10 Healthy Valentine's Day Snacks for Kids

Chow on 02.09.12
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Now that you have your Valentine's Day crafts, gifts and wreaths sorted out, it's time to start thinking about the most important topic of all - food.

Chocolates, cookies with red frosting, sprinkles, cupcakes, and candy hearts are the typical Valentine's Day sweets our kids eat at school.  Of course, these kinds of treats are fine in moderation and are used to celebrate a day of love. 

But how about offering some fun, festive, healthy treats as alternatives to some of the traditional high-fat, high-sugar snacks that accompany Valentine's Day?

1. Healthy Peanut Butter and Rice Krispie Snacks

healthy rice krispie treats

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This twist on the classic Rice Krispie treat, posted over at Babble, provides protein from peanut butter, fiber from rolled oats, and Vitamin C from dried cherries.  It will be a hit with the kids on Valentine's Day (and might even replace the marshmallow version as your family's year-round favorite).


2. Heart Shaped Cream Cheese and Strawberry Sandwiches
Cream cheese and strawberry

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These tasty sandwiches can be cut into heart shapes using a cookie cutter.  Two tablespoons of cream cheese provide a full serving of calcium and the strawberries are packed with Vitamin C. Your kids will love the heart-shaped surprise when they open their lunch box.


3. Yogurt Parfait
yogurt

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Fill a glass with low-fat Greek yogurt, raspberries, and granola or crushed graham crackers.  The colors are festive and this snack provides calcium, beneficial probiotics, and Vitamin C.


4. Cheese and Crackers
cheese and crackers

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Low-fat cheese can be cut using a heart shaped cookie cutter and paired with crackers or fruit. Just 2 ounces of cheese equals one serving of calcium. Use whole wheat crackers for a punch of fiber.


5. Carrot Cake Cupcakes 
carrot cupcakes

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Cupcakes are a great celebratory treat, but they are filled with sugar, fat, and refined flour. This recipe from Katie Lee at Home uses whole wheat flour which provides more fiber and carrots which provide Vitamin A.  They also have omega-3-filled walnuts and are topped with a light cream cheese frosting.


6. Veggie and Fruit Kebobs
fruit kebab

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Fruit and veggie kebabs make a great snack for kids.  You can use a heart shaped cookie cutter to cut melon, apples, pineapple, and kiwi. Kids will love to help create their own personal kebabs and you can use raspberry yogurt for a pretty pink dip. 


7. Dark Chocolate-Dipped Fruit, Raisins, and Nuts
chocolate fruit

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Dark chocolate contains less sugar than milk chocolate and is packed with antioxidants. Dip a variety of fruits, nuts, and raisins in dark chocolate for a delicious Valentine's Day snack.

8. Love Day Punch
punch

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Instead of celebrating Valentine's Day with high sugar sodas, create a custom Love Day Punch. Mix 1 quart cranberry juice with 2 quarts seltzer water.  Try freezing some pink lemonade heart ice cubes or add some fresh raspberries and oranges to brighten it up.


9. Triple Chocolate Black Bean Brownies

heart-shaped-brownie

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The black beans in this brownie recipe from Joy the Baker replace some of the butter for a lower-fat, high protein sweet treat that also contains heart healthy omega-3's. Bake these on a shallow cookie sheet, and then use a heart-shaped cookie cutter to create Valentine's Day brownies.


10. Whole Wheat Sugar Cookies
heart cookie

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Kids love to decorate sugar cookies no matter what holiday they are celebrating. Here is a sugar cookie recipe from Food.com that uses high fiber whole wheat flour instead of refined pastry flour. Try decorating the cookies with low-fat cream cheese frosting tinted red with pomegranate juice for extra calcium and antioxidants.

Nobody is saying that kids can't have a little something sweet on V-Day -- after all, most of us parents are likely to be enjoying a chocolate or two. But with a little planning and creativity, kids can be presented with some healthier options alongside the traditional treats. By pairing up more nutritious recipes with the purely indulgent, kids also learn that there is nothing boring or second-best about healthy eating. You may even find that the healthy treats disappear first!

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