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Healthy Valentine’s Day Party Treats (& Games)

Healthy Valentines Day Party Treats

Calling all red food!

(ahem)

Calling all naturally red food!

(ahem)

Calling all naturally red food not chock full of sugar and junk!

I am planning a kids’ Valentine’s Day party at school again this year, and I am determined to plan fun games and food that don’t include sugar, artificial food dyes, and trans fats. It has to be possible to have healthy Valentine’s Day food!

I thought I’d share the plan I used a few years back again, and I’m going to do a much simpler version of this for third grade, the activities for sure and probably just the strawberries and dip, cheese, and one other thing. It’s that season of life for me!

The Plan: A Healthy Valentine’s Day Party!

This was definitely a community effort when it all came together. Other than strawberries, my initial midnight brainstorm session was coming up pretty blank. I asked the KS community on Facebook for ideas for pink or red foods or other Valentine’s food ideas. (You can see the whole list HERE; it’s awesome!)

Healthy Valentines Day Party Treats

As it turned out, once I was inspired by over 50 answers, I thought of a few of my own party food recipes that would be perfect. Every idea on this list is either healthy or healthiER – I never can truly call anything with sweetener “healthy” because although natural sweeteners are not as bad as white sugar, any sweetener is still mostly empty calories. There’s some redeeming nutritional value in there too, but fructose is fructose, you know?

Why are they Healthy Treats?

Healthy Valentines Day Party Treats

All the foods I demonstrate below have:

  • No grains or whole grains, soaked grains
  • Zero white sugar, low unrefined sweeteners
  • Healthy fats
  • Fruits, and even some vegetables
  • Probiotics! For real! (I’m kind of proud of that one because I feel like that’s rare among party food for kids…)

I thought of too many ideas, in fact, and my son and I couldn’t decide. We’re going to let the kids look at pictures and choose two that they want, like ordering from a menu.

The teacher, in a stroke of genius, is going to tie all of this in with their current Social Studies unit on economics by talking about choice and opportunity cost. Ah, some days, I miss teaching – the chance to make connections to real life like that and form young minds en masse…it’s pretty awesome.

Other days I’m just happy to sit on my duff at the computer while the children wreak havoc around me…but at least I’m at home with them.

See how helpful little Jonathan was for this post’s pictures?

Valentine's Day Healthy Raspberry BrowniesHealthy Valentine's Day treats are possible! Kids love these made-from-scratch desserts and snacks, from probiotic fruit pizza to heart-shaped graham crackers and pink pudding.
Valentines Day Raspberry BrowniesValentines Day Raspberry Brownies
Healthy Valentine's Day treats are possible! Kids love these made-from-scratch desserts and snacks, from probiotic fruit pizza to heart-shaped graham crackers and pink pudding.Healthy Valentine's Day treats are possible! Kids love these made-from-scratch desserts and snacks, from probiotic fruit pizza to heart-shaped graham crackers and pink pudding.

He stole my strawberries, asked, “Where did all the berries go?” in baby signs, then decided to go for the whipped cream. It’s rather unfortunate that the best natural light is on the floor in front of the sliding door…

On to the food! Here’s what the kids will get to choose from for next week’s Valentine’s Day party:

Healthy Valentine’s Day Party Food Ideas

Healthy Valentines Day Party Treats

We’re calling these beauties “Raspberry Cream Cheese Brownie Sandwiches.” I used grain-free brownies with 60% dark chocolate chips on top (recipe in The Everything Beans Book). I sliced them lengthwise with a very sharp knife and filled the middle with thawed frozen raspberries + yogurt cheese with just a touch of maple syrup and raspberry juice for the pink color.

Yes, I did say the brownie recipe is in a beans book. There’s not a speck of flour in them…but you could use any sturdy, healthy brownie recipe you like. I have a whole grain brownie in Smart Sweets.

Valentines Fruit Pizza Hearts

My healthy fruit pizza uses a shortbread-style crust with real butter, 100% whole wheat flour, and very little sweetener (1/4 cup for the whole thing). Add lightly sweetened yogurt cheese and fresh fruit on top, and you could get away with eating this for breakfast.

