Let me first explain what I mean when I say, “Healthy Christmas Recipes for Kids.”
I know that some of you will look at the ingredient list and your first thought will be, “All of that butter! That's way too much fat to be healthy.” Others might say, “Look at all that sugar, that can't be healthy!” You will be thinking, “Those aren't healthy Christmas recipes for kids.”
Oh But they are!
Let's talk a little a bit about each of the recipes, and why I consider them healthy.
First Healthy Christmas Recipe for Kids
One of the BIGGEST reasons why this recipe is healthy is because it is homemade. Anytime you make a recipe from scratch, you are using fresh ingredients you know and trust. Plus, you aren't using additives or preservatives. There is nothing hidden. There are no long, weird sounding, or unknown ingredients. Thus, homemade, from scratch cooking is ALWAYS more healthy than store-bought, already prepared, processed foods.
Another reason this recipe is healthy is because it's made with whole wheat flour. When you use the whole grain to cook something, you are automatically increasing the fiber content, the magnesium, the vitamin B6, and a whole slew of other good wholesome vitamins and minerals.
So give yourself a hand if you are already using whole grains in your baking products at least SOME of the time!
A third reason why this recipe is a healthy Christmas recipe for kids is because it contains molasses. Molasses is made when cane sugar is processed. Molasses retains all of the nutrients in the original plant. Thus, many people consider molasses to be a superfood.
I'm not sure I'd consider molasses to be a superfood. However, I do know that it is rich in iron, calcium, selenium and a bunch of other good stuff. This is a fact that hardly anyone realizes. Now, you are one of the select few!
A fourth reason this cookie recipe is a healthy Christmas recipe for kids is because you need some fat in your diet. Butter is a source of saturated fat. You need saturated fat for various processes in your body. Thus, unless you are regularly eating excessive amounts of saturated fat (recommendation is <10% total calories average), this should not be a big concern.
Also, contrary to some of the latest trends, carbohydrates are extremely important to good health. The main thing is to try to make half of your carbohydrates come from whole grains. Making homemade, wholesome, from scratch cookies using whole grains is helping you to achieve this.
If you follow the recipe and use the recommended ingredients, you can feel good that you are offering a healthy Christmas recipe for your kids.
2nd Healthy Christmas Recipe for Kids
I'm just going to briefly mention why this is a BIG improvement health-wise compared to ordinary French toast. Adding bananas to this recipe increases fiber, potassium, magnesium, and vitamin B6. When you swap out the traditional white bread for whole wheat in this recipe, this increases the fiber, magnesium and B6 even more. When you use maple syrup instead of regular pancake syrup, this will increase the calcium and iron.
Overall, a tasty and healthy Christmas recipe for kids!
And last, but not least:
This one is quick and easy. The cheese is high in protein and calcium. This little snack only has about 40 calories per serving (per reindeer), if you use one wedge of Laughing Cow reduced fat Swiss cheese, two small pretzel twists, 1 small piece of red bell pepper, one slice of olive.
Adding red bell pepper slices on the side will give this tasty treat a HUGE boost of vitamin C. This is because bell pepper is one of the best sources of vitamin C you will find in a vegetable. Red bell peppers are not bitter like green peppers, and they are a tad sweet. I think they're delicious!
For those of you who are on gluten restrictions, here is a link for a chart on replacements you can use when baking with gluten free flours. This site has all sorts of pretty charts that will be useful for baking.
Also, I just discovered a flour from Bob's Red Mill that replaces gluten flour without having to add any of the other ingredients often necessary to make gluten-free baked foods taste and act like their glutenous cousins. Bob's is local to our area (Milwaukie, Oregon), and I trust their products. You can also purchase this at Amazon.
Also click here to find information on which foods have gluten.
One easy thing you can do if you are dairy-free is to substitute any regular milk with soy, almond, cashew or coconut. I don't recommend using fat free or reduced fat on the cookies. For the butter, you can use vegetable oil based margarine. Look for one that says, “gluten free” on the label.
I didn't add any decorating recipe or how to with the Molasses Gingerbread. This is because many kids have intolerances or reactions to artificial colors. If you have concerns and/or would like information on natural food colors. Here is a link to help with that.
There also inexpensive products on the market you can use that are free of dyes. Keep in mind when using natural colors that you might not end up with a vibrant red, for example, like you do with artificial colors.