Toddlers needing sleep is a no-brainer. A newborn sleeps anywhere from 16-17 hours a day, and as they grow older still require over 10 hours. This is a necessary amount for their mental, emotional, as well as physical growth. However, studies show that naps aren’t just for little kids. People of all ages can greatly benefit from this practice.
Did you know?
In much of the world, particularly Latin America, they have what is called “siesta”, which is loosely defined in Spanish as an afternoon power nap. It is commonplace in many of these countries, even places like Portugal and Spain, to take a short rest in the middle of the day as a societal practice. Businesses close and then re-open to prepare for a second rush. Some people say it is due the intense heat that occurs at midday around this time; although it could be that coupled with the consumption of the most filling meal of the day at lunchtime. Sounds nice, right?
Latinos are not the only people group that have adapted this. In Japan, they are beginning to implement what are called “sleep salons” where individuals can take a power nap if they need to. Japanese schools – even high schools – are also beginning to integrate a 15 minute afternoon nap, mandatory for all students to increase alertness. In China, their midday rest is so ingrained in their culture it is seen as a Constitutional right. Did you hear that? Chinese adults all over the country view taking a nap in the middle of the day as important as paid leave, or health insurance.
Sadly in United States, napping is often viewed as indulgence and even laziness. The only city known to incorporate a napping policy has been seen in a few companies in New York city, but that is it. Yet – we are considered one of the most fast-paced, stressed out, and sleep-deprived countries. Putting it in perspective, it’s rather shocking.
Here’s what the Sleep Foundation has to say about the effect naps can have on the adult body:
- Naps can restore alertness, enhance performance, and reduce mistakes and accidents. A study at NASA on sleepy military pilots and astronauts found that a 40-minute nap improved performance by 34% and alertness 100%.
- Naps can increase alertness in the period directly following the nap and may extend alertness a few hours later in the day.
- Scheduled napping has also been prescribed for those who are affected by narcolepsy.
- Napping has psychological benefits. A nap can be a pleasant luxury, a mini-vacation. It can provide an easy way to get some relaxation and rejuvenation.
How would one get a restful sleep in the constant chaos of American hustle and bustle? Many recommend short naps, anywhere from 15-20 minutes. The reason for this brevity is because after a certain length of time our bodies can slip into a deeper sleep, making it more difficult to wake up and can even leave you feeling more tired than you were before. This is why children, who require more sleep than adults, nap over an hour at a time because it allows the child to cycle through this deeper sleep before they wake up.
Have trouble falling asleep? You are arguably one of many thousands of people who claim they are unable to have a midday catnap! However, science would argue and say that every single individual is capable of napping, it is just up to the person to determine what would distract them from doing so and the mental barriers that would need to be removed in order to gradually enter into sleep.
Experts suggest that you do not nap any closer than three hours to your bedtime, and try to wait at least a few hours after you wake up. It is recommended to cover your eyes with a mask or make it so there is little to no light getting into the room you are in. Also, eliminate sound the best you can and discover what relaxes you. Some use essential oils or calming music or sounds such as ocean waves. Set your alarm for 25 minutes or so, depending on how long it typically takes you to fall asleep, so that you will not exceed 20 minutes.
If you are a stay-at-home mommy (or daddy!) with a toddler who only requires about one nap a day, the best advice often claimed is to “sleep when they do!” Afternoon naps can be a source of bonding between you and your child, and can leave you both feeling rejuvenated.
Did you know that there can be as much bacteria in an unbrushed mouth as there are on a bathroom floor? Toothbrushes can be a breeding grounds for all kinds of germs and yet it is something we use in our mouths every day!
They can contain often harmful viruses and pathogens; and because most infections and sicknesses are transferred through the mouth, why wouldn’t you want to have it as clean as possible?
While there is no way to have a completely bacteria-free brush, there are precautions you can take to making sure nothing is being spread around, especially if you have a big family where sickness can easily bounce from person to person.