This Valentine’s Strawberry Pudding is actually from my ebook Better Than a Box, where it was originally the reverse engineered version of that famous “banana pudding” with Cool Whip, pudding, condensed milk or yogurt, bananas, and Nilla Wafers. None of those things are in this healthy treat!

Real homemade pudding is mixed with homemade yogurt, strawberries and raspberries; that whipped cream on top started out as cream, not 50 variations on corn (read the side of a Cool Whip tub); and the “wafers” are a homemade graham cracker crisped to perfection in the oven, and of course, cut in heart shapes. Strawberries are also really easy to cut in sort-of heart shapes by notching the top.

Everyone is getting heart-shaped white cheese, because it’s cute and fun, and I felt the need to provide something that wasn’t a dessert, even though all the desserts are healthiER.

Healthy Valentines Day Party Treats

Last but not least, for the kids who love dipping (or aren’t sure about all my other recipes and want something they recognize), we’re offering whole strawberries with 3 choices of dips. They’re billed as “chocolate pudding, strawberry cream cheese, and vanilla yogurt” but are really “chocomole” from Healthy Snacks to Go (a pudding made with avocado, raw honey (use the code Katie15 for 15% off at that site!), and cocoa powder), yogurt cheese colored with strawberry or raspberry juice (from frozen and thawed berries), and vanilla yogurt. If you wanted, you could go ga-ga with strawberries and dips…

Healthy Topping ideas for Strawberries

  • Chocomole
  • Yogurt cheese colored with frozen raspberry juice and and sweetened with honey or stevia. (also works with cream cheese)
  • Thick vanilla yogurt
  • Coconut cream frosting (made with coconut cream concentrate , vanilla or almond extract, maple syrup, and a bit of milk to thin if necessary) – I’ve used this coconut vanilla frosting recipe before; coconut cream concentrate is the same thing as coconut butter.
  • Melted dark chocolate (dip at home and allow to harden)
  • Yogurt (or yogurt cheese) mixed with pumpkin puree and pumpkin pie spice
  • Yogurt (or cheese) with maple syrup and cinnamon
  • Pink colored shredded coconut for sprinkles
  • Grated or shaved dark chocolate for sprinkles
Healthy Valentines Day Party Treats

If this isn’t enough, School Bites had a great Valentine’s Day healthy food roundup too.

Valentine’s Day Games with no Sugar

I know, sugar isn’t always in games, but believe me – once you start checking out kids’ party activity ideas, you’ll see plenty with food and almost always sugary.

We’re having four stations and rotating groups through:

1. Decorating lunch bags for a local organization, Kids Food Basket, where theyValentine's Party Puzzle give sack suppers to food insecure kids in our community.

2. “Love goggles” made from pipe cleaners and stickers

3. Making Valentine’s Puzzles (at right)

4. “Love Potion Smoothies”

Guess which one my Blendtec and I are in charge of? (See my Blendtec review) At the smoothie station, the kids will have to come to fair consensus on what should go in the blender, and then they’ll have cute cups and straws for their smoothies. I’m bringing:

  • yogurt
  • kefir (Lifeway)
  • milk
  • ice
  • frozen strawberries, cherries, cranberries
  • frozen bananas
  • kelp powder
  • chia seeds
  • some greens of some sort
  • lemon wedges
  • diced red delicious apples
  • kiwi
  • coconut
  • maybe: pineapple, mango

We’re gonna have us some serious real food fun, aren’t we??? I’m pumped!

Green smoothie with kale

Kid’s Homemade Valentine’s Cards with Healthy Gifts

In case you’re wondering what a real food household sticks to Valentine’s Day cards, in past years, it’s been…nothing. Just personally made cards.

This year, I was inspired by that Facebook thread to do these:

Healthy Valentine's Day Party Treats 8

Both kids chose this fruit squeeze pouch idea, approved by mom once I read that there wasn’t any added sweetener in the packages.

BONUS: We made some free printables to make your life easier with about a dozen frugal and still healthy ideas for candy-free Valentine’s Day ideas for school!

