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What to Take Instead Of Cake: The Quest for a Healthier Birthday Treat

When it comes to birthdays in our house, we like to celebrate big. Often times it is a week full of family, friends and lots of celebrations. I love that my kids’ schools encourage celebrating their birthdays with their friends and teachers, but picking the birthday treat is often a big struggle in our house. As a pediatrician, I am a firm believer that what you eat can directly affect your behavior and your health. My kids are firm believers that the best way to celebrate an occasion (birthday, holiday or just pooping in the potty) is a sugary treat. Over the years, I have struggled to find birthday treats that my kids would consider fun for a celebration, but would not leave their teachers with 30 children on a sugar high. After many searches on Pinterest, discussions with other moms, and brainstorming with other local pediatricians, I finally have an arsenal of treats that my kids and I can be excited about.

healthy-birthday-treatFood Ideas

  • Fruit – Some of my kids’ favorite birthday treats have been fruit. Really. It’s all in the presentation. We have done “magic princess wands” (fruit on a stick), “fruit ice cream” (fruit in an ice cream cone), banana minions, and strawberries dipped in a little dark chocolate and sprinkles. It’s amazing how a few sprinkles or a popsicle stick can transform healthy foods into a “treat”! 
  • Apple “Donuts”- Core and thinly slice apples so they are in the shape of a Donut. Drizzle with chocolate or caramel. You can add a few sprinkles or mini chocolate chips for a festive look.
  • Muffins – if your school allows homemade treats, use whole grains and real fruit for a yummy alternative to doughnuts. 
  • Smoothies – Mix up a big batch of your child’s favorite smoothie and serve in small cups with a colorful straw.
  • Fruit Popsicles – Made with real fruit.

Non Food Ideas

  • Donate a book to your child’s classroom or library. Ask the teacher if you can read the book to the class on your child’s birthday.
  • A poster with reasons we love the birthday child. My daughter’s teacher did this last year and I just LOVE this idea. On every student’s birthday, the class gave 7 reasons why the birthday child was special.  My daughter still has her poster hanging in her room!
  • Stickers or fake tattoos
  • Fun pencils, erasers or crayons
  • Play-doh or bubbles
  • Crafts- lead the kids in a simple craft
  • Dance Party- Ask if you can bring in a song to have a little dance party. My kids would love to see their teacher, principal and school nurse join in on this one!

What are your favorite birthday treats to share?

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Nadia head shotDr. Nadia Day is a pediatrician and partner at Pediatric Associates PC in North Central Phoenix (www.pedassocaz.com).  She is originally from Illinois where she received her Bachelor of Science degree in Biology from the University of Illinois. After completing medical school at Southern Illinois University School of Medicine, she moved to Phoenix where she finished her pediatric training at Phoenix Children’s Hospital/Maricopa Medical Center Residency Program. During her last year of training she served as Chief Resident. Dr. Day is proud to be an active member of our community. She has won awards from the local chapter of the March of Dimes, and has served on the executive board of the Greater Phoenix Pediatric Society. Dr. Day is board certified and is a Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics. She has a special interest in pediatric obesity prevention and postnatal care of preterm infants.

On her days off she enjoys hiking, barre3, yoga,  and traveling to exotic places with her husband and 3 young children. You may also find her playing chauffeur around Scottsdale as she tries to keep up with her children’s busy schedules.

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One Response to What to Take Instead Of Cake: The Quest for a Healthier Birthday Treat

  1. HELEN EDWARDS November 2, 2016 at 5:43 pm #

    ONE YEAR OUR SON HAD A DIABETIC GIRL IN HIS CLASS SO FOR HIS BIRTHDAY HE WANTED TO TAKE SOMETHING SHE COULD ENJOY. WE MADE AND TOOK FRUIT KABOBS WITH COCONUT SPRINKLED ON TOP. THEY WERE A HIT.