There are more than just sanitary reasons in play. When the bristles on a toothbrush begin to bend outward, it is rendered by dental professionals to be ineffective. This is prone to happen after a few months of frequent use. As the bristles lose their suppleness, getting plaque and other bacteria off of teeth becomes more difficult. You want firm, flexible, and straight so that the toothbrush can do its job properly.
Here are some habits you and your family can develop to ensure happy, healthy, and clean mouths for all.
Replace your toothbrush at least every 3 months
A great way to remember to do this is to pick up a variety pack every few months on one of your big grocery shops. If this seems too expensive for a big household, Dollar Stores all over the U.S. have packs of two or more for sale. This means if you have 5 people in your household and you replace their brushes 4 times a year, it is well under $20 dollars to keep them regularly changed! Twenty dollars a year averages out to just under two dollars a month.
Keep it Away from the Toilet
Charles Gerba, Ph.D., Professor at the University of Arizona College of Public Health, Microbiology & Environmental Sciences, remarks that after a toilet has been flushed in a restroom, the spray from the force of the flush settles on all surrounding objects. This means that fecal matter is living on most toothbrushes left out in the bathroom (can I get a big “EEEEEWWWW”?!).
This can be easily remedied, by keeping brushes at least three meters from the toilet’s surface and also by closing the lid before flushing (especially with #2!)
While it might seem easier to keep the brushes in a sealed container, this can actually cause mold to grow and bacteria to spread more than in open air.
Don’t Share Brushes
It may seem like a no-brainer, but even if you are comfortable sharing drinks with family members, toothbrushes are drastically different! Instead of simply putting your mouth on something, think of it as sharing a device that is designed to scrape all of that bacteria out!
Contrary to popular belief, toothbrushes are not benefitted by being put in the microwave or dishwasher for cleaning. Not only is it not as effective as it seems but it can actually cause damage to the brush, causing you to have to replace it sooner.
A recent report said that an adult will spend an average of 7 hours a day on the internet. When we examine social media and search engine traffic, this statistic seems not so surprising. Living in these digital times, people of all ages can become mesmerized and enticed by scrolling and tapping on a personal device; killing hours of time for any number of reasons.
Millennials then are faced with a challenge, as children are even more easily hypnotized and pacified than adults. If parents need quiet or a distraction it can be easily remedied by simply handing over a device, keeping a child occupied for up to hours at a time. Momentarily this seems like a quick-fix, and each and every time it becomes harder to withhold and to say no.
Don’t panic – we’ve all done it, and we aren’t here to pass judgement. We just want to share facts about enabling excessive iPad, iPhone, and tablet use for kiddos.
A lot of times children’s games and videos on mobile devices are designed for to be educational. This is not a negative thing. The problem is not that screens themselves are dangerous, but that they are addictive to adults as well toddlers all the way up until high school age.
Remember how your mom never let you sit too close to the TV? Maybe she or your dad limited your viewing time to two or three episodes a day? Mobile device usage is a double-whammy in this respect. It is always held within a few inches to the face, blocking out everything else and completely diminishing the surrounding environment. Remember that tablet games are also interactive, meaning that it requires active participation from the child and therefore seizes their attention far more than television does.
Dr. Aric Sigman from the British Psychological Society says that when small children become pacified in this way, it creates the opposite affect of what you desire to occur without the device: the skills to engage with others and be entertained without relying on a screen.
Screen time too early in life “is the very thing impeding the development of the abilities that parents are so eager to foster through the tablets. The ability to focus, to concentrate, to lend attention, to sense other people’s attitudes and communicate with them, to build a large vocabulary—all those abilities are harmed,” Sigman says.
The exact psychology behind this is extensive, but at least one aspect of it can be explained quite simply.
Children are far more impressionable than adults and during development their minds are hypersensitive to their environments. When the brain is overstimulated repeatedly over a series of months and years, simpler activities like coloring with crayons or playing outside do not satisfy the mind because these activities are not as complex or entertaining. Upon discovering it is not as stimulating, boredom kicks in faster and so does the eagerness to return back to the mobile device. Therefore, prolonged screen-time can desensitize the want to play outside, exercise, and use imagination; all critical aspects of both physical and mental growth.
