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Six healthy holiday snacks you can make this Christmas

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, true, but it’s also the most gluttonous. From Halloween until New Years, our calendars are filled with food-centered events from trick-or-treating to Christmas cookie exchanges. And if you have little ones, the sugar rushes alone are enough to make you want to skip ahead straight to March.

But there are some wonderful, healthy alternatives to counterstrike all the candy canes and chocolate your children are grabbing at. Whether it’s for a simple at-home snack, a class party, or your neighborhood caroling event, there are plenty of slightly healthy options for your kids this season.

What kid doesn’t love food on a stick? Instead of a candy cane or lollipop, how about a Grinch Kabob? Skewer a green grape, slice of banana, and a red strawberry, and top it with a mini-marshmallow. Voila! You have some little grinchy-looking fruit that will make your heart grow three times, just like the Grinch’s.

In the same vein of thinking, a caprese skewer might be just the right snack. Grape tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, and basil leaves give off those same Christmas colors and are a simple treat for any holiday gathering.

Looking for something for a slightly more sophisticated palate? You simply cannot match the beauty of chocolate covered fruit. Yes, we all know about chocolate covered strawberries, but how about dipping a clementine wedge in candy chocolate then giving it a sprinkle of sea salt? Mixing the orange and strawberries on a plate gives an amazing display and you’ll be thrilled with your children’s boost in Vitamin C.

Stick with the color theme by making a holiday hummus. Garlic hummus, if your kids will let you — with a finely chopped beefsteak tomato, chopped mint and parsley, some lemon juice and you have a colorful, healthy, and delicious recipe perfect for your pita chips.

Maybe you need a little more whimsy in your life. Making fun foods for your little elves can still be healthy. Making “reindeer food” is a great way to bundle up trail mix of sorts for the holidays. Raisins, sunflower seeds, dried fruit, pretzels, cheese cubes and popcorn — or anything really — can be mixed and served in small cups for a fun treat. You can even save some to leave out on Christmas Eve.

Making anything into a holiday shape immediately ups the whimsy factor and makes kids want to gobble it up. Arrange sugar snap peas into a tree shape and decorate it with pomegranate seeds, topped with a cut out cheese star. Turn hard boiled eggs into snowmen by leveling the tops and bottoms and stacking two on a toothpick. Use peppercorns to make the eyes and buttons, with sliced carrot rounds to make a top hat. You can also make a snack menorah using a banana, placing pretzel “candles” in it, and lighting them with marshmallows. You could do the same with laying asparagus out as candles on a plate and use sliced radishes or eggs as the flame.

Keeping the holidays healthy for your kids isn’t always easy, but making it fun and exciting sure goes a long way in keeping them away from the sweets.