Hot summer sun and endless imaginations make for building up quite an appetite. Rather than feed your kids snacks filled with sugar that slow them down, why not serve them a delicious treat filled with nutrients that tastes good too? These snacks are not only kid pleasers – parents will love them as well. So when your kids come in from the playground or pool this summer exhausted and begging for snacks, don’t bust out the nachos and corn dogs. Try one of these healthier options instead:
- Fruit Kabobs
Getting your kids to eat fruit a la carte can be difficult, but spicing it up with an interesting presentation might be the trick you’ve been searching for to get them excited about eating healthy. Start by selecting some of your favorite fruits, which can be anything from grapes, bananas, oranges, apples and strawberries to watermelon, pineapple, cantaloupe and kiwi. After cutting up the fruits into little bite size pieces, just place them on wooden skewers in different combinations.
If you want to get creative for a family picnic or barbeque, you can place all the fruit in a large bowl or carve out a basket from a personal size watermelon. Then each person can build an individual kabob with all their personal favorites! Don’t forget to leave the wooden skewers on the side to avoid dirty hands all over your fresh fruit.
- Peanut Butter Granola Balls
If you decide to make these granola balls for your children, plan on making them a lot because they will most likely become one of their favorite snacks. The best part – you probably already have all the ingredients in your pantry. For this recipe you’ll need oats, rice cereal, honey, peanut butter, butter, cranberries and chocolate chips.
First, melt the butter, peanut butter and honey in a medium sized pan. Once melted, stir in the oats, rice cereal and berries. Wait to stir the chocolate chips until you’ve given the mixture some time to cool. When you’re ready, form the granola into little balls and place them in muffin cups or on wax paper. Chill the balls for about 15 minutes and enjoy! Next time, get the kids to help out. It can make for a simple family activity that’s fun for both kids and adults.
- Bagel Gone Bananas
This bagel idea is perfect for a relatively healthy breakfast snack on the run. All you need is some natural nut butter (almond, cashew or peanut should be fine), a little honey and a pinch of salt. Split and toast a whole wheat bagel as your normally would. While the bagel is toasting, mix together nut butter, honey and salt in a small bowl. Spread the mixture on the bagel halves and top with banana slices for a surprisingly filling breakfast treat.
- Rainbow Snow Cones
Making healthy rainbow snow cones is easier than you think. First, blend up some ice until it begins to look like snow. Then, juice some fruit and vegetables that you have around the house and put the juice into squeeze bottles. Finally, fill some cups with ice and simply squirt the flavors onto your healthy snow cone to enjoy!
- Smoothie Bar
Just like the peanut butter granola, this snack can make for a fun activity to get the kids involved. The only tool you need to make a great smoothie is, of course, a blender. Once the blender is ready to go, then it’s time to gather your ingredients. Everyone will have their own preferences when it comes to ingredients, but here are a few ideas to get your healthy smoothie bar started:
- Fresh fruit, the best part! (Apples, bananas, mangoes, pineapples, watermelon, etc.)
- Fresh greens (spinach, lettuce, kale, etc.)
- Frozen fruit
- Ice cubes
- Sweeteners (honey, maple syrup, dates, etc.)
- Coconut water or milk (healthier than regular milk AND soy)
After choosing you’re ingredients, just lay them out on the counter and get the party started! While you can find many smoothie recipes online, the best way to learn to make a good smoothie is by trial and error. Don’t be afraid to push the limits and try again, practice makes perfect.
- Fruit Filled Popsicles
Another simple treat your kids will love, fruit filled popsicles are super easy to make. Fill a popsicle mold with chopped fruit, then pour juice or water over the top and freeze. It only takes a few minutes to set up, and the final product will make your kids eyes widen with awe and amazement.
*Leftover smoothie from #5 works great for a cool treat later using this same method.
- Enchilada Veggie Quesadillas
These open faced veggie quesadillas are perfect for an afternoon snack or an easy meal on a busy night. Just fry some corn tortillas as you normally would, then cover them with enchilada sauce, veggies and cheese. Peppers, corn and olives go great on this tasty treat. Heat them on the pan or in the microwave to melt the cheese, then garnish with fresh cilantro and sour cream and you have a healthy meal in minutes!
- Ants on a Log
This tasty snack is one of my personal favorites, and is extremely quick and easy to make. Take some celery sticks and spread peanut butter in the crevice. Then top the peanut butter with various snacks (ants) like raisings, peanuts, granola or dried cherries.
- Homemade Ice Cream
While this statement may surprise you, eating ice cream does not always have to be unhealthy. In fact, if you blend up frozen bananas and add a drop of vanilla extract and milk, your kids won’t even be able to tell there isn’t sugar in this ice cream. All you’ve got to do to prepare is freeze some bananas, and then don’t forget to put the cherry on top. For extra fun, make an activity out if it by laying out some fruits and setting up a little sundae bar.
- Carrots & Peppers with Hummus
This classic snack never fails. Just cut up a bag of bell peppers and set them out with some carrots, then watch the hummus disappear! You’ll be happy to hear that bell peppers are a great source for antioxidants and contain high amounts of vitamin C, A & B 6. Just don’t tell your kids.
Hopefully this list will give you everything you need to take a stand this summer when your kids try and beg for sugar filled treats, offering them snacks that give them energy and can taste just as good, if not better!