Healthier gingerbread house alternatives |

Healthier gingerbread house alternatives

December 16th, 2013
Decorate your gingerbread house with dried fruit instead of candy this year.

Decorate your gingerbread house with dried fruit instead of candy this year.

By Aimee Heckel

After Halloween and then all of that pie at Thanksgiving, the last thing your kids need more of this winter is sugar. But gingerbread houses — made entirely out of cookies and candy — are a holiday tradition for many families. And let’s be honest; no gingerbread house has ever made it out of the season in one piece.

In an attempt to keep your kids from yet another horrible sugar crash, here are some ways to help make your gingerbread house healthier this year.

Use shredded coconut as snow. There’s really no junk food alternative more snowy-looking than coconut anyway, so not only is it healthy, but it also looks great. Shredded coconut is packed with vitamins and minerals — but beware of overdoing it; it’s still pretty sugary and fatty.

Another white and fluffy option for snow is popcorn.

Make a gluten-free gingerbread house if members of your family are sensitive to gluten. Here is a good recipe for gluten-free gingerbread. Remember: Just because it’s gluten-free does not necessarily mean it’s healthy; best to keep everything in moderation.

Build the house out of whole-wheat graham crackers instead. Or build a log cabin out of whole-grain pretzel sticks. Instead of frosting, stick the walls together with peanut butter or almond butter.

Decorate with dried fruit instead of candy. Dried raspberries, blueberries, bananas, raisins and yogurt-covered raisins can make creative details. Accessorize with peanuts, slivered almonds, pumpkin seeds, granola and sunflower seeds.

Find dried fruit for great prices at Target, like this bag of colorful freeze-dried berries. Save money at Target with these coupons, paired with 3 percent Cash Back from Read more articles about Target here.

Build details with fruit leather cut into any shape that you want. And if it feels wrong not to have any chocolate on your gingerbread house, you can always add dark chocolate-dipped raisins or a few chocolate chips to the mix.

Don’t forget: It doesn’t have to be built out of food. You can have a great time decorating a gingerbread house made out of cardboard, too.

Save money on other toys, gifts and games for your kids with these babies and kids coupons.

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Aimee's passion for storytelling has brought her around the world as a journalist, writing award-winning news articles about Haiti and Uganda. Aimee studied international journalism at the University of Heidelberg in Germany, and she majored in journalism and German at Colorado State University. When she's not writing stories for a Colorado newspaper, she travels and volunteers for Think Humanity, her family's nonprofit that helps refugees and disadvantaged people in Africa. She's also a mom, a wife and a furious bargain-hunter. Reach out to her at, find her travel board on Pinterest, follow her on Twitter, or ping her on Google+.

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