The holidays are winding down and it’s time to wean the youngsters off of candy, cookies and all the other goodies they have been munching on for the last month. But such a formidable task is easier said than done. Put a plain old apple on a plate next to some brightly colored, sugar and frosting laden cookies and ask a five year old what looks more appealing. It’s a no-brainer; the cookie wins every time. So mom and dad, it is time to get creative with your fruits and veggies.
When are an apple, orange and a few grapes more appealing than junk food- when the apple, orange and grapes look like something other than just an apple, orange and grapes. Expertise in the culinary arts is not required. All mom and dad need are some fresh fruits and veggies and a little creativity. To help get you started on your quest for healthier children’s snacks, I have included a few projects that have been well received by my own candy-loving boys.
A handful of grapes
Celery stalk (optional)
Cut apple up into slices and arrange in a tight circle on a plate.
Peel orange and separate each piece. Arrange pieces in a tight circle on a plate.
Place a grape in the center of each circle.
Cut celery stalk into strips and place one strip at the base of each apple/orange “flower” to form the stem.
Veggie Bugs and Snake
1 Bunch/Container of Cherry Tomatoes. (Do not use grape tomatoes; they are too small.)
2 Bell Peppers
Peel cucumbers and slice into ¼” pieces leaving an end piece peeled, but at least 1″ long.
Arrange slices standing upright in a slight “S” shape on platter or cookie sheet.
Cut two small divots on the end piece and place raisins in the holes; these will become the snake’s eyes.
Cut bell peppers into small strips, about ¼” in width, 1 ½”-2″ in length.
Cut three small slits into the sides of each tomato (total of 6 slits per tomato.)
Insert one pepper strip into each slit and bend at end to form legs for your veggie bugs.
Arrange on plate/cookie sheet around the snake.
The snake idea can also be done with bananas, but since bananas brown quickly, it is best to do this only when the snack will be eaten in the very near future.
If mom and dad have small cookie cutters at hand, they can also be used to jazz up fruit. Watermelon, cantaloupe and honeydew are excellent for this. Simply cut ½” slices in the melons (1″ for watermelon) and go to town with the cookie cutters.
Fighting the battle against sugary snacks can be difficult. With some creativity and a bit of effort, the healthy treats can prevail!