Growing up, summertime was fun, but we know it was pretty hard on our mom. Going from six kids attending school to everyone being at home meant a lot less time to herself and A LOT more money spent on groceries. While some people may dread the question, “What’s for dinner?”, we think our mom dreaded long summers that were full of the question, “What can I have for a snack?!” It can certainly be hard to keep your pantry and refrigerator stocked for the long summer. Here is a list of healthy snacks (and a few tips) to help you avoid that question:
1. Frozen grapes. These are the perfect snack to cool your kids down after playing outside (and they contain much less sugar than popsicles).
2. Build-your-own parfait. Use granola, your favorite flavor of yogurt and a handful of fruit. Let your kids make the layers and choose their favorite flavors. They’ll love being involved.
3. Fresh veggies. *Tip: Cut them up ahead of time, place them in small baggies and keep them in a designated area of the fridge so your kids can grab a snack themselves, or you can grab a few bags when you’re on the go.
4. Crackers and sliced cheese. *Tip: If you know you’re going to be out and about for a while, pack your snacks and bring them with you. We are always toting little, compartmented boxes that can easily hold a few different things. That way, we’re less likely to give into the unhealthy (and sometimes pricey) snacks at the pool or ball park.
5. Craisins (or yogurt-covered craisins). These are always a good quick snack to have on hand. They have less sugar than fruit snacks, but they are still a sweet little treat. Plus, they come in small boxes, so you don’t have to worry about dividing a larger bag among your children.
6. Cottage cheese with fresh fruit. We had a peach tree in the backyard of our childhood home, and this was one of our favorite treats as soon as those peaches started to ripen; it’s a great combo.
7. Ants on a log. Or, peanut-butter-filled celery with raisins on top.
*Tip: Try presenting snacks in a new way: Roll up peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and serve them as “sushi” or arrange fruit to make a smiley face. There are a lot of different ways you can dress up a snack. Be creative! Your kids will love it.
8. Make your own trail mix. Let your kids help you choose what to include. We love granola, dried fruit, sunflower seeds, low-sugar cereals and a handful of M&M’s.
9. Kabobs. Our kids LOVE eating anything off of a stick. Usually we stick with a small cube of cheese (or cut-up string cheese), a small piece of meat and an olive. You could also add pickles or grape tomatoes.
10. Smoothies. This is a great way to get more fruits AND vegetables in your kids’ diets. There are hundreds of delicious, healthy smoothie recipes online. Have your kids help choose the ingredients. You can even make it a game and experiment to see what ingredients make it a certain color.
It doesn’t take too much to ease the stress of summer snacking. A little planning and these few tricks can go a LONG way.