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7 Family Time and Learning Tips for the Holidays

Family-Holiday-Dinner-Pic-1From Our Children Magazine – Written by Laura Bay, National PTA President

The holiday season is here! Like most families, my household is already in a flurry of activity—decorating, purchasing gifts, preparing for guests and baking cookies and pies.

This is also a special time for family fun and togetherness. But with the holiday rush, the to-do list seems to grow exponentially by the minute.

In the busyness of the season, it’s important to keep learning and quality time with family at the top of the list while your kids are home on break from school.

Read the full story at PBS.org/Parents

25 Days of Snacks – Day 16 – Candy Cane Pizzas

healthy-christmas-snacks-for-kids-whole-wheat-pizza-candy-canes-1_thumb

Recipe adapted from www.ahealthysliceoflife.com

Use homemade whole wheat dough or store bought pizza dough to bake candy cane shaped pizzas. Top with pizza sauce and sprinkled cheese in a candy cane pattern, then baked until done. Pepperoni, tomato slices or red bell peppers can also be used to create the stripes on an all-cheese candy cane pizza!

25 Days of Snacks – Day 14 – Santa's Belly

Santa cheese 2

Recipe adapted from www.cutefoodforkids.com

Babybel cheese belly + paper belt = a healthy snack idea for the holiday season. It could also be a fun and easy appetizer for your Christmas party. Can also be packed into your kid’s lunch box!

All you need is a Babybel cheese, yellow and black construction paper.  Cut the yellow paper in the shape of the belt buckle, the black paper in a strip for the belt.  Wrap around cheese for the belt and you’re done!

25 Days of Snacks – Day 14 – Santa’s Belly

Santa cheese 2

Recipe adapted from www.cutefoodforkids.com

Babybel cheese belly + paper belt = a healthy snack idea for the holiday season. It could also be a fun and easy appetizer for your Christmas party. Can also be packed into your kid’s lunch box!

All you need is a Babybel cheese, yellow and black construction paper.  Cut the yellow paper in the shape of the belt buckle, the black paper in a strip for the belt.  Wrap around cheese for the belt and you’re done!

25 Days of Snacks – Day 13 – Veggie Christmas Tree

christmas tree veggie

Recipe adapted from www.bettycrocker.com

A broccoli and tomato “tree” with pretzel “trunk” and cauliflower “snow” are delicious dippers for a cool and creamy low fat dip.

 

Creamy Herb Dip

1/2 cup low fat sour cream
1/4 cup low fat mayonnaise 
3 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley
3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh chives
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 small clove garlic, finely chopped

 

Vegetable Platter
3 cups fresh broccoli florets
14 grape tomatoes
1/2 yellow bell pepper, cut into strips
1 1/2 cups fresh cauliflower florets
3/4 oz (about 40) pretzel sticks (from 15-oz bag)
Directions
1 In small bowl, stir together dip ingredients. Cover; refrigerate at least 1 hour to blend flavors.
2 Rinse and thoroughly dry vegetables. Trim broccoli and cauliflower floret stems.
3 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 (see photo). If desired, cover and refrigerate up to 4 hours.
4 Just before serving, arrange pretzels at bottom of tree to form trunk. Serve with dip.

25 Days of Snacks – Day 12 – Pita Trees

Pita Christmas Tree

Recipe adapted from www.bettycrocker.com

Plant a forest of pita bread trees on your table in less than 30 minutes by topping wedges with store-bought guacamole.

Makes 16 trees

Ingredients

4 flavored or plain pita folds or pita (pocket) breads (about 6 inches in diameter)
16 thin pretzel sticks, halved
1/2 cup low fat sour cream
1/2 cup guacamole
1/4 cup very finely chopped red bell pepper

Directions

  1. Cut each pita fold into 8 wedges. Insert pretzel stick half into center of bottom of each wedge to form “tree trunk.
  2. In small bowl, mix sour cream and guacamole. Spread about 1 teaspoon sour cream mixture on each pita wedge.
  3. Blot bell pepper with paper towel to remove excess moisture. Sprinkle about 1/4 teaspoon bell pepper on each wedge or arrange to form a garland. If desired, cover and refrigerate up to 8 hours before serving.

25 Days of Snacks – Day 11 – Snowman Bagels

snowman bagelIngredients:
These are suggestions, use what you have on hand
  • Thin Bagels (100% Whole Wheat Bagel Slims)  This can also be a regular bagel, an English muffin, or a piece of bread cut in a circle. – BASE
  • Cream Cheese (reduced fat) – SNOW
  • Raisins – EYES
  • Sweetened Dried Cranberries – HAT
  • Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips – MOUTH
  • Baby Carrots – NOSE
  • Pretzel Rods – HAT
  • Blueberries – SCARF

Enjoy!  Share your pictures with us!  healthykidstoday@wphf.org

Recipe adapted from http://www.inlieuofpreschool.com/

25 Days of Snacks – Day 10 – Rudolph Sandwich

rudolph pb sandwich

For more snacks like this, visit www.creativekidssnacks.com

This Rudolph is made out of a peanut butter sandwich, but you can substitute it with your child’s favorite sandwich. Tip, use whole grain bread for a healthier sandwich (plus, it looks more like Rudolph’s fur). Leave the round (top) part of the bread in tact, then slice into an oval for the main part of the body as shown.

Lakemont Elementary – Jingle Bell Run

Jingle Bell Run 2015 3Lakemont Elementary recently held another successful Jingle Bell Run.

Each year, students and their families are invited to the fun run and holiday celebration at the school. The children tie jingle bells to their shoe laces and head for the track. Holiday music plays, a movie is shown on an outside wall, and parents bring assorted snacks.  To make the event as healthy as it is fun, Jon Siegel, Healthy School Team (HST) Leader, encourages families to try to bring healthy snacks, such as fruits, cheese and whole wheat crackers and popcorn.

Congratulations to Coach Siegel and Lakemont Elementary for another successful and fun Jingle Bell Run!

Jingle Bell Run 2015 1Jingle Bell Run 2015 2

25 Days of Snacks – Day 9 – Santa Claus Crackers

santa crackersThese crackers will make an adorable display for a holiday party or a kids’ play date. Use kitchen scissors to cut a pepperoni hat (use turkey pepperoni for a low fat version); attach to cracker with a dab of ricotta. Spread on a ricotta beard. Add celery slices for mustache and capers or raisins for eyes and nose. Cover bottom of hat with more ricotta for fluffy trim.

Recipe adapted from MARTHA STEWART KIDS, 2003