Is this just a phenomenon at my house, or do your kids eat about a billion times more during the summer months? Seriously, between all the fresh air, the swimming, and the running around, my kids have been eating as much as fully-grown people these days! I’m starting to feel like all I do is grocery shop and pass out snacks. We’re quickly tiring of our usual snack rotation of crackers, cheese sticks, and fruit, so I’ve been searching the web for some new and tasty snack ideas to fill them up and give them some sustained energy for their warm weather adventures. Here are some favorites we’ve discovered!
- Secret Spinach Smoothies: My kids aren’t the best about eating their leafy greens, but they will eat pretty much anything in a smoothie. Our local farm CSA has been providing us with lots of fresh spinach, so I’ve been sneaking it in that way. I fill the blender with about 1/3 baby spinach leaves (stems removed), 1/3 mixed frozen berries, and one frozen banana. I then add a splash of orange juice (about 4 oz) and water as needed to get the consistency smooth. We freeze leftovers in ice pop molds.
- Ants on a Log: This is one of my childhood favorites that seems to have fallen out of fashion! Simply spread peanut butter (or really any nut butter or sunflower seed butter) on a celery stick, and let the kids add raisins as “ants”. As a treat, we use yogurt raisins.
- Fruit Kabobs: Just as they’ll eat anything in a smoothie, my kids will eat pretty much anything on a stick. Fruit kabobs have been a good way to entice them to eat fruits they otherwise may not like. Make sure they know to slide the fruit to the top to eat it so they don’t end up poking the stick in their mouths! If you’re really creative, you can cut the fruit into fun shapes with tiny cookie cutters. I’m not, so my kids will have to learn to love rectangles. 😉
- Faux “Milkshakes”: I loosely followed this recipe for a banana and almond milk based healthy version of a Wendy’s frosty, and my kids went crazy for it. Full disclosure: I used some Ovaltine powder, which I know, I know, isn’t perfect, but it’s still miles better than the original frosty.
- Homemade Trail Mix: My kids love to help decide what will go in our homemade trail mix. We often include raisins (either golden or regular), cereal bits (they especially love the Kashi heart cereal lately), wholegrain cheddar crackers, nuts of any kind, and coconut flakes.
- Orange Mango Pops: Ripe mangos are really sweet on their own, and often very inexpensive if you shop the “bruised produce” cart at your local grocery store (and I do!). Simply buy an overly-ripe mango, peel it and cube it, and blend it with just enough orange juice to make a thick but pourable liquid. Freeze it in popsicle molds, and you’ll have all-fruit, no sugar added pops.
- Banana on a Stick: Bananas really fill kids up for a good amount of time, and they have so much potassium! My kid think it’s a huge treat if I take a peeled banana, cut it in half and stick a popsicle stick in the bottom, and cover it with a thin layer of peanut butter (again, you can certainly use any nut butter or sunflower butter here). We then let the kids roll it in a mixture of coconut, crushed walnuts, and maybe a few rainbow sprinkles (because it is a treat, after all!). Honestly, we just use whatever “topping” we have on hand to coat it and voila! Delish.
- Air-Popped Popcorn: This may be one of the cheapest snacks out there. We bought an air popper a few years back for less than $20, and my kids are still obsessed with it, even now, after the novelty wore off. They love air popped popcorn, and happily eat it plain, with a sprinkle of parmesan, with a drizzle of melted dark chocolate, or with a light sprinkle of cinnamon and sugar. So much cheaper and healthier than the microwave version!
Do you have any easy, (fairly) healthy snacks in your summer rotation? Share them! We’re always looking for new ones! 🙂