What do you do to combat the sugar-fest that can happen at a school holiday party?

Pin it!

Healthy Valentines Day Party Treats
Unless otherwise credited, photos are owned by the author or used with a license from Canva or Deposit Photos.

51 thoughts on “Healthy Valentine’s Day Party Treats (& Games)”

  1. I think your healthy treat ideas are great. I do wonder how you deal with allergies though. It seems from way it’s written, that you don’t reveal the ingredients in the dishes to the children. I have a niece who is allergic to avocados and I don’t think she’d have thought to ask if there was avocado in the chocolate pudding – do you get a list from the teacher ahead of time or just hope for the best or what?

    1. I do generally ask the teacher about allergies beforehand, that’s a VERY good question, and so important to triple-check! In my daughter’s class this year I only have a few nut allergies. Sometimes I’ll email a parent about an allergy directly too, to see if they’re comfortable with homemade food at all.

      Thanks for asking! 🙂 Katie

  2. Thank you for the helpful post! Very excited about Valentine’s day. And as far as Oliver is concerned, I have a hard time believing anyone is a professional when they cannot even use proper grammar. Have a great Valentine’s day and thank you for the great blog!

  3. Pingback: Chocolate Coconut Macaroons {Raw and Real Food} - Your Thriving Family

  4. My GOODNESS, Katie! I’ve been living in a hole all weekend and had no idea of the comment attacks until another blogger alerted me to them a few minutes ago!

    All I have to say is: You have a RIGHT to earn money on your site! And how COOL that you can do it by sharing your passion and educating people in the process! None of your readers has to ever pay a penny for this information. And I dare say you probably get paid less per hour than most people when you consider the extreme amount of research you have poured into this site over the course of several years.

    Do your children and hubby not deserve a little money back from the time Mommy has spent away helping others–as is her God-given call?

    Keep up the good work, Katie, and know there are thousands are KS supporters for every 1 “Oliver” out there!

    1. Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship

      Erin,
      Thanks! It’s blown over, and this post will be obsolete (until next year) in just a few days, so the hype won’t be perpetuated. Money aside, I never claim to be a doctor or a scientist, and he is, so I’m interested to see where that goes…just not here on my blog. 🙂 Katie

  5. Oliver aside, I shared this post today in my post 🙂
    http://www.yourthrivingfamily.com/2013/02/chocolate-coconut-macaroons-raw-and.html

    1. Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship

      Thank you, Sara!! Glad he isn’t scaring people away… 😉 Katie

  6. Thanks for these great ideas, Katie!

    I teach nutrition-based cooking classes for low income audiences and I have been researching some creative, healthy, and tasty Valentine’s themed recipes for an upcoming kids’ class I have scheduled for Valentine’s Day. Your ideas are simply fantastic!

    As a Registered Dietitian working to better my community, I applaud your efforts and want you to know that I will most certainly be frequenting your blog from now on. 🙂

    1. Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship

      Julie,
      Thank you so much! I hope to be able to reach out to the community in similar ways as well – kids especially need to be taught a love of real food. I anticipate hearing more thoughts from you in the future; welcome aboard! 🙂 Katie

  7. I am a preschool teacher and I love this post (and your whole blog for that matter). I can only hope I get a class mom like you for my classroom someday.

  8. Thank you Katie for your wonderful blog…you have helped my family eat a healthier, whole foods diet. I’m very excited to use some of your valentine’s ideas…my “baby” is 13 years old, but will enjoy a little extra “love” tucked into her lunch box on Valentine’s Day!

  9. Mmm, I love all the options for healthy sweet treats! I love what you’ve come up with here to make Valentine’s Day fun for kids without sacrificing nutrition.

  10. Rene Christensen

    I love all of these ideas. I am glad that this post was now so that I have plenty time to get to the store. I can’t wait to make some of these with my kids! Thanks, Katie!! Love your blog & you!! (-:

    1. Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship

      Rene,
      It’s been so long since I’ve “seen” you! Hope you are well!!! {hugs} Katie

  11. When making yogurt cheese, do you strain it at room temp for many hours? Is that safe, since yogurt should be refrigerated?? I have always wondered about that, and have never tried it because I wasn’t sure where to strain it, and if it was safe to strain it at room temp. I don’t want my yogurt to go bad.

