Sugar Swap: Healthy Valentine's Day Treat Alternatives

Valentine’s Day is not only a special time to show small acts of love to your little one, but it is also a time of celebration as children prepare to exchange goodies with their peers, friends, and teammates. With candy sales expected to top $1.8 billion for this February holiday, it’s no secret that sugary treats will be on the minds of many, even kiddos.

By being mindful of your child’s sugar intake and putting a twist on everyday snacks like bananas and fruit cups, you can treat their sweet tooth without the fear of compromising their health. After all, the American Academy of Pediatrics notes that excess sugar intake can result in tooth decay and obesity. Here is the Urgent Care for Children Team’s top five picks for healthy V-Day swaps:

Strawberry Hearts

Ingredients:

  • Strawberries

Directions:

1. Use a pairing knife to make two angled cuts into the top of the strawberry to remove the stem and reveal heart-shaped snacks.

Recipe and photo courtesy of Holley Grainger.

Chocolate Banana Sundae Bites

Ingredients:

  • 2 large, ripe bananas, peeled
  • ⅔ cup milk chocolate chips
  • 2 teaspoons oil
  • 8 maraschino cherries washed and dried
  • Whipped topping
  • Sprinkles
  • Toothpicks or cupcake picks

Directions:

1. Cut bananas into four equal pieces, removing ends.

2. Place on parchment paper or silicone baking sheet lined baking sheet.

3. Freeze bananas for 15 minutes.

4. Melt chocolate chips and oil in the microwave, just until melted.

5. Dip bananas ⅓ way into chocolate.

6. Add sprinkles over chocolate and place back on lined baking sheet.

7. Refrigerate 10 minutes or until chocolate is set.

8. Add a dollop of whipped topping to top of bananas.

9. Skewer cherry with cupcake pick and gently push down into center of banana.

10. Serve immediately or refrigerate up to one hour.

Recipe and photo courtesy of Finding Zest.

Valentine Love Bug Fruit Cups

Supplies:

  • Fruit cups
  • Red and white poster board (or cardstock paper)
  • Red or Black mini duck tape
  • Glue (Elmers or hot glue)
  • Black marker

Directions:

1. Cut out 2 1-inch hearts. Then tape or glue onto the bottom of the fruit cup.

2. Cut out 1/4″ white circles for the eyes and draw a black circle inside. Alternatively, you could use googly eyes. Glue onto the front of the fruit cup.

3. If creating a lady bug, draw a line down the middle and then polka dots around the fruit cup.

4. Cut out a piece of tape about 2 inches long. Fold in half and then round off the top. Repeat with a second piece of tape. Tape or glue the two together on the bottom of the fruit cup to create the antennas. For an extra special touch, add two hearts to the top.

Craft and photo courtesy of I Heart Naptime.

Fruit Pack Messages

Supplies:

  • Fruit packs
  • Scrapbook paper (or red/pink construction paper)
  • Heart-shaped cookie cutter
  • Marker
  • Tape

Directions:

1. Use cookie cutter to trace heart shapes onto scrapbook paper.

2. Cut hearts out and write message on them.

3. Tape message to the fruit packs.

Craft and photo courtesy of Teaching Mommies.

Frozen Greek Yogurt Bites

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup nonfat blended strawberry Greek yogurt (not fruit on the bottom yogurt)
  • 3 1/2 tablespoons 100% fruit seedless strawberry jelly
  • 4 teaspoons mini chocolate chips

Directions:

1. In a medium bowl, combine yogurt and jelly.

2. Chop chocolate chips and add them to the yogurt mixture, stirring thoroughly.

3. Spoon mixture into molds, or dollop from a spoon onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. If using molds, tap gently on counter so the yogurt levels smoothly.

4. Add “popsicle sticks” if desired.

5. Freeze until solid. Unmold or peel from parchment immediately after removing from freezer, while still thoroughly frozen.

6. Serve immediately or return to freezer tightly wrapped or packaged in airtight containers.

Recipe and photo courtesy of Two Healthy Kitchens.

It is our hope that these healthy Valentine’s Day treats leave you feeling full of energy and love! As always, Urgent Care for Children is open all 365 days of the year should you begin to feel blue this holiday.