Let’s be honest: the best part of elementary school was when your classmates had a birthday and got to bring in a treat to share. Of course, the only thing better was when you were the birthday child and you got to choose the treat for the whole class.
Now that you’re a parent and in charge of providing the school birthday snacks your perspective may have changed. Sure, birthday cake and ice cream cones are delicious and fun for your kids to share with their friends, but they’re not very healthy options. Kids are already eating foods with lots of added sugar. You might want to consider bringing more healthy birthday treats to share with your child’s classmates.
Here are some ideas for healthy snacks that you can bring to your child’s classroom birthday party. Be sure to reach out to your child’s teacher to make sure you are aware of any food allergies, special dietary requirements, or medical conditions in the class.
Fresh fruit is a great option that’s easy to prepare. Apples, strawberries, grapes, and bananas are great for snack time and school birthday celebrations. Plus, fruit is great to serve in all different shapes and sizes, on its own or paired with other flavors. Apple slices go great with peanut butter, with some mini chocolate chips on top. Strawberries and bananas, of course, are perfect dipped in chocolate. Put together a fruit salad by gathering all of your child’s favorite fruits—apples, watermelon, cantelope, grapes, pineapple, strawberries—and combine them into small, individual cups, or skewer them onto sticks alongside a sweet fruit dip to make fruit kabobs. If the morning is the best time for you to come to the classroom and hand out treats, blend together some fruits into a fruit smoothie. Your child and all of their classmates will have a great start to their day!
If your child’s birthday parties always fall in the warmer months, you may be looking for a delicious treat they can share at recess to cool down. Frozen fruit pops are an easy way to pack lots of healthy food into one treat. Make your favorite fruit smoothie and pour it into small sleeves, and freeze it overnight. Or to add more flavor and nutrients, make a yogurt parfait and pour it into a popsicle mold—this one will go well with granola bars on the side. Taste of Home has easy recipes for both a layered yogurt pop and lemon-apricot fruit smoothie pops that are sure to be a hit at any grade level.
Those are pretty easy options, but if you need something even easier, look no further than a frozen banana! This classic summer treat is easy to make, easy to eat, and delicious, making them perfect classroom snacks. Get enough bananas for everyone in your child’s class. Peel the bananas, cut off the bottom, and insert a small popsicle stick to hold on to. Dip the banana into melted dark chocolate, and then lay it on a cookie sheet in the freezer overnight.
DIY Party Favors
If you’re worried that your healthier foods won’t have as much pizzaz as cupcakes, you can make them look fun as well as taste fun. Juggling With Kids has a great idea to combine two types of treats into a cute little butterfly. Fill one side of a little snack bag with sweet snacks, such as grapes or strawberry slices. Fill the other side with trail mix (beware of nut allergies!) or something with whole grains, such as animal crackers. Seal up the bag, and clip the middle with a clothespin to keep the fillings separate. Attach individually-wrapped cheese sticks to the clothespins or get the birthday child involved by having them decorate the clothespins with pipe cleaners, googly eyes, and paint or markers. Add some juice boxes for a nice, sweet drink to wash it all down!
Sometimes, your child absolutely insists on bringing cake or cupcakes to class on the big day. Cookies, cupcakes, birthday cake, candy bars—these are the most common birthday treats and your child might be expecting to bring something similar. Plus, the other children in the class may have similar expectations. Of course you don’t want to disappoint your child but if that’s just a little bit too much sugar for you to accept, don’t worry—you can still provide healthy alternatives.
You can make a perfectly delicious healthy chocolate cupcake with sugar-free cocoa powder, zucchini, and quinoa. Kimberly at The Daring Gourmet has an excellent recipe for Mega Healthy Triple Chocolate Cupcakes. This recipe will be so popular that it might just become a staple at your house! It’s possible to have your cupcake and eat it too—or, in this case, have a cupcake and stay healthy!
Many schools require any treats that students bring be pre-packaged and sealed. This is for safety reasons, so that teachers can read the nutrition label in case of emergency, and for other parents’ peace of mind. If this is a requirement at your child’s school (or if you’re looking for something easier than making treats yourself), go for your family’s favorite granola bars, dried fruit, popcorn bags, or veggie chips. Take inspiration from your child’s favorite snacks that they eat every day—they’ll want to share them with their classmates. It might also be a good idea to bring a treat with multiple flavor options, so that there’s something everyone in the class will enjoy. A prepackaged birthday treat is just as good as a homemade one. All that matters is that your child feels special and loved on their day.
Celebrating your child’s birthday can be a tricky time to prioritize healthy snack options, especially when it comes to school birthday treats. But if you’re armed with the right tools and some good ideas, you can provide your child with a happy birthday and healthy eating options. It is possible to live a healthy lifestyle and partake in all of the normal birthday festivities.