Having the kids at home for the summer is great, and it affords an opportunity to reaffirm some healthy eating habits. Snacks are an especially good opportunity to improve eating habits, because they are fast and easy to prepare. Snacks are more portable than meals, too. That means you can have them on hand when kids are too hungry to be picky.
Here are some tried and true healthy summer snacks for kids, plus some new healthy meal ideas that you can mix up.
This classic healthy snack is still a winner in a lot of families. Frozen grapes are wonderful on a hot day, plus they can quell a sweet tooth and add a little hydration to boot. If frozen grapes seem boring, move on to other fruits and berries. Frozen blueberries or strawberries and even frozen mango and starfruit slices may spark your kids’ interest.
Hummus and veggies
This is an improvement on the old peanut butter and celery snack. Hummus is healthy and filling. The secret to success here may be to cut the vegetables in interesting shapes. A tool called a mandoline can make a humble zucchini into something an origami crane might envy. Often, success or failure with kids’ snacks all depends on the presentation.
Pinwheels are anything rolled up and then cut into pieces. Typically all the ingredients are layered inside something like a tortilla or a pita, and then rolled up and cut into bite-sized pieces. You can push a toothpick through the pieces if you want to keep them together. Again, presentation matters, so try to use colors. Dark green raw spinach and bright orange carrots rolled up between purple lettuce make a striking mix. Kids love eating colors.
Frozen yogurt and fruit
You can make your own snack here, mixing frozen yogurt with whatever fruit you want. Greek yogurt is especially good as an ice cream stand-in because it is so creamy. Blend one part yogurt with two parts fruit and freeze in little cups with popsicle sticks standing up in the center of the cups. This is a great way to replace a sugary popsicle with a healthy protein snack.
Nuts have an awful lot going for them. They are portable, high in protein, and blessed with a very long shelflife. Their only shortcoming is being high in calories. Some parents mix nuts with dried vegetables, like dried peas and carrots. This makes the snack less dense, and sneaks in some vegetables. These mixes can be kept in a glove compartment for weeks or even months and pulled out at a moment’s notice.