Here are couple snacks that suit the season, satisfy our love of crunch, our sweet tooth, and have some nutritional value as well.

Holiday Rice Cake Snack

This snack requires minimal prep time. Parents choose what to use for the toppings (e.g. candies, dried fruit, cheese) and kids enjoy using their imagination to decorate the snack.

You will need:

  • 2 tablespoons cream cheese, softened
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 plain rice cake
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons of things such as mixed dried fruit, cinnamon candies, cut up gum drops (especially red and green), bits of milk or dark chocolate, broken or crushed candy cane, bits of cheese, small pieces of raw veggies (small sprigs of broccoli make great antlers), or fresh fruit, etc.

Mix the cinnamon and cream cheese together; spread the mixture over the rice cake (leaving a thin cheese-free border at the edge for easy pick up). Decorate with the toppings you have chosen.

Cheery-O Christmas Trees

Children usually enjoy shaping and decorating these trees.

You will need:

  • 6 cups plain or multi-grain Cheerios, or a similar cereal
  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 4 1/2 cups miniature marshmallows
  • green gel food color
  • red cinnamon decors (candies) and/or sliced gumdrops

Preparation:

  1. Line a cookie sheet with waxed paper.
  2. Pour the cereal into a 4 quart bowl and set aside.
  3. In a 3 quart saucepan, place the butter and marshmallows; stir constantly over low heat until the mixture is smooth. Remove saucepan from the heat.
  4. Stir the food color into the mixture until color is even and pour the now green marshmallow mixture over the cereal. Stir gently until the cereal is evenly coated.
  5. Lightly spray your (and your helper’s) hands with cooking spray. For one tree, take about 1/4 of the cereal mixture and shape it into a Christmas tree (cone shape, no trunk) on the cookie sheet.
  6. Decorate by pressing candies into the tree and refrigerate until firm—about an hour.
  7. Store the trees in a loosely covered container.

Optional: Use a small tube of icing to create garlands around the trees.

Tips: Wash the cooking spray off your hands before applying decorations on the trees. If you don’t want to use cooking spray on your hands, you can run cold water over them just before shaping a tree. The tree mixture may not stick together if you use margarine.

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