Healthy classroom treats that children will eat

Include your children in planning and creating the classroom treat for Valentine’s Day.

When you signed up to bring a treat to your child’s classroom for the Valentine’s party, you weren’t thinking about the aspect of making it healthy, were you? You had visions of cute cookies with colorful sprinkles or perhaps cupcakes in bright paper liners. But with all the talk about childhood obesity, excessive treats and overindulging at classroom parties, here is your chance to do something creative, fun and healthy for your child and their classmates.

When you think of the month you were assigned, think of the colors that may represent a holiday within that month. For example February we think of pink and red, March green or pastel colors, etc. Next, how big of a group are you working with? Is it a small, manageable group of 10 to 12 children or perhaps a larger group of 20 to 30 children? Regardless, planning is the key in making this project work. Next, bring your child into the planning process, create two to three samples for them to try and have them help you make the decision of what to make for the whole group. Giving them the opportunity to help in the planning, creating and sampling opens the door for children to be proud of what they are sharing with their classmates when the treat is brought to school.

Michigan State University Extension reminds you to keep it simple! These ideas would be great for consumption in the classroom: Yogurt parfaits, fruit kabobs or homemade granola bars. Again, keeping the idea of the occasion in mind, pick out fruit that would carry on the theme of the event, for February you might select strawberries, apples, raspberries, red grapes, grapefruit, white or pink yogurt for the parfaits or a white cheese to use between the fruit for the fruit kabobs. For the granola bars, look for a recipe that would include a dried red fruit.

Think small hands and portions when assembling. For the parfaits, look for small plastic cups that holds no more than three to four ounces. To assemble the fruit kabob, utilize a coffee stir stick rather than a wooden stick. When you cut the granola bars, you may be able to cut with a cookie cutter shaped like a heart, clover, egg or whatever else you are representing at your gathering.

Presenting a healthy snack for the classroom treat doesn’t have to be a tray of fruit and vegetables, there are many possibilities. Thinking about small hands and the fun of finger-foods and small portions should aid you in developing a trend that will hopefully catch on and encourage others to follow suit when it is their turn to provide a snack in your child’s classroom.

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