll admit – we bought these pouches (found on Amazon) without any sugar at Costco, but they were still probably almost 50 cents a kid. But they were cute! And, ha, we still cut out construction paper. #oldschool

Fun “Fruity” Valentine’s Notes

Candy Free Valentines Day

This year we brainstormed as many other cute phrases we could put on actual healthy items as possible, and my amazing team worked up some printables, totally free because we love you – and we can show that without sugar or candy! 😉

Candy Free Valentines Day

Simply going thru the produce section inspires so many fun and healthy Valentine treat ideas. Along with a cute note these will quickly become your kids’ favorite.

  • Will you be my Clementine?
  • Hi there, Kiwi Pie!
  • Here’s a Cutie for the cutie (with a Clementine)
  • I’m blueberry without you
Candy Free Valentines Day
  • I’m bananas for you, Valentine
  • Orange you going to kiss me?
  • Slip into my arms, Valentine (with a banana)
  • Cantaloupe tonight, dear, let’s wait for Valentine’s Day.
  • You’re awfully a-peel-ing to me, Valentine (with a banana or string cheese or orange…)
Candy Free Valentines Day
  • Let’s “stick” together, Valentine! (with a cheese stick)
  • I’d never “string” you along, Valentine! (with string cheese)
  • Have a “berry” happy Valentine’s Day! (with any berries or fruit strips)
  • I’m “flat”tered by you, Valentine! (with a fruit strip)
  • You look “sharp” to me! (with a pencil)
  • and our original “Squeeze Me, Valentine” with the pouches
Candy Free Valentines Day

We made them “color-your-own” because I still stand behind the idea that kids should be involved – plus I know my own color ink is always missing a color or acting weird, and I empathize with busy mamas. 😉

Ready to print these tags?

Valentines Printable Cards

Get The Printable Tags

I’ll send you a whole bunch of options, not to overwhelm you, but to give you and your kids choices. Whatever candy free treat you choose, you’ll be able to print a whole page of matching tags!

Pin it:

Candy Free Valentines Day


Big thanks for inspiration goes to:

If you want a super frugal, DIY no-food-at-all option, my son chose this mustache idea and we DIY’d the mustache straws.

Valentine’s Day Breakfast Surprise

Don’t forget to try a heart-shaped breakfast! The kids will be so excited to see this fun breakfast. Or get your kids in the kitchen and let them help with the fun!

Sweetheart Breakfast - Heart-Shaped Food for Valentine's Day

Fun and Easy Valentine’s Day Party Ideas

If you happen to have the joy of planning a party for your child’s class, please be inspired by my healthy Valentine’s Day party treats and games.

Healthy Valentines Day Party Treats 3

RELATED: Due to allergies most schools have a “no homemade” rule. Don’t feel trapped into bringing over processed treats, there are tons of healthy real food options in stores now: Healthy School Treats when you Can’t Make Homemade.

Enjoy the week, and Happy Valentine’s Day!

What Valentine’s Day card ideas do you have to share?
Unless otherwise credited, photos are owned by the author or used with a license from Canva or Deposit Photos.

20 thoughts on “Valentine’s Cards Without Candy”

  1. My daughter loves the “blueberry without you one”, but I can’t think of what to attach it to… Any ideas? Thanks!

  2. I tried to print the printable that you had for the non-candy valentine… after giving my name and email it continually took me to an error page.

    1. Laura Snell @ Kitchen Stewardship

      Hi Jen, So sorry about this error! I’ll email you the file right away so you’ll have access to it.

  3. I see that this is a pretty old post; I’m not sure how I missed it the first time around (I’m pretty sure I subscribed to your blog back then). I will admit that I often find many of your posts to be pretty extreme, particularly the one that likens giving a child a cupcake to giving them a cigarette. But this post is spot-on. When I was a kid, we just exchanged Valentine’s cards. Period. No candy, no tokens, nothing. We had classroom parties that had plenty of sugar (cupcakes, brownies, cookies, ice cream), so candy would have been over the top. Now I have a child with allergies to nuts, eggs and dairy, so Valentine’s Day becomes yet another holiday that I have to go through his stash before he accidentally eats something that could kill him. Enough!

  4. I wasn’t able to open this file format on my Mac. Is there a particular application you can suggest to unzip it on a Mac?

    1. Laura Snell @ Kitchen Stewardship

      Hi Chloe, so sorry about this error! The link is fixed now, but I’ll email you the file right away so you’ll have access to it.

  5. We’re doing simple origami hearts which is easier for my preschooler to do than drawing or coloring. Easy to fold options are all over the internet. They look good and can add stickers. He will give stickers as gifts.

  6. I used to buy the cinnamon applesauce pouches with the Apple and cinnamon as the only ingredients. But when they changed the packaging they added Apple juice concentrate and Apple concentrate to the ingredients, which means they’re adding sugar. That is one common misconception that Apple juice concentrate is fruit juice. From what I have read, it does not even resemble juice or anything you would have in the kitchen. The applesauce pouches with concentrate have 2 g more of sugar in them then the old recipe. This is also why I stopped buying stretch Island fruit leathers. Many of my friends believe there is no sugar added, but it is just one more trick by the food industry. Probably still a better option than candy for Valentine’s Day though. 🙂

      1. Robert Lustig is the doctor that I first heard this information from. I heard him explaining it on a radio program and then I checked out his book “Fat Chance”from the library. He has an e-book on Amazon called Sugar has 56 names: a shopper’s guide.”

  7. The applesauce pouches are a fantastic idea! I suggested it to my kindergartener. At first, she wanted to give candy to everyone, but I pointed out that there is one girl who has a lot of allergies and we don’t know what candy she could eat. Then we talked about how it’s better to give everyone the same kind of treat if we are able to (rather than candy to everyone and applesauce to the allergic). So, now I need to go buy more applesauce pouches – my daughter even made a request for which flavor to get (cinnamon, her favorite).

  8. Wish I would have come across these ideas before I bought tattoo valentines. I prefer homemade and creative things, but was also looking for candy free.

  9. Margaret via Facebook

    My daughter is doing this one – went and got supplies today: http://www.designmom.com/2009/02/ralphs-madlib-valentines/

  10. That is so.darn.cute Bailey Helton-Torre!!! And good for your school Robyn Whitlock, that’s the best way to go. I just saw one with Mad Libs pages rolled up like a secret treasure note and I LOVED it!

  11. Robyn via Facebook

    Target has lots of non-candy valentine options that are fun. Puzzles, crafts, jokes, tattoos. Our school doesn’t allow food gifts of any kind. Lots of pencils and stickers, which is fun!

  12. Bailey via Facebook

    We are planting wild flowers in small red pails with a wonderful love and nature quote attatched for my daughter’s classmates.

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