    1. Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship

      Jill,
      Some folks rig it up in the fridge, but I do it at room temp. About 4 hours, sometimes less. As a cultured food, yogurt is super stable. Nothing should happen to it in 4 hours at room temp (disclaimer – not my fault if you take my advice!) 😉

      Enjoy! 🙂 Katie

  12. Awesome ideas Katie! I want to try every single one. I want to tell you I love your blog and have referred to it almost daily since 2009 when I first discovered it because I wanted a homemade granola bar recipe. Little did I know that day would change my families eating habits for the better. I am grateful to you and your hard work for putting this information out there for all us to help us better feed ourselves and our families. You are amazing, I love your blog!

    1. Me too! I wasn’t looking for a granola bar per se, but for any healthy homemade snacks I could make for my hollow-legged husband.
      And before that day I had never heard of FCLO or WAPF, didn’t know much about raw milk, I had NO idea how truly healthy butter was (although we did eat it all the time) and I certainly didn’t know the first thing about cloth diapering, alternative cleaning solutions, and sooo many other things that the seeds of this blog have planted in my head…and my heart.
      And on top of ALL that, the peaceful and sweet Spirit of God is evident all over every post (VERY unlike many other blogs that are also full of good info).
      THANK YOU Katie for all the time and energy you have sowed into this blog and its readers. I hope you reap a GREAT harvest for all the blessings you’re little self has helped us receive.

      1. Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship

        Thank you, Casey and Amy!
        I’m feeling so edified today!!!

        🙂 Katie

  13. Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship

    Kayla,
    That grown adults pick on you for striving for good health for your kids is a tragedy. Shame on them. You’re doing GREAT work and will certainly find others in your child’s KG class who will agree and be eager to stand with you in the search for real food! Way to go! 🙂 Katie

  14. Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship

    Thanks, Donna! I’m sure your visiting family will be so honored with whatever you serve them because you took the time to learn about their allergies and make it safe for them to visit. Way to go! 🙂 Katie

  15. Thanks for all the cute and fun ideas Katie! I was thinking yesterday how I needed to start looking for inspiration for a couple special treats for my girls.

  16. I love the applesauce idea! Thanks for sharing these I was just thinking about what to send my 1st grader. He will love this.

  17. Thanks for your post and your hard work Katie.

    As a full time working mama I need to plan ahead. So your ideas this week are timely as I can shop this weekend.

  18. Steering the conversation back to the original point of the post…(^_^)

    I like to make homemade less-processed chocolate cookies (think brownie, but in cookie form) and would like to incorporate the heart strawberries into them, just setting them on top so that they bake slightly into the cookie. Has anyone tried baking a fresh strawberry slice on a cookie? Does it dry out too much? Thanks!

    1. Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship

      Amy,
      Fun idea! I have put fresh blueberries on top of muffins before, so based on that experience, I think the strawberries would shrivel a good deal – they would still taste juicy and fresh, I would guess, but might lose the heart shape (think baked apples vs. sliced raw apples). You might just press them gently in as soon as you take the cookies out of the oven or use just a dab of something- coconut cream, yogurt cheese – to affix the fresh strawberry heart on top after baking.
      🙂 Katie

      1. Ok. I will try that. I also make homemade chocolate sauce (1 part cocoa powder and 1-2 parts maple syrup, depending on how “dark” I want it) that might work to afix the strawberry if it pressing into the cookie right after baking doesn’t work. I’ll let you know how it turns out!
        (^_^)

  19. I really like the ideas with the Clementines. Those will be such perfect Valentine cards to make for my two daughters when they wake up Valentine’s morning. I just bought some yesterday, so that will be great. I can give my hubby an apple that says, “You are the apple of my eye, Valentine!”
    I really like the healthy treat ideas you shared.
    One of the moms in my troop wants to bring snacks for the girls to the meetings. (I used to, but as nobody else would and I wound up having to do all the set up and clean up for the whole meeting – every meeting, I stopped.) She would like to bring cupcakes and such. I would rather the moms just bring their own child’s favorite healthy snack (apples, clementines, carrots, etc.) because I would prefer my children not to eat a sugary snack right before supper. Your post is encouraging for me and has given me some ideas that will allow the girls to earn their “Snacks” merit badge, but will also help keep them healthy, will be fun, and without me coming across like an ogre.

