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Health Department: Put a Healthy Spin on Valentine's Day Snacks

Incorporate vegetables in eye-catching ways to promote healthier eating on this very sugary holiday.

from the DuPage County Health Department

Looking to trade your child's heart-shaped chocolates for something with nutritional value?

The suggests that parents use Valentine's Day—an occasion for candy and sugary snacks—as a festive opportunity to get their little ones to eat healthier foods and treats.
 
Generally, children will gravitate toward foods that are attractive, novel and eye-catching, so use this holiday to alter snacks to encourage healthy consumption. Remember that while it is fine to occasionally give your children sweets for a festive occasion, it is also important to establish healthy eating habits.

Now is your chance to get the kids to eat some healthier foods by making these Valentine's Day snack treats that are festive and eye-catching:

  • Vegetable-based pastries are a great fibrous alternative to Valentine's Day cakes. Some healthier alternatives include zucchini bread, pumpkin bread or carrot cake.
  • Think of a flashy and exciting new name for a healthy snack your child is familiar with. For example, calling celery with peanut butter and raisins "ants on a log" may prove to be more enticing to kids. Why not do something similar for Valentine's Day? Try switching those raisins with dried cranberries and call the snack "hearts on a log."
  • Decorate a veggie platter with flowers and red roses. While the flowers are not meant for consumption, their colors may attract children to eat more servings of the healthier food.
  • Serve healthy vegetable soups in heart-shaped bowls or bread bowls.
  • Make healthy, heart-shaped veggie pizzas with heart-shaped tomato cutouts just for Valentine's Day.

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