The summer season means no school for most kids. Without a structured schedule, they are free to roam about and play all day. While this is not a bad thing, the lack of a set eating schedule can prove to be unhealthy if your kids are chowing down on fatty, sugary snacks between meals like candy, salty chips and sweets.
When it comes to healthy summer snacks for kids, here are a few things to consider:
- Create a set schedule for meals and snack times. While you want to allow them the freedom to go about whatever summer activities they'd like to do, a meal schedule will help you keep tabs on what they are eating and what they are doing throughout the day.
- Make the kitchen off limits when it's not time to eat.
- Hide or don't even purchase any snacks that you consider unhealthy, no matter how badly your child wants it at the grocery store.
- Make your own kid snacks rather than purchasing premade snacks. That way, you'll have a better idea of what your kids are eating. This might also save you some money at the grocery.
Here is a list of healthy snack ideas for kids during the summer:
Cold Vegetable Dips
Serve a cold vegetable medley with fat-free Greek yogurt for dip instead of ranch or sour cream. The crunchiness of the vegetables make them fun for your kids to munch on, and the creamy, zesty taste of the Greek yogurt complements these vegetables well. Serving this chilled will make it a refreshing snack for the summer. Here is a list of some of the nutrients your kids can get from this snack:
They may be screaming for it, but most ice creams on the market are filled with more sugar and fat than a parent would allow their child to ingest in one sitting. While ice cream is a summertime favorite for both kids and adults, treat your family to a healthy alternative in the form of frozen bananas. Here is the step-by-step recipe for this healthy summer treat:
- Peel several bananas and pop them in the freezer.
- Wait for an hour or so, or until the bananas feel firm and frozen and toss them in the blender.
- Blend the bananas until they are a shaved, liquid-like substance.
- Serve the blended, frozen bananas in a bowl with peanuts and dark chocolate as condiments.
The addition of peanuts and dark chocolate makes the frozen treat seem more like real ice cream. Fortunately, all of the ingredients of this healthy summer snack are packed with great health benefits:
- Bananas are a great source for potassium.
- Peanuts have significant Vitamin E, thiamin and riboflavin content.
- Dark chocolate contains antioxidants and flavonoids that are very beneficial to the body.
Main ingredients: Whole oranges and orange juice.
Your kids will go crazy over this sweet, frozen treat, and you'll go crazy over how much healthier it is compared to the frozen slushies' they're used to powering down during the hot, summer months. Here are the directions for making orange slush:
- Slice off the top portion of the orange.
- Carve out the insides of the orange, keeping the peel intact. You should have a hollow, orange shell left over.
- Throw the meat of the orange into a blender and lightly blend it with orange juice.
- Pour the blended mix into the hollow orange shells and freeze them.
This is a healthy, refreshing summer snack for your kids, and will help keep them hydrated as they play under the summer sun. Some other health benefits of this healthy summer snack include:
- Reduced blood sugar levels, making them a great snack option for diabetics.
- High vitamin C content, making it one of the many foods that boost the immune system.
- High fiber content to help with regular bowel movements, and is also beneficial to the gastrointestinal tract.
Homemade Trail Mix
Trail mix is a classic snack served to kids, but they can be a lot less healthy than you think when bought in a packaged mix. Try making your own, homemade trail mix to ensure your kids are getting the most out of this healthy snack. You can pack your trail mix in small, plastic bags for easy transport as your kids roam about during the summer.
When buying the ingredients for any of these homemade snacks, make sure you carefully read the nutrition labels of any packaged and processed items. This will help you find the healthiest ingredients possible. Serve up some healthy summer snacks for your kids to give them the energy and nutrients they'll need for running and playing all day.