The Candy Cane Dilemma

Healthy treat

As a baton twirling instructor, I like to provide treats for my students at the end of a session, especially when it’s the holiday season.  However, as I have completely changed how I eat, it has really made me rethink what I give to my students.

My twirling classes are wrapping up this week and I like to have a short celebration at the end of the class before we take a break for a while.  I was at the store trying to decide what to bring for a treat for the girls.  I had a box of organic cookies in my hand, but just hated the thought of feeding them all of that highly processed, improperly prepared grains and sugar.  I remembered I had saved a few coconut flour cupcake recipes recently in Evernote and thought I should have just enough time to make some before my class in the afternoon.

After a quick search, I decided to make these chocolate cupcakes by A Mom on a Mission.  While not completely GAPS legal, I decided to make them without any changes since I didn’t want to mess up the recipe with only a couple of hours before my class.  I have already introduced cocoa without a problem and have some now and again in various forms.  I figured the baking powder was a very small amount and I wouldn’t be eating very many of these since they were for my students.  I already had some whipped coconut cream on hand, so once the cupcakes were cool I topped each of them.  It made for a great frosting!

The treats ended up being a big hit with my students (all except one, but you can’t expect everyone to like the same thing!) and their parents.  I even had a few moms request the recipe.  I felt so much better about serving those cupcakes than the boxed cookies from the store.

So pretty, so full of sugar!

I did, however, still compromise on a part of their prize.  I like to hand out a certificate and a little baton-related prize at the end of a session.  I thought it would be fun to get attach a little baton pencil to a candy cane wrapped in ribbon.  The only problem was that I thought of doing this the day before I needed to have the first bunch made up.  So I ended up just picking up some candy canes from a nearby grocery store that were made with sugar and corn syrup.  I’ll have to do some research before next year to see if I can find some candy canes with better ingredients that wouldn’t be too expensive.

Oh, and I must admit, I bought several boxes of candy canes that will be handed out at our parade tomorrow night.  I hate the thought of handing out candy with such awful ingredients, but wasn’t willing to spend the time (and probably money) on a better option.  I’ll have to think about what I can do differently for next year.

How do you handle treats for children’s events or for promotional opportunities?  I’d love to hear if you have some better solutions for candy canes!

This post is part of Fight Back FridaySunday School, Monday ManiaFat Tuesday, Real Food Wednesday, and Pennywise Platter Thursday.


  1. I have 5 kids in school, and I struggle a bit with what to send in for birthday treats. I hate doing the rice krispy treats and donut holes, and I don’t always have time to make the treats. This week, I decided to try making a vanilla cake recipe from Apples for Jam using healthier ingredients in cupcake form. I’m still frustrated with the icing options since I don’t want to use confectioners sugar.

    I use Evernote, too, for my recipes, plus the rest of my life. I love it!

    • Heather says:

      Baking was never my mother’s forte, and she wasn’t into buying and feeding store candy to an entire class (60 kids, as we had double classrooms, and team teachers). So her go-to birthday treat was popcorn! We had an air popper, and she’d pop up and salt about half a paper grocery sack full, and each kid would get a couple of handfuls. It was always a hit.

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