A Mom's Guide to Kid-Approved Treats With Less Sugar and Junk

A Mom's Guide to Kid-Approved Treats With Less Sugar and Junk

Kids will truly love these healthy treats that are easier to make than you may think.


By: Lorraine Allen

Making healthy treats for your family is really simple -- if you have a few tricks up your sleeve! And if you do it right, your kids won’t notice or complain, and they’ll ask you to make more -- trust me! Whether you are looking to bake a birthday cake for someone special, serve cookies as an afterschool treat, or make muffins for breakfast, here are some great ways you can make those goodies healthy for your family in a flash.

1. Cut back on fat and cholesterol by using mashed-up overripe fruit like bananas or applesauce as a substitute for eggs in your muffins or cakes. For one egg, use half a large mashed banana or half a cup of applesauce. Fruit is also sweet by nature, of course, so you can cut back a bit on your recipe’s sugar if you go this route, too.

2. Add loads of heart-healthy fiber and more nutrition to cookies, breads, or muffins by replacing one part of white flour in your recipe with whole wheat, buckwheat, spelt flour, or whole oats.

3. Sprinkle wheat germ, crunchy granola, sunflower, and/or pumpkin seeds on top of muffins or breads for added flavor, fiber, iron, and nutrients. Nuts will add a nice crunch and healthy, energy-boosting protein, too!

4. Add several fresh, frozen, or dried fruits, such as cherries, dried cranberries, mixed berries, apricots, prunes, banana slices, or apples to your baked goods for more flavor, nutrition, and healthy antioxidants.

5. When making muffins or cookies, replace one cup of your recipe’s sugar with half a cup of honey or molasses for more natural sweetness and richness.

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6. The next time you make brownies, use half a cup of pumpkin puree or mashed black beans instead of egg. I know -- this might not sound good at all, but no one will taste the difference. Believe me! And your brownies will not only be healthier, but they will be extra moist and gooey, as well. Yum!

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7. Skip the store-bought frosting loaded with corn syrup, sugar, and preservatives, and instead, simply mix together cream cheese, one teaspoon of vanilla extract, and a couple tablespoons of maple syrup to taste instead. Creamy, delicious, and healthy -- all at once.

8. Skip the sprinkles, and decorate cupcakes with fresh fruit like sliced strawberries, bananas, blueberries, or raspberries instead. (If you take two strawberry slices and put them together, they’ll form a pretty heart. You can also use mixed berries to make funny faces or flower decorations on the frosting too.) Most kids love fruit, and they’ll definitely enjoy the fresh, juicy sugariness it adds. Plus, the cupcakes will look so pretty and taste so wonderful, no one will miss the artificially colored sprinkles.

9. Instead of serving ice cream or sugary ice pops, just throw some fresh fruit (like whole bananas, berries, peeled kiwi, mango, or cut-up watermelon) in your freezer. Then, when you want to serve a yummy, healthy ice-cold treat, just take it out, and peel the bananas with a knife, skewer the frozen berries, or cut up fruit on kebob sticks. There is nothing easier or more refreshing on a hot day!

What are your best tips for making healthy, kid-friendly treats?


Lorraine Allen is a writer, and mom and personal chef to one spunky 6-year-old girl with severe food allergies. You can enjoy their delicious recipes and follow their amusing family cooking adventures at Feeding Lina.

Image ©iStock.com/bhofack2


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