11 ways to find a connection beyond food

Food is one of the biggest ways we show love. From your mom’s enchiladas to your grandma’s snickerdoodles to your dad’s world-class chili, you’ve probably associated food with giving and receiving affection for as long as you can remember. Eating is also our primary social activity: parties are typically filled with food, we grab dinner and drinks with friends when we want to meet up, and have date nights with takeout at home.

There’s nothing wrong with cooking a comfort food recipe together or dining out to try the latest restaurant—these are cherished moments of quality time, and food is meant to be enjoyed. However, if your primary social activity is dining out or going to bars, this might get in the way of your Noomer’s healthy eating goals. 

We’re not telling you to stop eating out altogether or never get popcorn at the movies (what’s the fun in that?). But if you’re looking to mix up the typical pizza and a movie date night scenario, check out our list of fun activities that will create just as much bonding without food. 

  1. Sign up for a race (bike, jog, or walk!)

There are so many organized races available to join, and many of them support a good cause (check out Active.com for races near you). Commit to signing up for a race together, whether that’s a charity fun run or a longer 10K race. You don’t even have to run or jog if that’s not your thing—many have walking options, and there are even some cycling events if that’s what you’re into. It will give you both something to train for together and accomplish side by side, not to mention that the exercise will give you a mood boost. 

  1. Take a painting class

If you are intimidated by buying your own canvas and paints, tap into your artistic side with the help of a pro. Sign up for a local art class where you’ll be able to create something you and your partner can take home afterwards. Bonus points if this gets you out of your comfort zone! 

  1. Go for a scenic drive

Try being tourists in your own hometown by going for a leisurely drive to some of the more scenic routes in your area. Put on some chill music, an audiobook, or a podcast you both listen to and soak in your surroundings: you can find beauty in even the most routine drives you’re familiar with. 

  1. Check out a workout class together

Nowadays, you don’t need a gym membership to get in a good sweat. There are plenty of boutique fitness studios offering a wide variety of pop-in classes, from indoor cycling to Pilates to dance cardio. In a group setting, you’ll be able to cheer each other on and give encouraging high-fives while getting some feel-good endorphins through movement. See what’s available in your area, and call the studio about an intro rate—at some studios, your first class is free!

  1. Set up a game night 

Get competitive with a friendly game night to keep things fun. You can go old school with some board games like Scrabble and Connect Four, or check out a fun gaming app like Heads Up or What Would You Choose? Rather. Jackbox is also a popular gaming service you can stream on Apple TV, Playstation, XBox, Amazon Fire TV, and more with unique games that will keep you entertained for hours. 

  1. Take a yoga class

You can find a yoga class at a local studio, or fire up a laptop or tablet to stream any number of online yoga classes. It’s a great way to get your body moving and stretch your muscles while also centering your mind. Yoga has some serious mental health benefits, and you’ll both be in a good mood when you’re done. 

  1. Visit a museum

Not all outings need to involve food. Feed your eyes and your mind by checking out a local museum. You’ll get your steps in while browsing the galleries, and have plenty to discuss with your partner afterwards. 

  1. Book a couples massage 

If you’re looking to bond with a significant other, there’s nothing quite as relaxing and romantic as a couple’s massage. Instead of going out to a fancy dinner, put that money towards some serious self-care at a nice spa. Let your massage therapist work out your muscle tightness and relieve some stress; you’ll both end the session in a calmer state of mind.

  1. Take on a DIY or crafts project

Keep your hands busy with arts and crafts, whether that’s a home decor project or picking up a new skill like crocheting. You’ll have something tangible to take away from your time together, and crafting is also mentally meditative so you can relax and bond together. 

  1. Go bowling 

Bowling may be a leisure sport, but it’s still movement! Have fun with your family at the bowling alley for a more laid-back activity that still gets your body moving. Pro tip: bring your own healthy snacks so you’re not tempted by the pitchers of beer and greasy apps. 

  1. Sign up for rec leagues and team sports

Nothing says “bonding” like competing together in a team sport. Whether you’re super athletic or just looking for a new hobby, there are tons of rec leagues you can join, like golf, tennis, pickleball, softball, or kickball. You’ll get in some exercise and also meet other active people who can help support your goals.