This post was sponsored by the National 4-H Council as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central and all opinions expressed in my post are my own.
In our household we love the holidays. We also love the food that usually has the spotlight around the holidays. Cookies, pies, candies, marshmallow topped sweet potatoes, marshmallow topped hot cocoa, and my personal favorite, the meat and cheese trays! What can I say, I have a soft spot for the savory flavors.
While all of these holiday treats are fantastic in small quantities, it’s important to take some time to show kids how they can still enjoy the holiday treats while giving them their own healthy spin.
Winter Snack Creations
Today we tested out some create your own winter fruit art. Not only is it fun to make, it’s fun to eat! It can be holiday themed and makes for a great family activity.
On the table we spread out some bowls of strawberries, banana slices, apple wedges, dried blueberries, dried cranberries, yogurt covered cranberries, pretzels, marshmallows, and mini chocolate chips. I also cut some carrot slivers for snowman noses. If you want to cut out the sugar you can always drop the marshmallows and chocolate chips from that line up. We only used them as minor accents and the fruit was the star of the show.
The snowman had dried blueberry buttons, mini chocolate chip face, strawberry hat, pretzel arms, the carrot nose, banana slice body, and he sat upon a snow drift made from marshmallows and yogurt covered cranberries.
Our tree was simply apple slices, a pretzel rod trunk, and dried cranberry accents. I wasn’t sure if they were pinecones or holiday ornaments. Either way they gave the tree a little bit of tasty character.
Candy canes are easy to make out of strawberry and banana slices. This is the perfect treat for younger kids who may not have the hand eye coordination to add in the smaller details.
Getting Kids Excited About Healthy Eating
My girls devoured this activity in all it’s glory. They created and created, then created some more. They had fun rearranging the fruit into different shapes and designs. Then it occurred to me, this was more than a healthy eating holiday snack activity, it was a 4-H project lesson.
Not only were the kids getting more exposure to healthy eating and nutrition education, but they were also getting used to manipulating food for presentation. Food presentation is important in the table toppers contest, as well as for different baked goods submitted to the fair.
Food Smart Families
Not every family has access to healthy foods and nutrition education. Sixteen million children live in food insecure households, meaning they don’t have access to food year round. United Healthcare and 4-H are working together to offer the Food Smart Families program to more than 340,000 youth and their families in fourteen states.
Food Smart Families targets families who are receiving SNAP and WIC to teach them how to plan, shop for, and prepare healthy meals on a budget. Not only does this program equip families with the skills they need for healthy living and nutrition education, but they also connect these families to nutrition assistance resources in their communities.
I’m excited to see the Food Smart Families program expand as it begins by running pilot programs in select states, then eventually replicate it through all counties in the 4-H Extension network in the country. It will be great to see more and more children and families getting the nutrition they need, even if they are on a budget. No one should go without food and I look forward to seeing positive results from this program.
What healthy snacks do you enjoy with your family around the holidays?