Remember when you got a yo-yo, and it was the coolest thing in the world, but then at one point you discovered video games, and the yo-yo collected dust on the shelf for the rest of its life? It’s like that, only a continual, cycling complex.
How is this remedied? Well, the simple answer is just to limit use or to not introduce it at all until the child is older. However, if you are wanting to still actively use mobile devices in your home, here are a few ideas we’ve cooked up to use as alternatives.
1. The next time you are in the car longer than a few minutes, encourage to make pictures in the clouds outside the window.
2. Play I-spy, by describing an object along the road and having your child guess what it is.
3. If they are old enough to read, try the alphabet game. That means start with looking for objects that start with an A, then B, etc.
4. Choose one day a week where there is absolutely no screen-time. Play outside or visit family and friends. Explain that this is just one day, and be consistent with the habit. This means no screen time for parents either, other than talking or texting when necessary, so as to set an example. If you feel this to be too daunting, instead remove screens at least 90 minutes before bedtime and ask all your children to turn in their phones and devices. This will help everyone in the family sleep better, too.
5. If a child is stubborn and resistant to these ideas, change the passcode on the device. Tell them after an hour of outside play, chores, or any other activity you chose you can give it to them when they have completed the given task.
We hope these ideas are helpful and assist you in cultivating healthy and attentive young minds! To read more on this topic, click here.
Spring has sprung! With the long winter behind and warm weather ahead, now is the time kids will start playing outside more and more. Why not show them an outdoor hobby that could be a valuable skill for the rest of their life?
Gardening and landscaping are a great skill set to have because both are great for recreational and commercial purposes. Whether you already grow your own vegetables, herbs, or maybe have only a few plants around the house, having greenery near or inside the home has proven benefits. Cultivate the interest with your children now – they may just have a green thumb!
Here are some fun and easy gardening ideas for kids:
Egg Carton Greenhouse Via Hazel and Company
Egg cartons make excellent containers for soil. They are just absorbent enough to prevent the dirt becoming waterlogged. Simply pour soil in the carton so that it is about half-full (enough to still see the dividers that go between the eggs). Place the seeds on the top soil, and gently press them in (depending on the seeds you buy, it may say on the packaging to plant slightly deeper). Then water the soil thoroughly.
When the carton appears to have mostly dried, wrap plastic wrap around the carton. This creates a “greenhouse” effect because moisture stays in the soil longer. This means the seeds will not have to be watered again until after they have sprouted.
The greatest part is that egg cartons fit most standard window sills, so they can get as much sun as possible. What is more, if it gets knocked over there is no mess!
Avocado Pit Planting via KidsGardening.Org
Take an avocado pit and let it dry out for a few days. Then, take three toothpicks and poke them on all sides of the pit to suspend it over a cup of water. This is particularly neat for kids to watch because it does not take long to see sprouting out the top! Make sure it is not submerged but that the water comes up at only about half.
Once the pit has sprouted, pot the plant in fresh soil and watch it grow!
Herb Terranium via Feels Like Home Blog
Terraniums are fun, beautiful, and you do not have to wait for them to grow – this might be a good idea for kids who are easily bored or impatient! This particular terranium can be completed for under 15 dollars in less than an hour!
Start off with a large jar or fishbowl – any glass container that has an easily accessible top. From there, buy two or more small plants or herbs you’d like to put in the terranium. Either find some gravel from around your yard or go out and buy some, and place it at the bottom of the jar.
Next, you’re going to want to separate the soil from the gravel. This can be done by using the mesh bags similar to the ones gravel or fish rocks come in. If you did not have to purchase either of these items, other mesh materials like pantyhose will work. From there, pour the soil on top so that water can go through but soil does not get trapped in the rocks. This is because a glass bowl is impermeable, and the plants will drown if there is no draining system.
If you would like to add moss, it can be found in sidewalk cracks, trees, or perhaps other areas of your backyard. While it is not mandatory, it really brings the whole look together. Before placing the moss into the terrarium, be sure to soak the dirt side in water so that the soil can bond together.
