Snacks for Summer :: Kids and Toddlers
Guest Post by Hillary Monroe, MS RD LDN, Registered Dietitian and writer for Everyday Health Calorie Counter.
Right about now we’re well into spring and coming up quickly on summer vacation. While kids love the freedom and more time outside, providing healthy and balanced snacks to keep kids fueled may present a challenge for parents. Try not to fall into old snack habits, opening a package of candy or making daily trips to the Good Humor truck, by embracing this time as an opportunity to take advantage of the seasons best. With a little planning and a trip to the farmers market, this summer can be an opportunity to increase variety and introduce your kids to new foods or rediscover old favorites.
Here are a few ideas to get you thinking, but honestly the farm’s the limit here.
Popsicles: The ultimate summer treat. An uncommon version: banana pop, packed with potassium and a cool way to add a serving of fruit. Add a topping or two for a more robust kid-friendly snack.
You’ll need: Firm bananas, wooden sticks, vanilla yogurt and crunchy cereal (Cheerios or Rice Krispies), or melted chocolate and crushed nuts.
How: Peel and cut the banana in half and stick a popsicle stick at the base to create a lollipop. Coat the banana halves with vanilla yogurt and cover with cereal, place on wax paper and freeze for about an hour and then wrap in foil and store in freezer for later. For a different twist, you could drizzle with melted dark chocolate and sprinkle with crushed nuts.
Watermelon Sticks: Honestly nothing says summer more than watermelon. It’s a great source of lycopene, Vitamin C and can help with hydration, especially on warmer days. Most often served as a juicy wedge, try transforming it into a dip-able treat that may entice your kids even more.
You’ll need: Watermelon, 8 ounces low fat sour cream, 4 tablespoons sugar (or sweetener of choice), 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
How: Cut the watermelon into 2 inch sticks or small wedges. Combine the sour cream, vanilla and sugar together. Serve in a bowl next to the watermelon wedges.
Homemade Chips: Vegetables may present more of a challenge when it comes to snacks, but you may pique your kids’ interest if you offer veggies as chips. Really, nearly any veggie – sweet potato, carrots, kale- can be morphed into a chip with nothing more than a knife, some olive oil, a sprinkle of salt and an oven.
How: Thinly sliced sweet potatoes, carrots or kale with the ribs removed. Spritz with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and roast on a baking sheet (one layer) and cook it low and slow – around 225 degrees for about 45 minutes but check the chips periodically. (Note that cooking time and temperatures may vary by particular recipe).
DIY Sundaes: These always go over well since it’s up to your kids to make their own. Make it seasonal with a trip to the farmers market and pick out a variety of fruits like strawberries, blueberries try something new! Cut the different fruits into a bite size pieces and let your kids top a bowl of vanilla yogurt (frozen if you’d prefer).
I hope you and your kids try one of these or something else – a little out of the ordinary, fresh and healthy. Happy snacking!
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*This has been a partnered post.