healthy holiday treats for kids

‘Tis the season for sweets!

It seems that everywhere I turn this time of year, I see a fabulous cookie recipe. Or pie recipe. Or a tiny nibble of chocolate that is calling my name. And don’t get me started on my kids. I mean, seriously. They are like those seagulls in Finding Nemo: “more! more! more! more!” All those candy canes and fun-shaped cookies are pretty hard to resist and my kids definitely aren’t shy about vocalizing their lust for them.

We all know the hazards of too much sugar. But how the heck are we supposed to make fruits, veggies and whole grains appealing when the seasonal competition is just so stiff? Sure, in a perfect world, our kids would all be clamoring for fresh, whole produce in its raw, unadulterated form. But that’s not always the reality.

So how can we give healthier fare a fighting chance?

I turned to Pinterest for some inspiration. But knowing (hoping) that many of you are just as un-crafty as me, I decided to try out some of my favorite finds to see if they are actually do-able in the real world. Here are a few of my favorites.

Snowflake Toast

snowflake toast

Doesn’t this look pretty? Almost like a really decadent frosted cookie. But, nope! It’s whole grain toast, topped with cream cheese and blueberries. After a few tries, I figured out that it’s easiest to spread the cream cheese on a full piece of toast, then use the cookie cutter to cut out the shape. Otherwise, I kind of mutilated the shape trying to spread the cream cheese on. Needless to say, I ended up eating all the scraps.

My kids’ verdict: two thumbs up.

My verdict: thumbs up.

Popcorn Snowmen

popcorn snowmen

It’s been pretty well proven that kids like food that comes in fun packaging. So we decided to give these cute snowmen a try, using small white paper bags and construction paper decorations. It “only” took me about 30 minutes to make three of them. Next time, I’d probably take down my effort a notch, but if you’re particularly crafty, you could probably whip out a dozen of these in 10 minutes.

My kids loved eating popcorn out of them. Of course, they’d eat popcorn out of a shoe, so I’m not sure they are the best judges. I did let my two-year-old and four-year-old try decorating their own bags, but they turned out nothing like the picture (more like scribbles). My four-year-old prohibited me from posting a picture of his snowman here. (Embarrassment starts at an early age.)

My kids’ verdict: thumbs up to the popcorn; thumbs down to the bags.

My verdict: same as my kids.

Red Pepper Candy Canes

SONY DSC

Yet another use for cookie cutters! My kids thought these were really cute, but I served them to a little friend who pretty much only likes PBJ. He refused to touch it, but he didn’t throw it off his plate, so that was progress. I diced up the remaining pieces of bell pepper for a salad.

My kids’ verdict: two thumbs up.

Their friend’s verdict: one thumb down.

My verdict: thumbs up.

Christmas Tree Pizzas

flat out christmas pizza

I used Flat Out Thin Cut Flatbreads to make personal pizza, featuring each of my kid’s favorite ingredients. My daughter’s had pizza sauce, cheese and tomatoes. My son’s had pizza sauce, spinach (thanks to this trick) and black olives. 

Then I served them with some red pepper candy canes and it was a great meal that seriously only took 10 minutes to make.

My kids’ verdict: two BIG thumbs up.

My verdict: another big thumbs up. A whole grain + veggie meal in less than 10 minutes? Sign me up

My two happy customers

My two happy customers.

Do you have any other favorite ways you give healthy foods some festive holiday cheer?

Know someone who might like this recipe? Share it with them!

Sign up for our newsletter

Tell a friend about this

Share this recipe

Question? We’d love to hear from you!

Other content you may like