Before planting, try a few arrangements to see what would look best. Once you have planted them, be sure to water them right away and then add decorations if desired (rocks, shells, etc).
Children typically begin getting loose teeth in between ages 6 and 7. When the first tooth starts to wiggle, it marks your child’s first steps on a long journey. The last adult teeth (wisdom teeth) usually arrive anywhere from 17 to 21. This means for a decade and a half, growing, losing old teeth, and maintaining a clean mouth is very crucial. This will facilitate the transition from a child’s mouth to teeth they will (hopefully!) have forever.
New teeth growing in and old teeth falling out means that a lot of drastic changes will be taking place inside your child’s mouth, even if it is spread out over a few years. To reduce chances of infection and decay, be sure to be adamant about them keeping up on brushings, flossing, and dental appointments.
There are 20 baby teeth that arrive in totality typically by age 3, and remain for roughly two years. Age 5-6 is the prime age a child will discover their first loose tooth. If this occurs before age 5, this is nothing to worry about, as some kids are just early bloomers. However, if teeth continue to loosen and fall out at this age, consult a dentist to ensure there is nothing wrong. Most children will have lost all by age 12, but once again, this age is not indefinite.
The last teeth to arrive are the third molars, also called wisdom teeth. While these to not arrive typically until late teens, these may have to be surgically removed depending on how they affect surrounding areas.
The prospect of losing this many teeth in a few years can seem scary to a child; especially one that is very sensitive or does not like change. The best thing to do is ensure them that it is a totally normal thing (and although they won’t remember teething, it is not really more painful than that!). The good news is that, because children all begin losing teeth at around the same age, they will be having the same tooth loss-experiences with their peers and be able to swap stories; making the experience feel that much more normal.
Baby teeth fall out typically in the same order they grew in. This usually begins with the bottom front teeth and then move on to the top front. The general rule of thumb is that roughly every 6 months, 4 teeth erupt to the surface of the gums.
It is recommended however that you or your child does not FORCE a tooth out before it is ready. While a baby tooth being knocked out isn’t the worst thing that can happen (as an adult tooth will eventually grow in its place), it can expose sensitive tissue which can get infected. Definitely encourage wiggling and moving the tooth around, as this will slowly relax the tissue around it and enable the tooth growing behind to glide gently into its place.
So give up old tricks try tying dental floss to a tooth and a door! Be patient, wait for the tooth to loosen enough to where the adult tooth is just beginning to emerge. This will make the transition faster and smoother.
Many parents will have to deal with some kind of oral injury with their kids at some point. Teeth can cause quite a bit of pain if they are damaged, and are sometimes knocked out by accident!
Did you know that The Kidds Place has an mobile app? On the app is a feature specifically designed for dental emergencies and will notify one of our pediatric dentists right away! Simply take a picture of the problem and upload it via the app. Take a moment to describe the issue and you won’t have to wait until the next business day to hear back.
Here are tools you can utilize once the problem is identified before you notify a dental care professional.
Clean the area of the affected tooth thoroughly. Rinse the mouth vigorously with warm water or use dental floss to dislodge impacted food or debris. DO NOT place aspirin on the gum or on the aching tooth. If face is swollen apply cold compresses. Take the child to a dentist.
Cut or Bitten Tongue, Lip, or Cheek –
Apply ice to bruised areas. If there is bleeding apply firm but gentle pressure with a gauze or cloth. If bleeding does not stop after 15 minutes or it cannot be controlled by simple pressure, take child to hospital emergency room.
Knocked Out Permanent/Adult Tooth –
Find the tooth. Handle the tooth by the crown, not the root portion. You may rinse the tooth but DO NOT clean or handle the tooth unnecessarily. Inspect the tooth for fractures. If it is solid and undamaged, try to reinsert it in the socket. Have the patient hold the tooth in place by biting on a gauze. If you cannot reinsert the tooth, transport the tooth in a cup containing the patient’s saliva or milk. The tooth may also be carried in the patient’s mouth. The patient must see a dentist IMMEDIATELY! Time is a critical factor in saving the tooth.
