Getting kids to eat their veggies and get enough protein is hard enough, but the holiday season makes it even trickier. There’s Halloween, holiday parties, school events, and family gatherings. The ultimate baking season is filled with delicious goodies we look forward to all year long. However, it’s also the season for lowered immune systems and easily-spread wintertime illnesses. If you’re looking for ways to balance out some of the sugar with nutrient-dense snacks and meals to keep those little bodies strong and healthy, I’ve got some creative healthy holiday recipes for you.
For kids, half the battle is creating something that looks appetizing—to a toddler (so who knows what that might mean). But you can increase the chance it gets eaten with a bit of food presentation magic! These adorable nutritious bites might save you some frustration.
Plus, if your kiddo already likes lots of healthy foods and you aren’t worried about hiding the veggies, these cute holiday recipes are fun to make together too.
Note: I’m not a wizard in the kitchen nor a food blogger. Instead, I’ve perused the web for the most realistic and appealing healthy holiday recipes to provide you with a handy guide. I hope you enjoy the gems I found (links included). I chose recipes based on:
- Presentation & Appeal
- Simplicity (we aren’t top chefs here)
- Common Ingredients
- Tiny Taste Tester Approval
Healthy Holiday Recipes Your Kids Will Love
Thanksgiving Bites | Turkeys for Days!
1. Turkey Toast
Bacon is healthy, right? That’s debatable, but the wheat toast and egg will sustain them at least until snack time—maybe even lunch! This Thanksgiving take on egg-in-a-basket is super cute…and super easy! She uses raisins or candy eyes for the eyes and a triangular piece of cheese for the beak (you could make feet too, if you want). Add some decorative fruit slices around the turkey for fiber and vitamin C, and voila! You’ve got a balanced breakfast!
Tip: I’ve found that candy eyes are an odd but useful investment with toddlers. You can turn any common meal or snack into a silly creature!
2. Fruit Turkey
This one is simple and versatile but so cute! Cutting a pear in half creates a perfect turkey body. From there, you can make a colorful tail fan with different colored apple slices, other types of fruit such as bands of strawberry, banana, and orange slices—whatever you have on hand. For the beak and feet, use cheddar cheese or carrots. Those candy eyes will come in handy again, or you could use raisins or chocolate chips.
*As a sweet and salty snack, swap the pear body for Ritz cracker bodies. You could make Ritz sandwiches with peanut butter, cheese, or ham/turkey.
3. Turkey Sandwich—Literally
First, make a sandwich using whatever your kiddos like—PB & J, ham & cheese, turkey, etc. Then, use a circular cookie cutter or top of a glass to cut out the turkey’s body. Next, make the beak and feet from cheese or carrots. As mentioned above, the fan could be colorful apple slices, fruit slices, or even veggie sticks/slices.
There are endless ways to create healthy turkeys for your little turkeys. Check them out on The Dating Divas blog.
4. Fruit & Veggie Cornucopias
Introduce the concept of Thanksgiving to your little ones with these super cute fruit and veggie cornucopias. Simply fill a small waffle cone with colorful bites like fruit slices, veggie sticks, and cheese, and you’re ready to go!
Some kids loooovvvvee to dip their food. Ranch, ketchup, yogurt—if it’s a dip, they’ll eat it. If you’ve got a dipper, add something they like to the bottom of the cone. Try peanut butter, whipped cream cheese and honey, creamy ranch, or lightly sweetened Greek yogurt (depending on the fruit/veggies you’re using). Just keep in mind that a dip will make the cone soggy if it’s not eaten right away, so the filling may not be a good idea for party treats.
5. Mini Pumpkins
Pop a thin slice of celery in a peeled mandarin orange, and you’ve got yourself a pumpkin—inspo by Grits and Gouda! (These are soooo easy if you need to bring a “dish” to a school Thanksgiving feast.)
Christmas/Holiday Treats | Merry Mini Bites!
1. Grinch Kabobs
Layer a green grape, banana slice (or marshmallow slice), small strawberry (cut stem end off), and a small marshmallow on a toothpick to create mini Grinches. These work well for school events, too.
2. Cucumber Christmas/Holiday Trees
Got a cucumber, a large carrot, and a slice of cheese? You and your little one can put this snack by Eats Amazing together in a flash. First, use a slice of large peeled carrot as the stump. Then, after cutting off about a quarter of a cucumber (length-wise), use a vegetable peeler to make a thin slice down the length of the cucumber. Poke one end of a cocktail stick into the carrot stump. Gently fold the sliced cucumber back and forth, making shorter folds as you go, to create a tree. Add the folded cucumber slice to the stick. Then, using a small star cutter, cut a star from the cheese slice. (Or, you could just stick a piece of cheese or small veggie piece on top if you don’t have a cutter).
Sprinkle with salt or serve with ranch for more flavor.
3. Bagel Ornaments
This festive recipe can work as a nutritious breakfast, snack, or even dinner. It’s completely customizable, and your kiddo will enjoy helping you put it together.
First, I would prepare all of the ornament decorations up front and separate them into small bowls. Decorations might include: minced or very thinly sliced sweet peppers, tomato quarters, carrot and cucumber slivers, olives, and pieces of celery. Extra thin slices are easier for little ones to palate. They’ll hardly taste them in the cream cheese (I would probably skip the sliced onions pictured in the Fork and Beans recipe unless you know your kiddo likes them.)
Once the decorations are ready, get your child’s favorite flavored mini bagel and cut it in half. (You can toast or warm it if your child prefers.) Spread some cream cheese on top, and let your kiddo decorate the ornament. You could also swap plain cream cheese for a savory flavor. Then, attach a thick celery or cucumber slice on top with some cream cheese for the ornament top.
Alternatively, you might try a fruit version with honey-whipped cream cheese with fruit bits and raisins/craisins.
4. Avocado Christmas Trees
As a huge fan of Tex-Mex food, I love this recipe by Healthy Little Foodies. Spread some guacamole—as plain for flavored as your child prefers—on toasted tortillas or pita bread. Slice it into triangles, and decorate with whatever you like: cheese, cherry tomato slices, veggie bits, olives, etc.
5. Holiday Smoothies
Is it possible to get your toddler to drink a green smoothie? Layer it up in holiday cheer with red, white, and green (plus some whipped cream and a strawberry on top), and they just might! Try this vitamin-packed smoothie by My Kids Lick the Bowl.
This recipe takes just a bit of extra time since you have to blend three groups of ingredients, but it’s still relatively quick for an extra special and super nutritious treat. For the red layer, blend up any of their favorite berries. You could also add in some apple or banana here. To make it a superfood smoothie, you might attempt a tiny amount of beet juice/beet slice.
For the white layer, she uses milk, bananas, and cashews (cauliflower optional). Alternatively, you could do banana, peeled apple, and vanilla yogurt. (Because blending cauliflower and nuts just doesn’t sound that great…).
The green layer could include green fruit like grapes, green apples, and kiwi. Add a bit of mango or pineapple, and you truly can’t taste a handful of spinach at all (I tried it).
*Add ice when blending each layer for a chilled smoothie texture.
Which healthy holiday recipes will you try with your kids?
I’d love to know. Take a photo or video clip of your creations and tag me on Instagram @dazzlingdiva.photography.
Wishing you and yours a truly magical holiday season!
Kelley & the DDP Team