07 feb 2015 care 682x4081

CARE

Healthy Valentine's Day treats for kids (and parents, too!)

Creating healthy treats that appeal to kids can be challenging, especially around holidays and at children's parties. Valentine's Day is, of course, a time when candy and cards are exchanged and children's parties appeal to the sweet tooth in all of us.

So, how do we encourage our kids to snack healthy for this particular holiday?

For the cards exchanged at school, try attaching a non-food item, such as fun stickers, fake tattoos, pencils or party favors. If the kids insist on edible items, try decorating boxes of raisins, bags of popcorn or bags of pretzels.

If the children are allowed to exchange homemade items, then stick or heart shaped pretzels with the tips dipped in dark chocolate and sprinkles applied, small bags of granola with a few red M&M's added or nutritious heart-shaped cookies with some pink or red frosting hearts or words scripted on them can be good alternatives.

Often Valentine's parties require a beverage. Creating a "love potion" smoothie with yogurt, berries and honey or vanilla to taste can be a good way to go.  Also, punch with your favorite healthy red juice (cherry, cranberry, etc.) and seltzer water can make a nice beverage. Just add frozen pink lemonade ice cubes to chill it down.

Plates of fruit dipped in dark chocolate (pineapple wedges, strawberries, etc.) can serve as a treat and even carrots and cucumbers dipped in ranch dressing can seem like a treat if they are cut in the shape of a heart.  This can be done by peeling the carrot or cucumber, slicing a wedge out lengthwise, trimming the point of the heart and then slicing crosswise to create multiple bite-size hearts.

Whatever your choice of treat is, allow the kids to participate in preparing it. That way they can enjoy eating it, as well as be proud of what they have done!

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