When Valentine’s Day rolls around, tradition holds that a box of chocolates should be given as a token of one’s love and affection. But if your chosen sweetheart has food allergies, that adorable gesture can actually have ill effects. Whether you spent a lot on artisanal hand-crafted chocolates or picked up a heart-shaped box at the drugstore, both boxes of chocolates likely contain all the ingredients on a list of common food allergens. If your sweetheart has sucrose (table sugar) or lactose (milk sugar) intolerance, the results may not be deadly, but they will likely spend a lot of time in the bathroom thanks to the cramping, bloating, gas and possible diarrhea as a result of the food intolerance. Before you grab any old food to gift your loved one on Valentine’s Day, consider this, most boxes of chocolates hold multiple food allergens and can also cause digestive issues for those with food intolerances. Instead, consider these alternatives to chocolates and other sweets.
A box of chocolates likely contains tree nuts, peanuts, soy, milk, eggs and wheat. Even if these are not explicitly listed on the label, there can still be a chance of exposure due to manufacturing practices.
Conversation hearts are an affordable way to say I love you without much risk of allergens other than sugar.
Some careful research and planning ahead can lead you to find a box of chocolates from a chocolatier that are dairy-free, gluten-free, vegan and safe for multiple food allergies. If you are on the cautious side, then you should probably skip chocolates and candies altogether.
Food can be difficult, but the Snack Safely Safe Snack Guide can help you find treats that are suitable for the Valentine in your life with a food allergy or food intolerance. You should always double-check ingredients and manufacturer guidelines because products can change.
Instead of food gifts for Valentine’s Day, jewelry and homemade crafts are always welcome. There are many inexpensive ideas on Pinterest (just search under Valentine’s Day DIY gift ideas). Look for sales and deals around this time to find affordable presents everywhere from Etsy to department stores. Clothing featuring hearts or traditional Valentine’s Day colors are also good alternatives to a box of sweets that could trigger a reaction.
Making your own Valentine in the form of framing a romantic poem or writing one yourself is another way to tell a special someone that you care.