Saturday, November 7, 2015

Healthy Treats for Kids - Thanksgiving Theme

At our school we have completely turned the corned with special snacks that are allowed for Birthday Celebrations and class parties.  We now only encourage healthy options, and are starting to cut back on homemade treats as well.  Even when parents provide a list of ingredients, we can't be certain that their kitchen is a "Peanut Free" kitchen.  If they used the same cutting board that they used to make a PB&J sandwich on earlier, disaster could strike.  Allergies are a huge thing to be aware of these days, and the risks are just too high.   But I often times miss the days of homemade cupcakes and ice cream parties.

With the holidays coming up many families still want to do something special for their child's class.  Even though we offer suggestions like donating a book in the child's name, or sending in party paper goods so that the children can have their normal snacks and lunch on special plates, there are always a host of parents who demand food treats.  Coming up with healthy options to offer seems to have been our most successful approach.  Below are some of the best ones I've found for Thanksgiving.  Enjoy!

What a perfect Holiday Snack Idea!
That's What "Che" Said has these adorable Turkey Snack Bags.  Kids would get a kick out of getting these!  You could fill them with a number of different healthy treats, like whole wheat cheerios or chex, raisins, craisins or other dried fruits.  I can already picture their sweet faces when they receive something fun like this!
What a special festive snack!
The Foodies featured this adorable turkey muffin.  I mentioned that we don't always allow home-made treats because of the risk with allergies, but this would be a great cooking project our classes.  Parents could provide the muffin ingredients, or a mix, and the apple slices.  Children would have a great time helping their teachers measure, mix and stir.  Snacks are even more enjoyable when children help accomplish them.

How fun would this lunch be?
Bliss Tree features a number of great Thanksgiving Snack ideas for kids, but this one was one of my favorites.  It is more of a lunch option, but would be such a great surprise to slip into your child's lunch box.  Who doesn't love to play with food?!  Simple quesadilla, apple slices and a carrot for the middle.  This is a great lunch idea, and incorporates many healthy elements.

We do Peppers with Ranch Dressing on a regular snack basis, but theres no reason not to dress them up!  How hilariously cute is this little turkey!  This was featured over on CBC Parents.

Fruit cup, hold the ice cream :)
And one more just because.  Not really a Thanksgiving treat, but this is a great snack to send from home for a birthday or special occasion.  We often times do recommend fresh fruit with whipping cream, but adding them to an ice-cream cone is a sure way to have some very excited little ones!  Why didn't I think of that!

What are some healthy alternatives that you use to help make snack time special?

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Apple Nachos - Delicious Fall Treat!

This fall I have seen so many people post these delicious looking fall snacks, I wish I had time to make them all!  We didn't have time to make it apple picking this year, but I snagged some at the grocery store and decided to give Apple Nachos a whirl.  Essentially they are disassembled caramel apples, you can't go wrong!

I started by slicing up 6 apples, and then I soaked them in ice cold water with a splash of lemon juice.  This will prevent the apples from browning once they are sliced, it's a great trick if you are planning ahead want to pre-slice them for a snack later.  If you don't have lemon juice you can even soak them in a lemon lime soda for the same effect, small splash of sprite will do the trick!

Sliced apples soaking in iced Lemon Water
 While these soaked I melted about 20 marshmallows with 4 tbsps of butter...

Marshmallows and butter melting
Unwrapped and microwaved 20 caramel's with a teaspoon of water...

Caramels waiting to be unwrapped

Melted caramels and a smidge of water, just pop in the microwave!

While I waited for these to melt I arranged the sliced apples on a plate

Arranged apple slices

And then drizzled them with marshmallow and caramel.  We decided to add mini-M&M's, but really you could use any topping you like.  Think of all the delicious caramel apple toppings out there!

Drizzle, add toppings, and enjoy!

The end result was really tasty.  Still kind of messy since the marshmallow and caramel dripped off, but not as messy as trying to bite into a loaded apple.  They were a hit at the party, and I would highly recommend them!

