Summer’s finally here again, bringing with it all of the glorious outdoor activities you and your kids adore. All of that extra activity means that your little ones will need some extra fuel, which can be a great opportunity to promote some healthy eating habits.
On the flip side, preparing healthy snacks can be expensive, time consuming, and the hot weather means that a lot of things don’t keep well outdoors.
Soggy sandwiches and wilted fruit usually won’t get eaten, and are likely to leave your kids with a disagreeable attitude towards healthy snacks.
Store-bought snacks have all the advantages; they’re quick, they’re easy to carry around, kids love to eat them, and they hold up in the heat.
The only problem with them is that they’re typically full of salt, sugar, and preservatives, which is obviously a major issue for parents trying to provide their kids with proper nutrition.
Well, I’m happy to tell you that there are plenty of practical, delicious snack options out there, and with a minimal effort, you can have your kids eating summertime snacks that will keep them happy, healthy and energized.
Before we get to the snack ideas, here are a couple of tips for keeping your food fresh, portable and convenient.
• Invest in some quality gear
Snacks taste better, and are way more appealing to kids on a hot day when they’re nice and cold. A large, wheeled camping cooler, some non-toxic, BPA free ice packs, and a variety of reusable containers will refrigerate your poolside snacks and keep them looking and tasting their best for hours, even on the hottest days. It won’t break your bank, either. You can get everything I’ve listed here for just over $60, and it can fit plenty of snacks, drinks and water, and a bottle of mom’s favorite chardonnay!
• Plan ahead
Trying to get everything assembled right before you leave for the park, pool or rec center is going to leave you scrambling for ideas and short on prep time. Instead, set aside an hour after the kids have gone to bed and use it to peel some fruit, slice some veggies, and make up some dips and spreads. You’ll be amazed at how quick and easy it is to pack everything together the next day.
• Consider your environment
If you’re going to be at the pool or the park, then you don’t need to worry too much about sticky fingers and dirty faces. If you’re headed to a little league game or an outdoor concert though, you might want to try and keep the mess factor to a minimum. Fruit leather, granola bars, bite-sized muffins and freeze dried fruit are all great options for keeping your kids properly nourished without leaving them in need of a bath.
So, with that in mind, let’s get to the fun part. Here are ten delicious, wholesome, and easy-to-make snack ideas, along with links to their recipes, that will keep your kids healthy, happy and satisfied while they’re enjoying their summertime activities.
These are a great way to use up the individual fruits you usually find cluttering up your fridge, and putting a variety of fruit onto a skewer makes it look more appealing than everyday orange sections or apple slices.
These tortilla roll-ups are easy to prepare, hold well, and are high in protein, potassium and vitamin C.
I know the name doesn’t sound all that appealing, but these little no-bake morsels are delicious, full of goodness, and can be made in a heartbeat.
I absolutely love these little pseudo-sandwiches! They’re simple to make and you can use whatever lunchmeat you happen to have on hand. They also stick together and hold up better than regular sandwiches.
While I must admit that there’s nothing more delicious than classic, deep-fried potato chips, these are a close second. Make more than you think you need, because they really shrink down when you cook them.
Chickpeas are loaded with protein, fiber, and carbohydrates, but usually don’t pass the “kid-friendly” test. These crunchy, salty snacks are the exception. They’re not the sturdiest snack though, so only make them one day ahead of eating them.
My problem with smoothies is that they usually separate into an unappealing, layered mess when they sit for a while. These can be easily reconstituted with a quick shake, and they’re ridiculously tasty.
Summertime and ice cream are inseparable, but who says you can’t provide a healthy blast of antioxidants and vitamin C along with it? Just remember to save some for the kids!
These babies do have a little bit of caster sugar in them, but they’re still healthy alternatives that are sure to get devoured. Just go easy on the glaze.
Salty, sweet, and only 8 simple ingredients, these bars are super filling and taste amazing. They freeze well too, so you can make a bunch of them at the start of the summer and they’ll last straight through.
Remember, healthy eating is contagious, so if you take the time to make healthy snacks for your kids, you’ll find yourself eating a lot healthier as well. The small amount of effort involved will pay off in spades for the whole family, especially when you go to put on your swimsuit!
If you are are looking for a way to get your child to eat new and healthy foods, check out The Food Sense Program! Designed with the help of a nutritionist, it is a guide to help your fussy eater develop a better attitude around healthy food!