Do you remember the age you started flossing?
Do you still struggle, as an adult, to floss daily?
The truth is, some of our longest-lasting habits begin at a young age. Small tasks like combing our hair or tying our shoes begin in the earliest years, long before we’ve fully developed the strength in our hands to master them.
For children, these serve as mile markers on their road to independence, as they should: learning these basic skills are those which they will use the rest of their life. Anyone who has kids knows celebrating these baby steps of development can be really special to watch unfold. Everyone has their firsts, right?
What to Look For
Kids usually have all of their baby teeth by the time they are two years old. As their mouths grow, change, and new teeth begin arriving, the space in between closes up. Experts suggest that teeth come closer together anywhere between 2 to 6 years old; basically the time between a child gets all their teeth, and the age they typically begin losing them to larger, adult teeth.
When your child’s teeth look like they’re touching, this is the time to instill the habit of flossing. Tight spaces can be a breeding ground for bacteria, which is a place a toothbrush simply cannot reach.
By age 2, it is recommended that a child has seen a dentist at least once. So if you are unsure about beginning to floss, ask your pediatric dentist at your child’s next appointment and they will be able to tell you when the time is right. Again, every child is different.
How to Start
Depending on how old, they may insist trying to floss on their own. But remember, even if they are almost 6 or so, they will not have the full strength and dexterity in their hands to floss properly until they are at least 10.
Establish habits, and establish them early. You can do this by setting a good example and showing your child the proper technique before you do it to them.
Start by taking a generous amount of floss (roughly 18 inches), and hold it at either end with both hands. Then, wrap your finger around towards the center, until there is about an inch of floss remaining. This is what you will use in between the teeth. Every few teeth or so, unwrap and re-wrap the floss so that the inch is at a different place in the floss.
Gently glide in between each tooth using back-and-forth motions. Make sure your child sees this, so they know not to simply just plunge the floss deep into the gums (ouch!)
Old Habits Die Hard
Once this is developed, it can become a part of a child’s routine, and they can become quicker at it so it is not seen as an incredibly time-consuming chore. If this is the case, flossing will be done less and less and become a thing of the past. This means bloody gums at their next dental appointment (more ouch!) and flossing will be that much harder to get back into.
Set a good example, and teach your child to floss every day. It will be a skill they will carry with them the rest of their life!
Does your child have ADHD? Or does he or she have hyperactive tendencies when sugar is ingested?
We’ve all heard, “Kids going crazy after eating candy is a psychological reaction. There’s no proof it actually does anything.” But if you’re a parent and you’ve seen and dealt with enough sugar meltdowns, have no fear. There is actually an explanation.
The truth is, the above statement may have some truth – there is no clinical research that suggests that sugar intake is the direct result of ADHD (Attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder) or that it increases the symptoms of learning disorders, such as ADD or ADHD in young children.
Yet despite the lack of medical evidence, there is an overwhelming amount of claims that parents with children of ADHD and even adults with the disorder notice a change in behavior when copious amounts of sugar and carbohydrates are ingested.
However, there is a direct link between children’s abilities to focus and their protein intake. Neurotransmitters in the brain are responsible for regulating alertness, as well as allowing your body to sleep.
Protein helps regulate these chemical messengers, whereas ingesting sugars and carbohydrates (which eventually break down into simple sugars) trigger drowsiness, slowing down the process of gaining control of focus. So while sugar doesn’t make kids “hyper”, it counteracts a competent attention span.
Whether your child really does have Attention Deficit Hyperactive disorder, or they really just have a ton of energy and are prone to misbehave, is difficult to tell without being examined by a pediatrician. While medication may be necessary for extreme cases, try changing a child’s diet first. It may not be easy, but it will help them for the rest of their life, despite you, loved ones, and teachers wanting immediate results – a quick-fix is never a lasting solution.
