Summer is the time of year when most families find themselves constantly on-the-go and in a never-ending flurry of activities. Making sure there is a variety of on-hand healthy summer snacks for kids can be daunting even for the most health-conscious and organized parent. Ideally children should snack every 3-4 hours to keep insulin levels normal and to provide the extra vitamins, nutrients and fluids their growing body needs.
Summer vacation is an extremely important time to pay attention to your children’s diet. Many children continually graze on sugary drinks, fast food and sugar-laden desserts during the summer months. A 2016 study showed that summer vacation is the danger zone for childhood obesity, suggesting that interventions need to move beyond what goes on during the school day. The results of another study led by Imperial College London and WHO (World Health Organization) indicated that among high-income countries, the United States had “the highest childhood obesity rates for girls and boys”, 19.5 percent and 23.3 percent, respectively. This research also indicates a tenfold increase in childhood and adolescent obesity in the last four decades.
One of the best ways to encourage healthy eating is to prepare healthy summer snacks in individually portioned and ready-to-go-snack bags. Below are some easy and healthy summer snack ideas that will help you plan delicious and nutritious summer snack foods for your children as well as their friends! Remember advanced preparation is the key and good health is the result. But…shhhh!…don’t mention the “healthy” part to the kids.
13 Healthy Summer Snacks for Children
1. Provide organic fruits such as grapes, orange slices, cherries and strawberries washed, sliced and ready-to-eat in a cool-looking bowl in the fridge. Kids will love the convenience and the cold fruit will be refreshing on those hot summer afternoons. If you are traveling, place ice packs in a cooler and put the sliced fruits in baggies. Search the Internet for a healthy fruit dip that your children will like.
2. Make healthy ice pops out of freshly juiced fruits or organic, no sugar added fruit juice. Add some banana, strawberry, blueberries, orange, mangoes, etc. pieces to the mixture. Peach, Mango and Strawberry-Orange popsicles will earn you the parent-of-the-year award!
3. Put together (in advance) bags of snacks in individual portions such as healthy granola (no sugar!), snack bars, almond butter-cracker sandwiches, etc. so that they are ready to grab for a healthy snack on-the-go.
4. Keep a bowl of pre-cut veggies such as carrots, celery, bell peppers, squash, etc. in the fridge. Make up several fresh healthy dips in which to dip the veggies.
5. Make your own “healthy” trail mix and individual portions into snack bags.
6. Peel and half bananas, put wooden sticks into the end and freeze. Banana Pops are delicious and provide potassium.
7. Using a Vita Mix or one of the high-speed blenders make a healthy ice-cream using frozen fruit, stevia/xylitol/honey, organic cream/milk/almond milk/hempseed milk and vanilla.
8. Keep a jug of our healthy Summer Thirst Quenchers in the fridge.
9. Organic Apple Sandwich Snack (Almond butter is best!) Your children will LOVE making these fun and tasty treats.
10. Almond Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies make a kid-friendly snack…gluten-free and delicious!
11. On those unpleasantly hot afternoons, treat your children to a Fresh Strawberry Milkshake made with almond milk!
12. Baked Sweet Potato Chips. Easy to make and your children will love them. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Thinly slice sweet potatoes no more than 1/8″ thick. Place on a baking sheet and brush lightly with unrefined coconut oil. Bake for about 15 minutes or until chips are lightly brown. Add some Himalayan Crystal Salt. Serve with homemade salsa or dip.
13. Prepare Smoothie Bags Ahead of Time – Make frozen smoothie packs every Sunday to last the whole week. In the bags place several pre-chopped fruits and at least one green veggie. When you’re ready to enjoy a smoothie just pick a bag and blend. Simple and quick. Add almond milk and a scoop of your favorite protein powder when it’s time to make them and you’ve got an instant healthy and great tasting afternoon smoothie for your children.
Snack time for your children doesn’t have to be full of harmful chemicals often found in pre-packaged foods, high-fructose corn syrup or refined sugar. Include your children in the planning and preparation. They will enjoy the time spent with Mom or Dad and you will be teaching them important healthy eating habits even when all they want is a quick snack. Healthy Summer Snacks Rock!!