Summer break is on the horizon.
During the long, hot days of summer, heavy snacks can leave kids feeling sluggish and unmotivated.
Pre-packaged snacks can be filled with additives, coloring agents, and preservatives, not to mention they’re more expensive than their wholesome, homemade counterparts.
Also, during hectic days, parents and caregivers may not have much time to devote to concocting elaborate snacks, but that doesn’t mean you have to go the pre-packaged route.
Here are ten warm-weather treats that are sure to be a hit with your little ones during the hottest of summer days.
1. Fruit Kabobs – Spearing fruit and cheese cubes onto skewers makes for a wholesome snack thats assembled in a snap; this recipe works with any seasonal fruit you have on hand. Apples and cheese are always a favorite pairing; tart, sweet apples and calcium-rich cheese satisfy little ones and parents alike.
2. Parfaits – Layering yogurt, fresh fruit, and granola into glasses requires next to no time, and makes for a light, healthy snack on a hot summer day. Kids love the pretty layered effect, but may not be coordinated enough to keep glass intact; if your little ones are on the clumsy side, opt for unbreakable, transparent plastic. Dont forget the long-handled spoons!
3. Frozen Yogurt Pops – Frozen yogurt pops are readily available in the freezer section of any grocery store; however, they can be laden with preservatives and artificial flavorings. Springing for an inexpensive Popsicle mold is one of the smartest summer-snack investments you can make; simply mix your kids favorite flavor of yogurt with roughly chopped, lightly mashed fruit, pour into molds, and freeze overnight. Enjoy all-natural frozen yogurt pops, naturally sweetened by the fruit and free of preservatives and chemicals.
4. Coconut Water Popsicles – High in potassium and minerals, coconut water is the liquid found inside young coconuts. The coconut flavor is mild and understated, and very low in sugar; to make these coconut water popsicles palatable to kids, mix with chopped fruit and pour into your trusty Popsicle molds.
5. Fruit Pizza – While traditional recipes for fruit pizza call for a sugar cookie crust, parents looking to keep sugar content to a minimum may prefer a traditional pizza crust sweetened with a pinch of brown sugar and cinnamon. Bake crust according to package instructions, and allow it to cool. Spread with a fruit-flavored cream cheese such as strawberry or pineapple, then top with sliced fruit. Drizzle with a puree of strawberries or raspberries, slice, and serve.
6. Graham Cracker Sandwiches – Potassium-rich bananas and peanut butter are a classic pairing; adding graham crackers creates a kid-favorite snack in the blink of an eye. Simply mash a sliced banana with a fork, and mix with a heaping spoonful of peanut butter. Spread the gooey mixture between two graham crackers and serve.
7. Ants on a Log – Crisp, cool celery pairs so beautifully with peanut butter that this classic snack is the stuff of legend. Quickly assembled and loved by kids, Ants on a Log are one of the greatest summertime snacks; just spread a healthy layer of peanut butter onto a celery stick and top with raisins.
8. Smoothies – Frozen fruit, milk, and yogurt can be thrown into a blender to create a snack thats high in calcium and full of fruity goodness. For ultimate kid approval, serve with a whimsical twisty straw in a colorful cup. Experiment with fruits and yogurt flavors; there are no hard and fast rules when it comes to delightful combinations.
9. Watermelon “Cookies” – Nothing says “summer” quite like the red, juicy flesh of a watermelon. To make these watermelon “cookies,” slice a watermelon into one inch slabs, and then use cookie cutters to make interesting shapes. For those that feel like icing is an essential part of a cookies makeup, a layer of thick vanilla-flavored Greek yogurt provides a calcium and protein boost while maintaining its consistency against the juice of the watermelon.
10. Trail Mix – Bagged trail mix can be full of unnecessary calories and fat, while the all-natural, preservative-free variety gets quite pricey. To make your own healthy mix without breaking the bank, mix any dried fruit, like cranberries or raisins, with assorted nuts and pretzel sticks. For the highest kid approval rating, let them join in the fun. Because it contains no dairy or perishable items, this trail mix can be tucked into a beach bag for poolside snacking, tossed in a backpack to provide sustenance on a long hike, or stuck in a pocket for portable munching at the park.
Fresh fruit is the cornerstone of healthy summer snacks, so be sure to keep as much on hand as possible.
Local farmers markets can be less expensive than chain grocery store produce, so keep your eyes peeled for such facilities. These markets also tend to be fun for kids, so dont hesitate to bring them along for the fruit shopping adventure!
Hope your kids enjoy these healthy alternatives!