While there’s nothing wrong with sugar in smaller doses, excess sugar can hinder the work of the neurotransmitters and can be combatted with a protein-rich breakfast and lunch. This means skipping out on sugary cereals, donuts, and chocolate milk and replacing them with eggs, meat, and whole grains. It doesn’t have to be a whole lot, either. Balanced and portioned breakfasts can kick-start the day off right, which is a nod to the common mantra “the most important meal of the day.”
These findings support the popular belief that people with ADHD do better on a protein-rich breakfast and lunch. Yet child psychologist Vincent J. Monastra, Ph.D., head of an ADHD clinic in Endicott, New York, says that, of the 500 children a year he evaluates for ADHD, less than 5 percent are eating the government-recommended amounts of protein at breakfast and lunch. In addition to boosting alertness, says Monastra, a protein-rich breakfast seems to reduce the likelihood that ADHD medication will cause irritability or restlessness. – Attitude Magazine
Don’t forget fruit! Fruit has natural sugars and vitamins that are equally as important to a balanced diet. But be aware, anything packaged or processed – canned fruit, juices from concentrate, fruit snacks, popsicles, etc – most definitely have high-fructose corn syrup and other preservatives found in candy; making there to be very little difference between the two. When in doubt, stick to fresh, raw, and organic!
The hardest part about helping kids eat right is if they are already accustomed to a sugary diet. Ask your pediatrician for help transitioning into healthier foods, especially if you believe it could help your child’s focus levels.
Easing a child into healthy eating may take some time, but experts recommend more children involvement in the kitchen. While this may seem counter-productive, you’re actually teaching them life skills and healthy choices that can last a lifetime.
The phrase “New Year’s Resolutions” around this time of year can be downright cringe-worthy to hear for some of us.
Every January 1st comes and goes, and according to the polls the most commonly set resolutions are to eat healthier, lose weight, and spend more time with family. While innately these are great things, and should be desired anyway, there are some that just go gung-ho with their goals and are not realistic with themselves.
You can picture it now: hundreds of people signing contracts to gym memberships they will hardly ever use, nicotine patches going on sale for those who are determined to quit smoking by February, and local markets experiencing higher inventory demand due to the compulsion of individuals who have suddenly decided to “only buy organic from now on.”
It’s tradition. It’s cultural. You might be concerned about the idea of your child falling into the world’s dangerous mindset that they need to look or behave a certain way now that there is a different number on the calendar. It is for this reason we’ve compiled some noteworthy New Year’s resolutions children have set for themselves – and we hope they will encourage you to help your children set their own!
Do not confuse a resolution with a rule, like “go to bed on time” or “finish your homework every night” – this is a given. A resolution is something out of the ordinary, going beyond every day expectation, yet still leading to stretching and self-improvement. However, ensure that these are attainable, or at least reasonable goals. If there are too many, or something that the child is not interested in at all, certainly encourage it, but do not press it. Make sure these are things you BOTH want! The best part about this will be engaging your child to discuss where they are at, what they want to accomplish, and to not just help them be what they want to be “when they grow up”, but to stand by and help them grow here and now.
No more than 2 or 3 resolutions are really necessary. They could be centered around your child’s health, character, or physical challenges.
Once they have been made, print them in bold letters on a sheet of paper and tape it to your child’s wall. This will be a constant reminder for them to continue and pursue their goals.
Here are some ideas:
- Pledge to set aside at least 15 minutes every day to read (either alone or with a parent) outside of school. Before bed is usually a good time.
- Set a goal to make a new friend (or two!) at school or a regular activity.
- Pick one day out of the week (Saturday is probably best) and let that be your “candy day”. From now on, you cannot have candy any other day of the week!
- Practice complimenting at least one person per day.
- Try a new sport, after school activity, or hobby and practice it consistently for at least 3 months.
- (For girls) Grow out hair long enough to donate to Locks of Love.
- Practice limiting video games to only 30 minutes on weekdays and NO phones whatsoever at the dinner table.
- Learn how to do a new chore (mowing the lawn, sorting laundry) and alternate doing them alongside siblings or parents.
- Find foreign language flashcards and memorize the basic site words.
- Donate a bag full of toys you no longer want or play with to a local shelter or children’s hospital.
