Valentine’s Day often includes classroom celebrations where students bring candy, chocolate, cookies, and other sweet treats to share. These treats often include extra fat and sugar that are calorie dense and low in essential nutrients. It is important to teach kids while they are younger about healthier Valentine’s Day treats that are delicious and nutritious.
If you choose chocolate this year, choose the darkest chocolate possible with a high percentage of cocoa. Cocoa contains antioxidants that have been shown to be beneficial for heart health. Many brands of chocolate contain 50% cocoa, but some offer more than 80%.
It is also important to remember to control your portions when choosing chocolate. Dark chocolate may have health benefits, however still contains calories and fat. Try a dark chocolate treat with less than 150 calories:
• One ounce of dark chocolate (at least 70 percent cacao)
• Three Dove dark chocolate miniatures
• Two mini mint dark chocolate Three Musketeers bars
• Seven dark chocolate Hershey’s Kisses
• Nine Dove dark chocolate-covered almonds
This year, send a healthier treat to school with your kids to promote a healthy lifestyle, even on holidays that focus on sweet treats. Try one of the recipes below to send to your child’s classroom Valentine’s Day celebration!
Heart Shaped Cream Cheese and Strawberry Sandwiches
1 Slice Whole Wheat Bread
1 Tbsp. Strawberry Cream Cheese
1. Using a heart shaped cookie cutter, cut bread into heart shapes. Spread strawberry cream cheese onto bread.
2. Clean strawberries and remove stem. Cut strawberries in half (so they look similar to a heart) and place on top of bread with cream cheese. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
Strawberry Fruit Dip with Cupid Fruit Kabobs
1 ½ c Frozen Whole Strawberries, Thawed
2 c (16 oz) Plain Yogurt
½ tsp Vanilla Extract
1. Wash pineapple, strawberries, and blueberries. Cut fresh pineapple into triangles. Remove stems from strawberries. Using the skewers, place the strawberry on the skewer towards the middle, followed by a blueberry and then the pineapple triangle last. Use your creativity and make the other side of the skewer look like the end of an arrow!
2. In a blender, mix plain yogurt, thawed strawberries, and vanilla extract. Blend ingredients until smooth. Dip makes 11 servings.
3. Serve kabobs with chilled strawberry fruit dip.
Black Bean Brownies
1 can (15.5 oz.) black beans, rinsed and drained
3 Tbsp. canola oil
¼ c cocoa powder
1 pinch salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
¾ c white sugar
1 tsp instant coffee (optional)
½ c dark chocolate chips (optional)
1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Lightly grease an 8 x 8 square baking dish.
2. Combine the black beans, eggs, oil, cocoa powder, vanilla extract, sugar, and instant coffee in a blender; blend until smooth; pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle the chocolate chips over the top of the mixture.
3. Bake in the preheated oven until the top is dry and the edges start to pull away from the sides of the pan, about 30 minutes.
4. Cut into squares or use a cookie cutter to shape into hearts.