  20. Thanks for these great ideas! Two of my children’s birthdays are the same week as valentines…so the healthier the better…and the brownies look delicious! Thank you for all you do!

  21. ALL of these ideas are so cute! You are so creative and I am so excited to see things like this to do with my kids in the future. 🙂

  22. Katie, These are wonderful ideas and I may try some of them with my children at home, but we are not allowed to bring to school anything homemade for parties. Everything has to be prepackaged with store bought labels attached. That knocks out all the dipping ideas, because store-bought pudding and sweetened yogurt is definitely not going to qualify as real food. We can’t even open the cheese and cut it into hearts (an idea that I LOVE!) or the strawberries. The strawberries would even have to be washed at school. Any suggestions?

    1. That’s how are school is too, it’s really hard to bring healthy things to parties when you can’t do anything yourself.

    2. How about the applesauce pouches, organic fruit leathers from the other page or whole fruit? They used messages like Have a berry happy Valentines Day, You’re the apple of my eye Valentine, and Orange ya glad it’s Valentine’s Day?

    3. Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship

      Julia,
      I’ve heard many people say the “only packaged foods” rule in their schools, and it’s such a bummer. I get it, intellectually, that for food allergy purposes it is necessary, but it makes real food so very much harder.

      I think whole fruits, cheese sticks, etc. like the gal above says are the way to go. Maybe the cheese could be an activity for the kids, with cookie cutters, and they can do it themselves? Organic corn chips and salsa would be red…

      Good luck!
      🙂 Katie

    4. Our school is the same, no homemade food. I get it, but really- how often do you hear about food recalls?! So frustrating.

      I think kids would go for plain yogurt as a dip. Since fruit is usually pretty sweet anyway. You could even mix a little natural jam with it (at school after opening of course ;)) to make it a little sweeter.

  23. Cool ideas, Katie! We typically don’t have parties for Valentine’s day, but those snacks look like something I would eat ANY day of the week! 🙂

  24. Kate @ Modern Alternative Mama

    I had a guest poster today share how she makes healthy chocolate at home. I think I might have to swap out cocoa butter for coconut oil (that is, I’ll use the cocoa butter) and make healthy(ish) homemade chocolate…into which we will dip strawberries. The kids really like that. Daniel, when we did that a couple years ago (he was the same age as Jacob is now) yelled “MORE!” when he got some! He didn’t normally do that! So we might keep it low-key and enjoy our chocolate-covered strawberries. I’ll be nearly 37 weeks pregnant so that’s all I can do right now. 🙂

  25. This is really great. I had to laugh about the “natural light” thing. That’s how it is here as well.

  26. Hi Katie,
    You’ve got some neat ideas there. Hope it works out better than the last time you blogged about bringing food to school. Your samples do look appealing, so that should help.
    Oliver, I would agree that we’ve become too materialistic in many ways. But that doesn’t mean we need to throw the baby out with the bathwater. Real food is not only nourishing, the sharing of food has many social benefits to it as well.
    You’re right, we can learn from the way people prepared food in the past. That’s why blogs like Kitchen Stewardship are here – to help us figure out the hows and whys of the food God created for us to enjoy.

  27. Thank you for the ideas! I like the idea of sending fruit instead of processed junk for the Valentine’s party at my son’s school. The candy will be there but I like to provide a better alternative. I will also be sending water instead of sugar filled juice boxes.

  28. What great ideas!! I’m not able to help with my sons’ school parties this year, but I got some great ideas for sending Valentines (other than candy) to school that my 7 and 8 year old might actually go for! Thank you for thinking about food all of the time. Food, when done correctly, can be a wonderful hobby and a way to nourish and care for your family and others around you. Your site has blessed my family in many ways! 🙂

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