Healthy Holiday Snacking for Kids – Alternatives Can Be Fun!

CME WebsitesChild Routines, Mealtime, Parent Routines, Snacks

Holiday snacking does not have to be all about cookies and candies. If you plan ahead and involve your kids in the shopping and preparation, holiday snacking can not only be fun, but healthy as well. Here are some ideas for nutritious holiday snacks, as well as some simple tips to make fattening recipes more healthy for you and your family.

Healthy Snacking – Make it fun!

Enlist your children to help you grocery shop and pick out red and green fruits. Reds can be apples, red grapes, strawberries, pomegranate, cherries, cranberries, etc. Greens can be green apples, green grapes, kiwi and avocado (yes, it’s a fruit). Let your children select a few fruits of each color and parent’s can cut apples & kiwis into start shapes or circles, squares, etc. Give each child a paper plate and let them arrange the fruits on the outer edge of the plate to make a red and green holiday wreath or holiday food collage. Place some low fat yogurt in the middle to use as a fruit dip.

Assorted cheeses (low fat cheese are just as tasty) with 100% whole wheat crackers is another healthy snack and hard cheeses can also be cut into fun shapes using a knife or cookie cutter.

More Snack Ideas

  • Serve low fat dips such as yogurt, bean or hummus with whole grain baked pita chips or whole grain tortilla chips.
  • Stuffed dates are naturally sweet, healthy and delicious if you have never tried them. You can fill pitted dates with low fat cream cheese or half a walnut.
  • Spread celery with peanut butter or low fat cream cheese and top with raisins.
  • Make holiday smoothies with fruit, low fat yogurt and ice and add food coloring for a festive drink.

Making recipes healthier

Try substituting 100% whole wheat flour for white flour in recipes (or use half and half), this will boost the fiber content.

Agave and stevia are two natural sweeteners that can replace sugar in recipes.

Applesauce can replace butter or oil in recipes. Search the internet for conversions on adding applesauce to recipes.


Keep healthy snacks visible and high calorie snacks hidden.

Limit soda and juices.

Continue to maintain your child’s daily schedule as much as possible, with regular meals, snacks and exercise and don’t allow grazing.

Ask relatives to not give candies and cookies to your kids as snacks, or if treats are given, ration them into appropriate portions by using sandwich bags.

Cut back on video/TV time and encourage physical activity even in the cold weather. A game of frisbee can be played in mittens and gloves, so can kickball or basketball. Or go for an evening family walk around the neighborhood. Keep the kids and yourself active to burn off those extra holiday calories!

Download a printer friendly PDF on Holiday Food Safety from the FDA.