Healthy Holiday Eating: 6 Festive Recipes Your Kids Will Love

The holiday season is filled with fun-shaped treats and sugary sweets that children just can’t resist. While these Christmas-themed desserts are fine in moderation, it’s important that your kids are still leaving room for healthy foods such as fruits, veggies, and whole grains. An easy way to get them excited about eating nutritious foods is to turn healthy fare into fun and festive dishes. Your kids will love transforming broccoli into a Christmas tree, making a snowman out of hard-boiled eggs, and creating mini Santas out of strawberries. Here are six kid-friendly, festive dishes that will make healthy eating seem fun.

Source: iStock

1. Christmas Tree Vegetable Platter

Using broccoli, tomatoes, cauliflower, and peppers, you and your kids can make Betty Crocker’s Christmas Tree Vegetable Platter. The recipe creates one large tree, but if your little ones would prefer their own, you can divide up the ingredients and create mini trees instead. We guarantee your children will find broccoli much more appealing when it’s shaped like a Christmas tree!

Ingredients:

Creamy Herb Dip:

  • ½ cup sour cream or crème fraîche
  • ¼ cup mayonnaise or salad dressing
  • 3 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh chives
  • ½ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  •  ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 small clove garlic, finely chopped

Vegetable Platter:

  • 3 cups fresh broccoli florets
  • 14 grape tomatoes
  • ½ yellow bell pepper, cut into strips
  • 1½ cups fresh cauliflower florets
  • ¾ ounces (about 40) pretzel sticks

Directions: In a small bowl, stir together dip ingredients. Cover; refrigerate at least 1 hour to blend flavors. Rinse and thoroughly dry vegetables. Trim broccoli and cauliflower floret stems. Arrange broccoli on serving platter to form tree shape and tomatoes to form garland. Arrange bell pepper to form star and cauliflower to form snow. If desired, cover and refrigerate up to 4 hours. Just before serving, arrange pretzels at bottom of tree to form trunk. Serve with dip.

Source: iStock

2. Strawberry Santas

Just a Pinch’s Strawberry Santas are just as nutritious as they are adorable. Strawberries are packed with vitamin C, which repairs body tissue and ensures your little ones’ gums and teeth are healthy. They are also filled with fiber and promote brain health.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound large strawberries
  • 1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons powdered sugar (or sugar substitute, to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Directions: Rinse strawberries and cut around the top of the strawberry. Remove the top. Clean out the whole strawberry with a paring knife, if necessary. Prep all of the strawberries and set aside. In a mixing bowl, beat cream cheese, powdered sugar, and vanilla until creamy. Add cream cheese mix to a piping bag or ziplock with the corner snipped off. Fill the strawberries with cheesecake mixture. Once strawberries are filled, top with the hats. Decorate. If not serving immediately, refrigerate until serving.

Source: iStock

3. Whole-Wheat Sugar Cookies

If you’re looking for a nutritious alternative to unhealthy Christmas cookies, we recommend making Health’s Whole-Wheat Sugar Cookies instead. The whole-wheat flour ensures your kids are getting fiber and whole grains, while the egg whites reduce the cookie’s saturated fat content. The recipe yields 24 cookies.

Ingredients:

Cookies:

  • 1¼ cups flour
  • ¼ cup whole-wheat flour
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 4 ounces unsalted butter, softened
  • ⅓ cup granulated sugar
  • ⅓ cup light brown sugar
  • 1 egg white
  • 1¼ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon pure almond extract

Icing:

  • 2 cups confectioner’s sugar, sifted
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

Directions: Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. For cookies, whisk together first 4 ingredients in a medium bowl. Beat butter and sugars together in a separate medium bowl until light and fluffy. Scrape down sides and bottom of bowl, and add the egg white and vanilla and almond extracts; beat until just combined. Add flour mixture, and stir until incorporated. Cover bowl with plastic wrap, and chill for at least 4 hours.

Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Dust a work surface with flour. Turn out chilled dough directly onto work surface. Roll dough out to a ¼-inch thickness. Use cookie cutters to cut shapes in dough, and gently transfer them to baking sheets. Bake cookies for 12 minutes or until set but not browned. Remove cookies from oven, and cool for 5 minutes. Transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.

For the icing, whisk together all the icing ingredients in a large bowl until completely smooth. Mixture should have consistency of a glaze. Transfer icing to a pastry bag or a zip-top plastic bag with a small hole in one of the bottom corners. First, outline the cookie or desired design, then fill it in. Let icing harden before serving. Cookies can be kept in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

Source: iStock

4. Real Food Candy Canes

Skip the sugar-riddled candy canes and have your kids create Nourishing Minimalism’s Real Food Candy Canes instead. Strawberries and bananas are all you need to create this easy and nutritious, kid-friendly dish. Healthy snacking has never tasted so sweet!

Ingredients:

  • Bananas
  • Strawberries

Directions: Slice fruit into rounds, place alternately on plate, in the shape of a candy cane. Serve immediately.

Source: iStock

5. Cucumber Christmas Tree Salad

Work more greens into your children’s meal by preparing Cute Z Cute’s recipe via All Things For Sale. To make this nutritious Christmas tree-shaped dish, you’ll need cucumbers, lettuce, and any other salad toppers you’d like to include.

Ingredients:

  • Cucumbers
  • Salad
  • Skewer
  • Toppings: dried cranberry, cheese, croutons, other vegetables

Directions: Cut off the cucumber’s tip, about 2 inches long, and stick the skewer in the middle of the tip to create the base. Slice the cucumber, making sure they aren’t too thin or too thick. Place the cucumber on the skewer. Feather out the cucumber slices in the shape of a Christmas tree. Place the other end of the cucumber tip on top to complete the Christmas three shape. Serve with lettuce and your favorite salad ingredients.

Source: iStock

6. Egg Snowman 

Transform boring hard-boiled eggs and plain carrots into Roxy’s Kitchen’s cute Egg Snowmen. Joy Bauer notes that eggs provide children with high-quality protein, which is important for their muscle growth. In addition, carrots contain vitamin A, fight diseases, and can improve your kids’ eyesight.

Ingredients:

  • 6 large hard-boiled eggs
  • 6 small hard-boiled eggs
  • Peppercorns
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 skewer
  • Uncooked pasta
  • Parsley

Directions: Peel off the egg shell. Peel the carrot and cut off the ends. Slice the carrot so that you have 6 round slices from each end. Cut off the top and bottom of the eggs. Stick the BBQ skewer through the eggs to make a hole and remove it. Do the same with the two round slices of carrots. Stick the pasta into the two eggs and the carrot slices. Snap off the extra pasta that is sticking out of the carrot. Stick the tip of the skewer in the eggs to make small holes for the eyes, nose, and buttons. Place a peppercorn in each hole and a small piece of carrot for the nose. Finally, stick a parsley sprig on the side for the broom.

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