Valentine’s Day: A Family Meal Occasion

by Katie Goodman | February 12, 2013 at 4:46 pm | comments

Valentine’s Day is often portrayed as a romantic holiday exclusively for couples. Others view the occasion as a retail holiday that doesn’t hold any true meaning. But fear not – neither one of these scenarios has to play out in your home. In fact, I think Valentine’s Day is the perfect opportunity to express love and gratitude to everyone in your family! With a little thought and creativity, you can create meaning for Valentine’s Day with your family and show them exactly how much you care.

As a Together CountsTM program ambassador, I often express love for my family through mealtime. Whether it is making someone’s favorite recipe for dinner, getting up a little bit earlier to prepare a breakfast on a school day rather than serving oatmeal or cereal, or preparing a surprise dessert, I see the joy that it brings to my family when I do these special things. I enjoy taking the time to do these simple actions that express my love for them.

Here are some great Valentine’s themed meal ideas to help you create a celebration that is both meaningful and memorable for your family.

Breakfast Time Love

I love this idea for sharing 10 things that you love about each family member. This is a great way to get the family talking and encourage sibling participation and expressions of love to one another. Rather than mom filling out all 10 spots for everyone’s list, encourage all family members to contribute a few items on the cards.

Not only is it a great way to start the day, it also offers heartfelt expressions of love that we can refer back to often.

Then kick off the morning with one of these tasty recipes:


With kids in school, it’s not always easy to connect with them during lunch. However, there are things you can do on this special day to make them feel special as well. Kids love finding little personal notes in their lunchbox at school. If kids don’t pack a lunch from home, try sneaking a treat into their backpack or locker. I remember my dad sneaking flowers and chocolates into my locker at school during junior high. I don’t know how he did it, but it was such a sweet surprise.

Need some inspiration for your packed lunch? Here are a few fun Valentine’s Day lunchbox ideas:

Dinner Ideas

Dinner is typically the best time on Valentine’s Day to share a meaningful meal with your family. I like to feature red foods at dinner on Valentine’s Day to make the meal a bit more festive. Tomato or red pepper based recipes are great for that. And if you serve a side dish, you can arrange it in a heart shape on the plate or cut it out with a heart cookie cutter.

Dessert Ideas

I like to end the day with a little gift and something tasty for everyone to eat. I’ll either make something special from scratch or give the kids a handful of their favorite bite sized candy bars. This year I’ve purchased them each a new book, a card from me and some cute Valentine’s Day stickers. We also love enjoying some of our favorite red sweets as a holiday treat. Here are a few of our favorite Valentine’s Day dessert recipes that I know your family will love.

After dinner, when all of our tummies are filled, we like to get out and do something fun with each other. Whether it’s taking a walk around the block and talking or tossing or kicking a ball in the yard, we look forward to our time together as a family to show our love for each other on this special holiday.

How do you make Valentine’s Day a day that is special for the whole family? Do you have any family traditions?

For more special family ideas for Valentine’s Day take a look at these additional Together CountsTM Program resources:

Katie’s lifelong interest in food has shown her that part of the goodness in life is enjoying delicious food with friends and family. Katie Goodman is the cook, recipe developer, and photographer behind GoodLife Eats where she dishes on food, books, travel and style. You can also find Katie on Twitter and Facebook.