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Cupid’s Kitchen: Healthy Valentine’s Snacks that Kids will Love

By Katherine Penny, D.O.

Over the years, expressing that you love your friends and family has somehow become synonymous with showering them with candy, cakes and other unhealthy treats. Valentine’s Day parties turn classrooms into sugar-filled emporiums and leave kids feeling hyped up or sick afterwards.

Believe it or not, there are ways to be both festive and health-conscious while pleasing the crowd.

Make it Heart-shaped

Instantly turn an everyday snack into a seasonal dish by shaping it like a heart. You can cut out fruits and vegetables with a cookie cutter or make some pink yogurt dip to serve with animal crackers and pour it in a heart-shaped bowl.

Chocolate-drizzled strawberry hearts are sure to catch the kids’ attention. Slice strawberries in half and use a knife to shape them to look like a heart. Then drizzle your favorite melted chocolate on top and allow to solidify before serving. Directions here, or you can check out this site for a more complicated, but chocolatier version.

Share the Love in Smaller Servings

Sometimes it isn’t necessarily the snack, but the size that makes a Valentine’s Day treat unhealthy. Take advantage of the fun Valentine’s Day products available to divide snacks like pretzels into recommended serving sizes and dress them up using decorative baggies or cups.

Use a Sweet Substitute

The easiest way to be healthy is to practice moderation, because sometimes kids (and adults) feel like they just need a brownie. In situations like this, you may be able to replace particularly unhealthy ingredient with a healthier alternative.

Sugar: Replace with unsweetened applesauce. Use the same amount of applesauce as you would use sugar, but reduce the liquid in the recipe 1/4 cup.

Frosting: Replace with marshmallow fluff.

Eggs: Use egg whites instead of the full egg. For every whole egg, use two egg whites.

White Flour: Replace with wheat flour, using 7/8 cups of wheat flour for every 1 cup of white flour called for in the recipe.

Add a Fun Phrase

You can make boring-looking healthy food, cute and fun with clever phrases attached to cards on the snack. We’ve got a couple examples below, but have fun and get creative – the cheesier, the better!

Friendly Fruitsicles: Make your own like this blogger or look for fruit bars labeled “no sugar added” at the grocery store. PDF here.

Tender-hearted Toast: Cut whole-wheat toast in the shape of a heart and top with 100 percent fruit strawberry jelly or preserve. PDF here.