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Network for a Healthy California makes Holidays fun and nutritious

Fun and Nutritious Holiday Treats

Are you a parent or grandparent who loves building gingerbread houses with children during the Holiday season, but dislikes all the sugary ingredients that go into the construction of these confectionary castles? With all their candy canes, gum drops, cookies and frosting, traditional gingerbread houses definitely belong on Santa's "naughty list." Fortunately, the Network for a Healthy California (which is part of TCOE's School Health Programs) has a recipe for a gingerbread house kids will love to build and you'll feel good about!

Fun and Nutritious Holiday Treats The walls and roof of this house are built from graham crackers, held together by peanut butter. To stabilize the structure, try building the house around a half-pint milk or juice carton. Secure the graham crackers to the sides of the carton with peanut butter. To decorate your healthy gingerbread house, choose from these healthy items:

  • Cheerios
  • Granola
  • Shredded coconut
  • Dried peas
  • Dried corn/Corn Nuts
  • Nuts
  • Dried fruit
  • Pretzel sticks/waffle pretzels/pretzel twists
  • Popcorn
  • Pumpkin seeds/sunflower seeds

Healthy Holiday Salad

This season, introduce your family to the kiwi, the fuzzy brown fruit with the brilliant green center. This colorful fruit, which is readily available in December, makes a delightful addition to this simple fruit salad.

Kiwi Fruit Salad Kiwi Fruit Salad

Makes 4 servings. 1/2 cup each.
Prep time: 15 minutes

1 medium kiwifruit, peeled and sliced
1 small banana, peeled and sliced
1/2 cup chopped apple
1/2 cup grapes
1/2 cup 100% orange juice

In a medium bowl, mix all ingredients. Serve immediately or chill.

Students in Tulare County classrooms served by the Network for a Healthy California are learning about the kiwi, as it is December's Harvest of the Month. Students learn that this little fruit, which is actually a berry, packs a healthy punch - earning it the most "nutrient dense" title among the top 30 most widely-consumed fruits. Cup-for-cup, the mighty kiwi has more Vitamin C than an orange. Students also learn that California produces 95 percent of all kiwi in the U.S.

The goal of the Harvest of the Month program is to increase enjoyment and consumption of fruits and vegetables. Students have the opportunity to taste and explore a different featured fruit or vegetable each month. This in-classroom taste-testing gives students the chance to try healthy foods and learn about locally-grown produce.

The Tulare County Office of Education's Network for a Healthy California supports healthy eating and adequate physical exercise for Kindergarten through 12th grade students in school districts across Tulare County. It is a collaborative effort between teachers, food service professionals, dietitians, school nurses, parents, administrators, community members and students. Its goal is to encourage nutrition education for children so they have the desire and information needed to make healthy, positive choices for the rest of their lives.

For more healthy recipes, visit the Network for a Healthy California's web page at For more information, contact Nani Rowland, Network Project Coordinator, at (559) 651-0130, ext. 3720.