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CHICKASHA, Okla. - Looking for Valentine's Day party treats for your child's classroom can be a heart-stopping experience. With concerns about allergies, many schools no longer allow homemade goodies, asking for packaged treats to used instead. The only problem with the ban on homemade treats is that these packaged candies and desserts tend to be rich in added sugars, which contribute empty calories and little or no nutrition.Instead, think about using classroom parties as a time to learn about healthy snacking. Try these Valentine's Day party treats that feature dairy, whole grains and fruits and vegetables.


Fruits are a great sweet treat instead of candy. Using a felt-tipped marker, write fun messages such as "Hi, Cutie" on the skin of clementine oranges or bananas.

Strawberries are rich in vitamin C and fiber and are a naturally healthy treat. Serve them with a small dollop of whipped cream.


Letting children make choices gives them a chance to exercise their independence. Try setting up a "dip bar" and let kids make their own snack plates with cut up vegetables, whole-grain pita chips and low-fat cheese cubes to dip into tomato salsa.


Banana Splits are big hits at parties. Try splitting a peeled banana down the middle and top with low-fat vanilla Greek yogurt and sliced heart-shaped fruit for a healthy alternative.


Use a heart shaped cookie cutter to turn a peanut butter and jelly sandwich on whole-wheat bread into a heart-shaped Valentine.


Celebrate with fruits that are red, the unofficial color of Valentine's Day. Use apples, blood oranges, grape tomatoes, red grapes and red peppers. For a sweet dip, mix cinnamon and low-fat vanilla yogurt.


These healthy eating ideas and more can be found at or contact the Grady County OSU Cooperative Extension Service at (405) 224-2216.  We are located at 828 W. Choctaw in Chickasha.

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