What fall treats do you like to make?

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Fall Themed Snacks - Healthy and Delicious!

Nobody loves a theme more than me!  I think a great way to introduce healthy foods to some of our children is to make it fun.  So I decided to round up some of my favorite Fall Themed snacks for children, or grownups!  Some of them are easy and take no time, other's take more prep time.  But they look so fun!

We provide two snacks a day for our children, and create a snack menu based on healthy choices.  We no longer allow families to bring in cupcakes or other sweets for birthdays, so we like to provide a "Birthday Alternatives" list.  I think some of these healthy options would be awesome for making snack fun and special, while still keeping it healthy.

It would be even better if you can get the little ones to help you prepare these snacks.  You can turn a cooking lesson into discussions on healthy foods, turn taking, measuring, cause and effect, and so much more.  Plus, children of all ages like to help out in the kitchen!  Take a look at some of my favorites below.

Candy Corn Popsicles - Delicious and Nutritious! By Girl Inspired
Girl. Inspired created these delicious looking homemade popsicles.  She lets each layer freeze for at least 5 minutes before pouring in the next layer.  This does require a popsicle mold, but I can think of so many other combinations that would be just as delicious.  This is a fantastic alternative to real Candy Corn, and all of the high sugar candies that start to come out this time of year.  Kids will feel like they are getting a special treat, since we don't do popsicles very often, when in fact they are getting a healthy alternative to candy or treats.
Microwave Sweet Potato Chips by Baked by an Introvert
We generally don't offer potato chips as a snack for our children, but these all natural sweet potato chips would be awesome.  And since all you need is a microwave kids could definitely help make them!  How easy are these, you literally slice, rinse, microwave for 3 minutes on each side, sprinkle with salt...and enjoy.  Anyone could do it!  I can't wait to try!

Fried Cinnamon Sugar Tortillas by Mondo
While on the topic of chips, look at these delicious looking friend cinnamon sugar looking tortillas.  With fall themed shapes, like these leaves, you can make something extra special for the kiddos.  Children can definitely help cut the tortillas with cookies cutters to make fun fall shapes.  But then you will need a separate space to safely fry them in oil.  Sprinkle them with a cinnamon sugar mix and serve immediately.  These look so tasty!

Baked Apple Chips by The Beach Body Blog
Now this recipe will definitely take more preparation and time, it takes over 2 hours to bake.  But you could always prepare them the day before.  During this time of year the majority of my students have recently gone apple picking.   They come in after a weekend excited to tell all about their time at the orchard, and many of them bring in bags of apples to share.  This is a really great way to use some of those apples!  These Baked Apple Chips are extremely easy, just time consuming.  Slice the apples, sprinkle with cinnamon, and bake.  Ta-da!  I think children will be excited about a new way to enjoy their apples!

Other great apple recipes are apple bran muffins or home made applesauce.  We do this with the crockpot in my classes almost every year.  The children love being able to measure ingredients, check throughout the day to see how the apples change, smell the smells, and then get to enjoy the finished product.  This is a wonderful science experiment for them as well.  How do apples go from solid to liquid?  And the classroom smells unbelievably delicious All. Day. Long.

Very simple pumpkin snack by Surviving A Teacher's Salary
So simple, but this brings new life to boring snacks!  How adorable is a peeled clementine or small orange and a stick of celery?!  I love how easy this is, but will excite children for a fun Healthy Pumpkin Snack.
Fall tree with Carrots, pretzels, and raisins
Fall tree with Pretzels and Tomatoes
These last two I found while looking around but don't have a source to send you to.  I love how both of these snacks incorporate vegetables for a healthy snack.  There is no way that they would stay looking this nice and neat, but they sure do make a statement!  I think that children would also enjoy making their own food art, and changing up the pictures as they eat parts of the snack.

Do you have any go to snacks for the fall time?  How do you make eating healthy fun?

All content, including text and original photos, are copyrighted and property of Jen Caffelle

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