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With only five days until Christmas, folks are scurrying around making those last minute gift purchases, wrapping presents that have somehow remained hidden from prying eyes, putting the finishing touches on holiday meal planning, and giving the house a last-minute cleaning before out of town guests arrive.  With all the activity the holidays bring, it is important to carve out time for creating family traditions that will live on long after the presents and pumpkin pie.

This holiday season is the perfect opportunity to create those new family traditions that will produce lasting memories. Carve out time to make some homemade treats side-by-side with the kids.  Not only will the little ones love these holiday-themed treats (even those picky palates), but health-conscious parents will too.  So, put on your aprons, roll up your sleeves, turn on the holiday music, and prepare to make some delicious and nutritious holiday snacks.

Snowman Bagel

Select a whole wheat bagel and begin building your snowman using this recipe: Spread “snow” or plain, fat-free cream cheese on a whole wheat bagel half.  Use rectangular-sliced pieces of red pepper to make the smiling mouth.  Add blueberries as the eyes and a traditional baby carrot as the nose.  To spruce up your snowman, add broccoli florets and a ½ inch shaved celery string (created using a veggie peeler) to make the earmuffs.  What an ideal breakfast buddy for your child!

Holiday Wreath

For a completely edible version of the traditional wreath, try this recipe:  Simply riffle through the fridge for staples you should have on hand, such as celery, carrots, and cucumbers.  Chop up the veggies and arrange them in a circle on your child’s plate.  Other items may be added, including lettuce for more greenery, strawberries and tomatoes as faux holly berries, and a bow made from sliced lean turkey or ham.  For added appeal, try adding a “side of snow” with a white, healthy dip of choice.  For an even more filling lunch, place low-fat cottage cheese in the center of the wreath. Prep time is less than 10 minutes. The together time is priceless!

Fruity Christmas Tree

Think of this as an edible Christmas craft that both parents and kids alike will enjoy.  Take three kiwis and cut them in circles (this is a great way to introduce a lesser-known fruit to your child).  Help the little ones arrange the kiwi slices on top of each other in the shape of a tree.  Use the brown kiwi peel as the trunk or base of your tasty tree.  Add ornaments by placing blueberries, strawberries, and raspberries on the kiwi tree.  For the final touch, add a star-shaped slice of yellow-colored cheese as your tree topper. Gobble up this tasty, fruity tree. You’ll feel healthier for it!

Reindeer Sandwich

Keep the crust you’d normally trim from your child’s sandwich to make this delicious, holiday snack.  Grab two slices of whole wheat bread.  Use a cookie cutter to cut the bread into a heart shape.  Fill the middle with lean ham or turkey (peanut butter is good too if no allergies exist).  Use the crust you’ve trimmed off the bread to make the antlers for the reindeer. Take two blueberries and place them in the center of the heart for the eyes and add a piece of sliced red pepper for the nose.  Your little one will gobble up this creative version of the old stand-by sandwich. Spend time together reading the story of Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer or listing to the song of the same name. You’ll both be glowing with happiness when you’re done!

For photos of these healthy holiday treats, visit varagesale.com/blog/your-kids-will-love-these-healthy-holiday-snacks.

Kandy Childress is the executive director of Healthy Kingsport.  She can be reached at kchildress@healthykingsport.org.