Coco's Blog

Displaying items by tag: healthy snacks
Monday, 29 October 2012 23:41

Healthy Halloween Treat & Snack Ideas

Halloween Healthy Treat

Is it possible to have healthy Halloween treats? Halloween and sweets go hand-in-hand, so they are allowed in our house more than normal around this time. However, I try to explain to the kids that candy and sweats are an “every now and then” food.  I have a major sweet tooth and I know that my kids do too around this season, so I don’t expect for candy and other treats to be banned in our home, but we do work on limiting the amount - for their appetite, nutrition and teeth. With your trick-or-treaters you can hand out healthier and fun treats that they will enjoy - and that their parents will appreciate!

Here are suggestions to help curb the sweet tooth overload this Halloween:

  • Consider handing out healthy snacks in mini boxes/packages of:
    • Animal crackers
    • Angie's Kettle Corn, which is gluten-free.
    • Baby carrots (BabyCarrots.com has packaged them as Scarrots)
    • Buddy Fruit Bites (My kids LOVE these!)
    • Apple slices
    • Goldfish crackers
    • Granola bars or cereal bars
    • Sugar-free hot cocoa
    • Pirate’s Booty
    • Pretzels
    • Raisins or yogurt covered raisins
    • Roasted pumpkin seeds
    • String cheese
    • Trail mix
    • Sugar free gum
  • Hand out non-edible treats, similar to what you may find in a goody bag.
    • Miniature toys like mini yo-yos tiny pinball games, bubble sets, jacks and ball sets, mini Rubik's cubes, bouncing eyeball balls, sidewalk chalk, inflatable mini balls, mini Uno games, any card games like Go Fish, slide puzzles.
    • Plastic jewelry with Halloween themed spooky characters like ghosts, black cats, spiders, skulls, pumpkins, etc.
    • Crazy accessories like pirate eye patches, vampire fangs, glow in the dark fingers, necklaces, silly bands, and temporary tattoos.
    • Halloween themed craft items or school supplies like pencils, sharpeners, erasers.
    • Stickers, small coloring books, slap bracelets
    • ;
    • Small containers of play dough or wikki stix.
    • Online stores like Oriental Trading Company and U.S. School Supply are great for finding these types of items at affordable prices. Don’t forget your local party supply store and dollar stores.
  • Pumpkin MuffinsDepending on when your kids will go out for trick-or-treating, make sure that they have a healthy snack or dinner before they head out to avoid having them fill up on sweets.  Some of my favorites snacks are pumpkin spiced muffins made with whole wheat flour.  I LOVE this recipe from lunchboxbunch.com - they are so good! Try orange or cantaloupe slices, cheddar cheese with whole grain crackers, carrots with ranch dip…add a little orange food coloring to the dip! I love the apple cuts out pictured above, but peanut butter or even better, yogurt, would be a much healthier treat, but I do love caramel! Simply cut about 5 granny smith apples into thin slices and use assorted mini cookie cutters to cut shapes into the apple slices, use both the cut outs and apple slices.  This yummy and easy to make treat comes from fancyflours.com.  Great sites for additional healthy ideas are ivillage.com and fitsugar.com.

Apple Bites Check out my other favorite apple treat (I love apples!)- all you need are granny smith apples and slivered almonds....this idea comes from familyfun.go.com.  My kids also love pumpkin cookies - check out our favorite recipe from Kristine Lopez here.

Finally, to lower the amount of candy in your house after Halloween, encourage your kids to participate in Halloween Candy Buy Back. This is such a great national program – it pays kids $1 per pound of sweets that are shipped to U.S. troops overseas.  It's also a good idea to store the candy out of sight, like in a kitchen cupboard that only you can reach.   Limit candy intake to one a day during a set time, for just a few days then get rid of the candy.

Published in Healthy & Green Living
Friday, 11 February 2011 04:46

Healthy Valentine's Day Treats

Healthy Heart Shaped Pancakes

Yes, chocolate and Valentine’s Day go hand in hand, but try some healthier alternatives that are sure to be big hits this holiday.

My kids love to “help” in the kitchen – the following Valentine’s Day themed recipes are very simple to follow and allow for the younger “helpers” to foster their love of cooking and baking.  It’s great for children to see that healthier and tasty alternatives are always available, so below are a few simple Valentine’s Day themed recipes that they will enjoy making – and sharing!

Heart Shaped Pancakes

Start with a wholegrain or buckwheat pancake mix.  Use a heart-shaped cookie cutter when the pancakes are cooked.  For an extra Valentine's Day touch, add some red food coloring to the batter.  Top your “sweet” pancakes with strawberries.

Great Pumpkin Cookies

This delicious and good for you cookie recipe was developed by our healthy food guru Kristine Lopez.   Incorporating oats into the recipe is the secret!   For that special Valentine’s Day touch, add a little red food coloring to your favorite cream cheese frosting and top your cookies with just a small amount.  For the recipe click here.

Fruit Parfait

Very Berry Parfait

This is one of our favorite recipes because it’s so good for you and tasty.  The layers of red and blue berries alternating with a delicious whipped cream and low-fat pudding mix are irresistible!   Follow the simple recipe here.

Fruit Kabobs

Start with a variety of red fruits such as raspberries, red seedless grapes, cherries, watermelon pieces and cut strawberries.  Load them onto red or pick plastic skewers and top or serve with low-fat vanilla or strawberry yogurt, pink cream cheese, or dark chocolate if you like.

Heart Shaped Quiches

Take your favorite quiche recipe and make individual quiches with disposable heart-shaped baking cups (Reynolds make them).  The baking cups can also be used to make heart shaped muffins – just top those with a little pink cream cheese for a sweet morning treat!

Heart shaped eggs

Heart Shaped Eggs

Cook your eggs sunny side up using a light olive oil cooking spray.  Once cooked, use a heart shaped cookie cutter to give your eggs a themed holiday shape.  Place the heart shaped egg over a piece of whole grain toast for a complete breakfast.

Tortilla Roll-Ups

Spread plain cream cheese evenly onto 1 whole-wheat tortilla. 
 Place a spoonful of strawberry jam onto the tortilla and spread it evenly on top of the cream cheese.  Roll up the tortilla and slice into 1 inch thick pieces.

Other suggestions:

  • Mini multigrain or whole grain bagels with pink cream cheese
  • Sliced fruit with chocolate fondue or strawberry yogurt
  • Strawberries and low-fat whipped cream
  • Healthy muffins with pink cream cheese and sprinkles
  • Sliced apples with heart shaped cheese
  • Jell-o Jigglers cut into heart shapes
  • Strawberry or berry smoothies
  • Heart shaped sandwiches – surprise your child with one of these in their lunchbox!

Tips:

  • Consider inviting family members to sample your kid’s treats – they will love them!
  • Let children plan the meals they want to prepare, just give yourself (ideally) about a week to plan so you can gather all the ingredients.
  • Remember that kids may not have money to buy gifts, but making Valentine’s Day treats with their own hands can be a great lesson in giving and sharing!
Published in Healthy & Green Living