Healthy Kid-Friendly Holiday Treats
Every holiday season we know to expect outrageous holiday decor, parties and food -- a lot of food. Rich, sugary, fatty food. As adults we know how to manage our meals so we don't eat too much of the high-calorie cuisine we're offered, but kids haven't yet trained themselves to be disciplined with sweet treats and heavy eats. It's up to us to throw some healthy food into their holiday diets. Here are 4 ideas for healthy kid-friendly holiday treats.
Most kids want sweet treats -- but they don't have to be all bad. Regular gingerbread cookies are a bit healthier than standard holiday sugar cookies. They have less fat, calories and carbohydrates than sugar cookies and contain more nutrients. They're definitely not packed with the things our bodies need, but they do give us protein, calcium, vitamin B-6, magnesium, and iron -- none of which you'll find in a sugar cookie. If you want to take healthy to the next level, whole grain flour as a substitute for white flour is easily disguised in the dark dough. So if you plan a cookie decorating party or want festive treats to go serve while you hang Christmas ornaments, try gingerbread men for a healthier, yet still tasty choice.
Even though strawberries are not in season, technology allows us have most fruits and vegetables year 'round. They're a little more expensive and not ideal if you're trying to reduce your carbon footprint, but if your kids need a little bit of vitamin C, potassium and a sweet substitute for pie, dish out strawberries. To give them holiday flair, make them into little red Santa hats. All you do is slice of the top (don't throw it away), flip it over to use the stem as a base and put a dollop of whipped cream on it. Top that with the larger part of the strawberry so the pointy part is facing up. Put another tiny dollop on the end and you have a Santa hat.
It's no secret that cake is packed with calories and offers little in the way of nutrition. A good substitute for cake is spiced bread. Break open your best cookbooks for recipes like pumpkin bread, apple bread and banana bread. Spiced bread has about half the calories of chocolate cake and more vitamins and minerals including vitamins A, C, calcium, and iron. Spiced bread gives your kids a sweet treat with flavors that match up with the season without too many empty calories.
Chocolate is a pretty important element on most holiday menus. Though chocolate may not be the healthiest of treats, high quality dark chocolate does offer some health benefits. It offers antioxidants, calcium, protein and potassium, all of which our bodies need to work efficiently. Rather than bonbons, try a dark chocolate holiday bark infused with holiday flavor like nuts and dried cranberries. Your kids will get their chocolate fix and some of the nutrients they need, too.