Healthy Holiday Kid-Friendly Treats

christmas cocoa

This year, we’re having a holiday party and I’m soooo excited, I can hardly wait! Growing up it was a tradition for extended family and friends to attend my nana’s annual Christmas Eve party. It’s hard to put words to the emotions that are tied to that experience for me, but it never quite felt like Christmas until after my nana’s party. Her house was filled with gorgeous holiday decorations, celebratory food and holiday cheer that are etched in my memory right alongside her hearty laugh and contagious smile. I miss my nana deeply around the holidays and hope that I can recreate the christmas spirit for my son the way she did for me.

My dilemma for our holiday party has to do with sweet treats. For most of us, it isn’t a kick-ass holiday party without sweet treats (and yummy drinks) to fill our bellies! But as a kid, too much sugar, gluten and butter made me feel nauseous, tired and even crabby.

It’s no surprise because that’s what sugar does to little bodies (or any body for that matter)!

angry child with santa outfit

I doubt any kids want to feel junky during the most wonderful time of the year. That’s why for this year’s holiday party, I’ve searched for a few yummy, holiday treats that are kid-friendly and junky-feeling free. I’ve scoured my favorites sites for some oldie but goodies and new treats too. Every recipe listed here is gluten and dairy free, but you’ll also find them to be refined sugar free and low sugar too. Plus, since I have a few nut-free kiddos joining us, I’ve included nut-free treats too. Enjoy!

Gluten-free and dairy-free

Real Deal Chocolate Chip Cookies by Danielle Walker, author, Against All Grain – you can’t go wrong with chocolate chip cookies and these are so unbelievably yummy that I had to share.

Soft Pumpkin Cookies by Adrienne from Whole New Mom blog – you can use sweetener of your choice like maple syrup and skip the stevia

White Chocolate Chai Cookies by Kelly Brozyna, author and blogger, The Spunky Coconut – these look amazing for kids and adults alike

Snickerdoodles by Elana Amsterdam, author and blogger, Paleo Cooking from Elana’s Pantry – my husband flipped for these cookies too!

Nut-free

Oatmeal Raisin Cookie Bites by Danielle Shea Tan, nutrition coach and blogger, Healthy Mamas for Happy Families – these may not look pretty, but they sure do taste delicious!

Pumpkin Bread by Danielle Walker, author, Against All Grain – turn this  yummy bread into mini muffins and they’re perfect for small hands!

Peppermint Marshmallow Crunch Cookies by Danielle Walker, author Against All Grain – these are melt in your mouth good.

Tell me in the comments, what are your favorite healthy holiday treats? How do you make them kid-friendly?

 

Are you placating a picky eater?

I have an important question for you. Do you ask your child what she wants to eat at meal times?

Child strong arming parent for lollipop

If the answer is yes, you’re not alone. You might feel that you have to offer the kinds of foods she wants because otherwise she’ll be undernourished and walk around feeling hungry all day – or week. Well, I’m here to tell you that kind of thinking is like a sweater full price at Neiman’s. I’m not buying it. And you shouldn’t either.

While doling out choices seems like a good idea in the moment, the reality is that this action feeds your child’s mind the belief that it’s OK to grimace over her grub. And it’s really not. If you’re serving up non-stop rounds of mac ’n cheese, pizza and chicken nuggets, day after day, you and your child are on a never-ending merry-go-round of questioning and catering.

So chomp on this food fact for a second. Your child will still grow on empty calories. But the reality is that it’s only with good nutrition (protein, fruits, vegetables, dairy and vegetables) that she has a fighting chance at a disease- and infection-free life. So it’s really important to break the cycle as early as possible, and turn your picky eater into a passionate one.

mom serving soup to daughter

Here’s how: With eSatter’s Division of Responsibility (DOR) method, you get to decide what, where and when you offer food, and your child gets to choose how much or little of it he eats. The idea here is that if parents do their job with feeding, children will do their job with eating. See how nicely that works?

Let me unpack that for you. If you start preparing healthy foods without catering to likes and dislikes, you will ultimately raise children with a delicious appetite for eating a variety of foods. Your child will ultimately grow up wanting to experience different tastes and textures. And in doing so, she’ll get a body designed specifically for her. What could be healthier than that?

Do you have a picky eater? Tell me about your picky eater in the comments. Have you gotten to a place where you just ask what your kiddos want for dinner to avoid the headache?

Bust Out of Bread Boredom

child bored and disgusted with bread

What if I told you that shutting out the sandwich is actually a good thing? The truth is bread – in all its fluffiness and yumminess – is processed by the body like sugar. Yup. sugar. Those yummy little whole grains are pulverized into flour to make bread. And, flour is essentially sugar to the body. Top that with many chemicals and preservatives laden in the commercially processed varieties and you’ve got yourself a pretty toxic, sugary meal.

So while packing a PB + J sandwich in your kiddo’s lunch may seem like a convenient option on a busy weekday morning, think again. The reality is that by doling out daily sandwiches, you’re actually serving up a hearty dose of sugar to your sweet kid. And we both know what that looks like come 3 p.m.

But there’s a better way, healthy mama, and it looks like this: leftovers. Your kiddo is sure to gobble up last night’s turkey dinner tomorrow – providing you add a new twist: simply chop up some bite-sized pieces and mix with olive oil mayo and slivers of celery. Add it to a kid-friendly thermos like Foogo and don’t forget the fork!kids lunch no bread

Other well-traveled options that have a knack for getting noticed include mini meatballs covered in tomato sauce or roasted turkey roll-ups with a little cranberry sauce or chopped apple inside. Yum.

And when the weather turns chilly, I turn my attention to soup. I make a batch in the crockpot, ladle some in a thermos the night before and then freeze the rest for another time. Super. Easy.

So move the sandwich out of the spotlight and into the wings when it comes to lunch time this week. Remember to make sure all the little supporting cast – carrots, fruit, yogurt with granola – are in place. And then wait and see who gets a standing ovation. My guess is you, healthy mama!

What’s your biggest challenge with busting out of bread boredom? Tell us in the comments. And, stay tuned this week on Facebook for more ideas to Bust Out of the Bread Boredom!