Weekly Feature

2015-12-09 / Local News

St. John’s enjoys healthy candy canes

Candy canes at Christmas are a longstanding tradition, but preschool students are giving them a healthy twist at St. John the Baptist School in Kenmore. The 3-year-olds are focusing on holiday traditions around the world as they learn about the seasons of Advent and Christmas.

Historians track the origins of the candy cane back about 250 years to Germany, with red stripes being added in the early 1900s. Christians attribute several symbolic qualities to the candy. While some say it’s shaped like the staffs used by the shepherds who visited the baby Jesus, others attribute its “J-like” design to symbolize Joseph, Jesus’ stepfather. Even the colors hold meaning, with the white symbolizing the Blessed Mother’s virginity and the blood representing the scourging that would be suffered by Christ before his crucifixion.

The students learned about this as they made crafts and read the Legend of the Candy Cane. They were treated to a tasty, modern twist at snack time, when they ate the healthiest candy canes, made from bananas and strawberries.

“There are so many customs and classic foods associated with Christmas, but they’re not always the healthiest to eat, especially on a regular basis.” teacher Renee Dikeman said. “Incorporating healthy food options into students’ learning about alternative ‘Christmas treats’ helps to shape their perceptions. Nutritious food choices can be fun, tasty and colorfully festive to include this holiday season.”

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