I have been single, engaged (twice), married, and divorced (AKA single again), so I have experienced all kinds of dates in all kinds of different stages of my life. My dating experiences have been some of the most fun and exciting escapades in my life, and have created some hilarious memories (and boy, have I got some doozies – ask me about the time I had a first date walking around a park in the desert in triple digit heat!).
I’ve been taken on a sunset dinner cruise, to a floating lantern festival in the middle of the Mojave desert, and hiking through the Rocky Mountains, but I’ve also splurged on big meals at restaurants with fancy drinks, skipped workouts, ordered loads of decadent desserts, gone out for way too much ice cream, filled up on buttered popcorn at movies, and eaten way too many of my favorite chocolates (hello, dark chocolate salted caramels!).
As fun (and delicious) as dating can be, it can also be terrible for your weight loss journey if you let it.
But it doesn’t have to be that way. Dating can also be the best thing ever for your weight loss journey! That handsome man can be the one to motivate, inspire and encourage you the most in your healthy lifestyle! Romance can be so much more creative than just dinner and a movie. I have 25 healthy date ideas for you to keep those sparks flying without adding extra pounds.
Future significant other, I hope you’re taking notes!
1. Go on a picnic.
Even if you are trying to avoid excess calories, you can still involve food on your dates (as you well should)! Just try lightening up the normal fare. Instead of fried chicken and potato salad, try chicken pesto sandwiches, mango jicama quinoa salad, fruit infused water or sun tea in mason jars, and some chocolate covered strawberries for dessert. Find a spot in the shade, fly a kite, and look for shapes in the clouds (how sweet was that part of the love story in Disney’s UP?).
2. Take a cooking class together.
It’s a lost art to be able to whip out handmade pizza or pasta from scratch these days. Cooking alongside one other can be fun, romantic, and delicious! Homemade food is almost always healthier than a restaurant meal, and when a man can cook, it majorly boosts his attractiveness. Just sayin’.
3. See a comedian.
Laughing boosts your calorie burn by 20% and you’ll have tons of material for inside jokes afterward! Oh, how I love a good inside joke.
4. Take a tour.
Find a nearby place like a vineyard, a mine, or a tea factory that offers tours. Learn, walk, and discover local hidden gems (bonus points if there is healthy food involved! Negative points if it’s something historical, but that’s just me.).
5. Go to a pick-your-own produce farm.
Find a place nearby and hold hands as you stroll up and down rows of trees and plants to pick your own peaches, blueberries, apples, pumpkins, or green beans. Combine the food you pick with date idea number two for a winning combination!
6. Take dancing lessons.
Look no further for an excuse to move in a little closer to your partner (just try to avoid stepping on their feet)! Burn some calories shaking your groove thing and think about how much more fun weddings will be now that you two can throw down some waltz, swing, and salsa moves! My aunt and uncle always pull out their ballroom dance moves at family weddings, and they are oh-so-sweet.
7. Go on a hike.
Find a picturesque destination to aim for (a quick Google search can help you track down the best ones in your area). Stop to smell the wildflowers, sit by a waterfall, or dip your feet into a creek. Nature takes care of the romantic atmosphere for you.
8. Go bowling.
You not only get to wear super cool shoes, but you get to bring out your playfully competitive side. I’m not very competitive, so my trash talk is a little weak, but it’s still good for some good laughs!
9. Horseback riding.
Take the reins and hit the happy trails. It’s not only a great isometric exercise for your core, but come on, riding off together into the sunset? That’s the stuff movies are made of!
10. Train for and run a 5k together.
It’s always more fun to work toward a goal with someone else by your side, and crossing that finish line together is a beautiful thing. Bonus points if it’s a super fun race like a Color Run or a UV Splash Dash!
11. Go ice skating, sledding, or snowshoeing.
Even in the winter months, you can get outside and have fun. Throw in a snow angel or two and maybe an impromptu snowball fight! And it gives you the perfect excuse to snuggle up on the couch in front of the fireplace afterward!
12. Go to a theme park.
This is a great way to learn more about each other, so pay attention to the details. Is he a thrill seeker who loves rollercoasters and tilt-a-whirls? Maybe she’s a romantic that enjoys the slower pace of a ferris wheel (yeah, that would be me).
13. Play frisbee golf.
Head to a nearby park and toss a frisbee around for a few hours while you stroll through the grass, trees, and lakes. Pair it with a picnic and you’ve got yourself a pretty great date day!
14. Go to a rock climbing wall.
It’s strength training mixed with the perfect place to cheer each other on and start building those core relationship values like teamwork and trust – conquer fears while relying on each other! (Side note – the picture is of my best friend and her husband, who are one of the most adorable and fit couples of all time!)
15. Go for a bike ride.
See the city together. Go on an adventure. Take plenty of water and plan fun stops along the way. Bonus points if you get a bicycle built for two!
16. Go star gazing.
Grab a blanket, some hot tea, and a couple of sweatshirts, and drive to a place that isn’t lit by street lights. Lay back and enjoy nature’s dazzling tapestry of diamonds in the sky. Look for constellations and falling stars. This one instantly melts my heart and turns me to mush!
17. Take the dog for a walk.
It sounds like such an ordinary thing, but there’s something so sweet about sharing that time together outside and talking about each others’ days away from distraction (put that phone on silent!). And if you find a girl who loves her dog (how do I love him? Let me count the ways…), then this is a surefire way to her heart.
18. Play miniature golf.
It’s a relaxed way to get to know each other, giving you plenty of opportunities for people-watching and playful banter. Another opportunity to use my wicked trash talk – “I am so going to strategically bounce my golf ball off of that windmill and through the tunnel better than you!” *drops the
mic golf club*
19. Go to the zoo (or a museum, aquarium, or botanical garden).
Get your steps in while you wander through the signs and exhibits, giving you plenty of conversational material as you ooo and ahh at the adorable wildlife along the way. Take me to the moose exhibit!
20. Start a DIY project together.
Build something, paint something, or craft something – it’s a date that’s also productive! See what each others’ strengths and weaknesses are along the way and divvy up the project responsibilities accordingly (I am excellent at reading and following directions, but you probably shouldn’t hand me any power tools). You never know when you’ll find a new hobby that you love!
21. Volunteer together.
Maybe you help build a house with Habitat for Humanity, volunteer at the food bank, or walk dogs at the humane society together. It’s good for your body, your soul, and you’re giving back.
22. Find a local event.
Maybe there is a floating lantern festival nearby (one of the most magical moments of my life!) or a concert series in the park. Check Groupon or Living Social for discounted rates on nearby events.
23. Visit the farmer’s market.
Taste test your way around the local produce and try new foods. Pick up the ingredients to make dinner together later!
24. Go seasonal.
Is is close to Halloween? Carve a pumpkin together or visit a corn maze. Near Christmas? Get outside and build a snowman. Easter? Have an egg dying contest!
25. Go on a scavenger hunt.
This one takes a little bit of planning, but can be such a blast. It’s kind of like a bigger scale version of I Spy. Set out together for a night on the town to find someone wearing brown shoes, a sculpture, a water fountain, a “now hiring” sign, or a specific book in a bookstore – get creative!
Dating is a forever kind of thing, whether you’re just meeting that someone special or you’ve been married for decades. No matter where you are on that road, pick something new and get out there and enjoy each other in fun, new, and good-for-you ways!