The holidays present a seemingly endless parade of parties, concerts, get-togethers—and sugary treats. You can send your child to an event with a covered dish of brown rice and green beans … or you can be a hero by whipping up a few simple, kid-friendly goodies that combine flavor and solid nutrition, without any refined sugar. Try these ideas for healthy party fare your child will be proud to claim.
Pomegranate and grapefruit fizz.You might be tempted to trade juice for soda, but as far as sugar-buzz potential, neither is great. For a healthy party drink, cut fresh-squeezed grapefruit juice with carbonated water. Add a splash of pomegranate juice cocktail, stir in fresh pomegranate seeds, and garnish with grapefruit slices.
Kiwi kabobs with orange-yogurt dip. This winter-fruit treat is more fun than fruit salad. Halve kiwi and scoop out insides with a melon baller. Cut pears into 1/2-inch cubes. Peel tangerines and separate segments. Thread fruits, alternating, on wooden toothpicks or skewers. To make dip, combine 1 cup plain organic yogurt or dairy-free yogurt with 1/4 cup fresh-squeezed orange juice; serve on the side.
Roasted spiced cashews. Combine 1 cup of whole, raw cashews with 2 tablespoons melted coconut oil. Add a spice mixture of 2 teaspoons cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon ginger, 1/4 teaspoon cardamom, and 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg. Spread on a baking sheet and roast at 350 degrees for 7–9 minutes, or until lightly golden, stirring once during cooking. Be careful not to burn. Let cool before serving.
Black-bean mini-burritos. These small bean burritos are filled with health-protective nutrients and fiber, plus they’re neat to eat. Mash cooked, rinsed, and drained black beans with a fork or potato masher. Add 3 tablespoons salsa to each cup of beans and mix well. Halve whole-wheat or gluten-free 8-inch tortillas; put a few tablespoons of bean mixture on each half, sprinkle with shredded organic cheese and very thinly sliced red pepper strips, and roll tightly. Use a bit of mashed bean to seal the rolled edge. Briefly toast burritos seam side down in a lightly oiled skillet, pressing down gently. Serve warm.
Raw-nut cookies with goji berries. Incredibly good, these are sugar free, gluten free, and dairy free. In a small food processor, combine 1/4 cup each raisins, pitted prunes, chopped dates, unsweetened shredded coconut, dried goji berries, and raw walnuts; add 3/4 cup whole, raw cashews. Process until mixture forms a ball, adding more nuts if mixture is too sticky. Form into 16–20 small balls. Press each flat, and decorate tops with three additional goji berries per cookie. Refrigerate or freeze until using; serve them chilled.
Sweet spiced carrots with maple-pumpkin dip. These easy-to-make dippers contain loads of healthy antioxidants. Toss baby carrots with melted coconut oil and roast at 400 degrees for 12–18 minutes, until tender. When slightly cooled, sprinkle with ground cinnamon and toss. For dip, combine 1 cup pumpkin purée with 2 tablespoons maple syrup; mix well to blend.
Dinosaur kale crisps. Tack on the cool name, and the novelty of eating whole, crunchy leaves attracts young partiers. Lightly brush whole dinosaur (Tuscan) kale leaves with olive oil, arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet, and sprinkle with sea salt. Roast at 450 degrees until crisp, 3–5 minutes. To serve, stand leaves in a wide-mouth drinking glass.
Beet leather. Wonderfully chewy and naturally sweet, these treats are as yummy as they are healthy. Roast whole beets at 400 degrees until tender, 45–60 minutes. Let cool, peel, and cut into slices no more than 1/4 inch thick. Bake at very low heat—about 150 degrees—for about six hours, until chewy. Remove from oven and sprinkle lightly with salt or drizzle with honey. Let cool before serving, and store in a tightly sealed container in the refrigerator.