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Making healthy choices available during fun celebrations reinforces the healthy eating messages you've been establishing with your kids. Serve the healthy items right alongside the special treats. Then let kids decide what they want to try. If you serve it, they should be able to eat it, so if there is something you're serving that you don't really want them to eat, why even make it an option?

Here are several fun and simple ideas for Valentine's Day that incorporate a variety of healthy foods.

Sampler Tray of Red Fruits and Vegetables

Ask your children to help you come up with a list of red fruits and vegetables. Here are several to get you started: red bell peppers, watermelon, apples, red pears, strawberries, raspberries, cherries, pomegranate, cherry tomatoes, dried cranberries, red grapes, Cara Cara oranges, Moro (blood) oranges and grapefruit.

Serve alone, with a fun fruit dip or red pepper hummus. My kids were excited to have so many options at once that no dip was needed. Plus they thought it was pretty special to have their food in heart shapes. 

Valentine's Fruit Dips

Cinamonee Dip – this is a simple recipe that kids can help make. 

Servings: 1

  • ½ cup plain or vanilla low-fat yogurt 
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract

Mix together all ingredients in a small bowl. Serve alongside sliced apples or graham crackers.

Berry Fluffy Dip

Servings: 15 (2 Tbsp. portions)

  • 1 (7 oz.) jar marshmallow crème
  • 1 (8 oz.) container low-fat strawberry cream cheese

Mix together all ingredients until smooth. Serve alongside fresh strawberries or fruit kabobs.

Perfectly Pink Fruit Dip

Servings: 2 (¼ cup portions)

  • ½ cup low-fat vanilla yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ¼ cup frozen strawberries, thawed and chopped finely or 1-2 drops red food coloring (optional if you want to the dip to be pink)

Mix all ingredients together until blended. Serve with fresh fruit.

Other Valentine's Food Ideas

Baked Cinnamon & Sugar Tortilla Chip Hearts

  • 3 small flour tortillas (whole wheat would be great too)
  • Non-stick spray 
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon sugar

Preheat oven to 325°F. Prepare a large baking sheet with non-stick spray. In a small bowl stir cinnamon and sugar together. Set aside. Lay a tortilla flat on a cutting board. Use cookie cutters to cut a variety of shapes out. Repeat until you have the quantity desired. Spread shapes onto prepared baking sheet. (Go ahead and bake the "scraps" of tortillas too. They still taste great!) Spray tortillas with non-stick spray. Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar mixture. Bake for 10-13 minutes.

Very Berry Smoothies

Servings: 5 (½ cup portions)

  • 1 cup fresh or frozen strawberries and raspberries
  • 1 cup plain non-fat yogurt
  • ½ cup fruit juice
  • 4 ice cubes (if using fresh fruit; omit if using frozen fruit)

Combine all ingredients in a blender and process on high until mixture is smooth and creamy.

A Sprinkle of Cinnamon Heart 

Place a heart shaped cookie cutter on top of a serving of apple sauce or vanilla yogurt. Sprinkle cinnamon into the cookie cutter to create a heart shape on top. 

Build Your Own Kabobs

Select a variety of bite size fruits, cheese, marshmallows, etc. and build kabobs using a wooden skewer. You can cut the skewers in half to make them a child-friendly size. If you don’t have wooden skewers, coffee stirrers, straws or toothpicks can be used as well.

Heart Shaped Foods

Having a toddler and preschooler at home, I often cut their foods up anyway before serving. Swap out your knife for a small heart shaped cookie cutter to make meals or snacks fit the Valentine's theme. Easy foods to make heart shaped: cheese, sliced ham or Canadian bacon, bell peppers, bread/sandwiches, tortillas/quesadillas or softer fruits. 

Even More Fun Valentine's Food Ideas

  • Berries and Bananas with Chocolate Syrup for Dip 
  • Strawberry Flavored Milk
  • English Muffin Pizzas with Heart Shaped Ham or Canadian Bacon
  • Heart Shaped Cheese Quesadillas with Red Bell Pepper Hearts

Audra Losey MS RD

Registered Dietitian from UNL Extension

Audra Losey is a wife and mom of two young children. She is a registered dietitian with a master's degree in Community Nutrition and Health Promotion and dual bachelor degrees in Exercise Science and Dietetics. Audra is employed by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension Nutrition Education Program teaching limited resource families in Douglas and Sarpy counties about healthy eating on a budget. She's especially interested in teaching kids about food and physical activity, and connect ...

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