Any of these can be adjusted to fit both the goals your child wants to set and the amount of effort you want to spend in holding them accountable. Having these goals in visible view is key, whether they be on the refrigerator, in their locker, or hanging up in their bedroom. If one of their resolutions is not recurring and has been completed, check it or cross it off the list. This will give your child a feeling of accomplishment, and will hopefully inspire them to set another!
Happy New Year!
Apple cobbler, pumpkin pie, fudge brownies – oh my!
‘Tis the season for incredible sweets and frosted delights. Statistically, the average person gains anywhere from 7-10 pounds between Thanksgiving and Christmas – and no wonder! Sugary treats are an integral part of holiday tradition, and not just in the United States either.
Sugar and even excess carbohydrates can cause harm to little teeth! Even if you do a good job of monitoring your child’s treat intake intake this time of year, there will be so many times exceptions are to be made. Family parties, cookie decorating with friends, and the constant aroma baked goods coming from the kitchen at grandma or auntie’s house. These various occasions take place virtually only once a year and with family members rarely visited.
Whatever the traditions in your home, and the homes of your loved ones, these are often recipes that have brought family together for generations.
Instead of bagging these traditions, you can always create new ones in the midst of them. Here are some amazing, healthy, and fun foods to make – that are no less Christmasy! These can be excellent alternatives when you are unhappy with your number on the scale or concerned about your children’s constant “sugar highs” that they can be more prone to this time of year.
(***Please note that not every option is 100% free of processed sugar. All recipes have been credited to their various authors.)
- Grinch Food Kabobs (via Clean and Scensible)
Tiny marshmallows, green grapes, thin banana slices, and strawberries, arranged on a toothpick. Be sure to cut off the top and bottom in the strawberry, and use the scraps for a fruit salad to avoid waste! Makes for a great afternoon snack, and easy to eat on the go. Can be refrigerated for later.
- Pita Tree Appetizers (via Betty Crocker)
Ingredients: 4 pita folds or pita bread roughly 6” across, pretzel sticks (halved), ½ cup of fat-free sour cream, ½ cup guacamole, 2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley, ¼ teaspoon garlic-pepper blend, ¼ cup diced red bell pepper.
First, be sure to toast each piece of pita bread, and then slice it into eighths. Insert pretzel sticks halfway through the bottom of each pita triangle. Mix sour cream, guacamole, parsley, garlic-pepper blend, and spread onto squares. Sprinkle the diced red peppers on top and refrigerate to store. Pita Tree Appetizers – perfect for any Christmas party!
3. Fruit Candy Canes (via Nourishing Minimalism)
Very simple, with so many variations! For a traditional looking candy cane, thinly slice strawberries and bananas at a slight angle. Keep rounded ends of each fruit and put them off to the side. Create a curved cane by alternating fruit and top each end off. Serve on a plate and enjoy!
4. Rudolph Pancakes (via Kitchen Fun with My 3 Sons)
Totally straightforward! You will need pancake mix (whichever recipe you prefer), creamed whip in a can, strawberries, preferred bacon, and chocolate chips. Maple syrup optional. Create two round pancakes of different sizes and stack them as pictured. Then pour 2 ear-shaped tiny pancakes and set them to the sides of the bigger pancake. Take two full strips of bacon for the antlers, then cut a third bacon strip in half to “branch” off of the original antler. Add more if desired. For the face, spray 2 dollops of whipped cream and top it off with 2 chocolate chips to create the eyes. For the red nose, add a strawberry or raspberry at the center of the smaller pancake. Perfect for a Christmas breakfast!
5. Dipped Apple Slices (via PartyCity)
Cut green and red apples into thin slices. To prevent slices from browning, first add lemon juice. Take melted chocolate (or white chocolate) and dip each slice halfway, then set it on wax paper to cool. While chocolate is still liquid, add festive sprinkles to stick and harden. Arrange in a row or in a circle and serve!
For more ideas, visit Pinterest and be sure to swap recipes with other moms! They will definitely appreciate the ideas to go easier on the sugar this year!