February 13, 2020
Vegan Valentines: Sweets For Your Dairy-Free Sweetheart
Colorful sweetheart candiesSource: Pexels
Ah, Valentine’s Day. A day for cliche cards, campy rom-coms, roses, and chocolates… Or, at least, a vegan-friendly alternative to chocolate.
Believe it or not, it’s possible to make it through the holiday without resorting to a fruit arrangement – though, those are delicious, very much appreciated, and without a doubt vegan.
There are plenty of sweets free of animal products that you can find at your local grocer, drug store, or dollar store. And if you want to really wow your Valentine, there’s an array of organic, vegan-friendly delicacies available, too.
Valentines For Vegans
Crazy About You, But Even Crazier About Candy
A gummy bear pops upright atop a pile of gummy bearsSource: Pexels
Hard and gummy candies, like Jolly Ranchers and Sour Patch Kids are generally a safe bet. Airheads, Blowpops, Dum Dums, and Jujubees are also vegan-friendly, according to PETA’s “accidentally vegan” database.
Note: It’s easy to assume that if a product doesn’t contain dairy or eggs it’s vegan-friendly, but there are other ingredients to keep an eye out for, too:
- Beeswax – a naturally occurring wax produced by honeybees.
- Carmine – a red pigment derived from cochineal insects.
- Gelatin – created by boiling skin, bones, and connective tissues from animals.
- Honey – extracted from honeycombs within a honeybee hive.
- Shellac – a resin secreted from the bodies of shell insects.
If artificial dyes or high-fructose corn syrup are a concern, consider an organic-brand like Black Forest (gummy candy), SmashMallow (fancy-schmancy rice crispy treats and flavored marshmallow), or YumEarth (lollipops, hard candies, gummy bears, and licorice).
Nuts About You
A variety of unflavored nutsSource: Pexels
Nuts are a nutrient-dense snack packed with protein, unsaturated fats, fiber, vitamins, and minerals with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, says a 2018 Nutrients journal review.
Furthermore, prior research has demonstrated nuts’ ability to help with weight loss, lower blood pressure, improve heart health, and reduce symptoms of chronic illness.
Nothing says “I love and care about you” like giving a health-conscious treat. You could go for unflavored nuts, ones that are roasted, salted, or coated in cinnamon-sugar. If you strike gold, you may even find a candied nut that doesn’t contain any animal products.
Popcorn arranged in the shape of a heartSource: Pexels
Popcorn is another high-fiber, antioxidant, healthy snack, says a 2019 Antioxidants journal study. It’s salty, fun, and the perfect treat for a Valentine’s Day spent cuddled on the couch marathoning movies.
Again, you could opt for a plain, air-popped variety, or flavors like sea salt, cinnamon, spicy, candied. Just avoid anything with butter or caramel unless the product specifies it’s been made with vegan-alternatives to dairy.
Cuckoo For You, Cuckoo For Cocoa, too.
A stack of dark chocolate with sea salt next to two raspberriesSource: Pexels
It’s widely believed that dark chocolate is dairy-free, however, a 2017 US Food & Drug Administration study yielded results that say otherwise.
“FDA researchers found that of 94 dark chocolate bars tested, only six listed milk as an ingredient,” the study explains. “When testing the remaining 88 bars that did not list milk as an ingredient, [the] FDA found that 51 of them actually did contain milk.”
Even products that were labeled as “dairy-free,” lactose-free,” or “vegan” tested positive for milk.
As the consumer, you have a few options when it comes to chocolate:
- Read all of the ingredients, labels, and advisory warnings.
- Understand that dark chocolate may still contain traces of milk due to manufacturing and handling.
- Chalk it up to not worth the risk and avoid all types of chocolate like the plague.
- Search for chocolate made with vegan-alternatives to dairy, like almond milk.
Additional Vegan Valentine Ideas
- Home-made Vegan Dessert – Made with love, for your love. Even if you’re completely inexperienced when it comes to baking, there are plenty of tutorials online that can guide you through the process. Plus, if you bake a dessert from scratch, then you know it’s without a doubt vegan.
- DIY Fruit arrangement – You don’t have to drop $30 to $200 or more on a fruit arrangement when you could buy your own produce, slice it up, and put it on a stick for a fraction of the cost. Cookie-cutters aren’t just for cookies; you could use them to press shapes into melons or pineapple and it would speed up the process.
- Vegan Ice Cream or Fruit Popsicles – Baby, it’s cold outside, but Outshine popsicles have a fruity-punch that’s always refreshing.
Got a favorite vegan dessert we should add to this list? We’re all ears! Just contact us.
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