Has your summer started yet? My boys have 3 days left of school and let me tell you….they are counting the minutes! Our summer is pretty easy going. The kids do a few camps, we travel a ton doing road and day trips but most of all they just love being home. Some days we don’t get out of our pj’s and that is fine with me.
Whether we are hanging in our pj’s or on the road, my boys love to snack. During the school year their time is very scheduled so they don’t have as much down time to think about food. When they are home I feel like every 5 minutes they are asking me for something to eat. My boys are very active and I now understand the saying “boys will eat you out of house and home.” Seriously last weekend I bought 2 boxes of granola bars, they were completely gone in 2 days. WHAT!! I know I am not the only one dealing with this right?
So now I am thinking of all the ways I can keep it healthy throughout the summer, because if they are going to eat me out of house and home I’d rather it be a healthy one. I’ve been chatting with my friend Kristin from Toddlers and Tomatoes and we were comparing notes, as all mothers do and she gave me some great tips that she does with her own children and shares with her clients.
1. If you want your child to be hungry at breakfast, lunch and dinner, they cannot have free access to food throughout the day —> I have a large bin full of snacks that the boys can choose from but they need to ask first. Obviously that didn’t happen last weekend. LOL
2. If you stress out about whether or not to give your child snacks, try to refocus your energy on offering snacks that contribute to their overall nutrition for the day. —-> I make sure that the snacks I provide on a day to day basis are packed with nutrients so if they don’t eat as much dinner that evening I feel OK about it because the other foods they ate during the day were healthy.
3. If you don’t want your children to eat junk food, don’t buy it. Kristin and I both think that when you are out and about treats are OK but on a day to day basis it’s always best to keep it healthy. —-> I stick to the organic section of the grocery store for my snacks or make them myself so I know exactly what’s in the food my boys are eating.
These are some of my favorite snacks to either purchase from the grocery store or make myself. I always prefer to make everything but it doesn’t always workout that way. When buying pre-made snacks the best thing for you to do is read labels to make sure there are no artificial colors or ingredients listed. I always look for the USDA Certified Organic seal which gives me the peace of mind that I am buying a non-gmo food. Healthy snacks keep my boys fueled and healthy throughout the summer and are perfect for camp or a trip to the beach that everyone will love.
Fruit and Nut Balls - I loved these little Fruit and Nut Balls is because it was a fast and easy recipe that my son could help me with. You could also add pretty much any dried fruit or nuts of your choice.
Vegetable and Herb Cream Cheese - We have a garden so one of the ways we use up some of the veggies and herbs is to mix them into our cream cheese. The kids can help by picking the veggies and herbs they want and even mixing them in. You can serve with crackers or fresh cut veggies.
Banana & Peanut Butter – We love to make banana and peanut butter open face sandwiches. Who says we only have to eat oatmeal for breakfast or sandwiches are only for lunch, it’s the habits we fall into that end up making us and our children not want to experiment with new foods because we have conditioned them to only eat certain things.
Healthy Cheeses - Make a little cheese and fruit platter to take with you on those road trips. Cheese is rich in protein and fat which keeps you full and makes for a great snack. It’s important to remember to choose cheeses that are pure and made without fillers. Stay away from cheeses that have additives like whey, emulsifiers and preservatives.
Rice Cakes - We love to make decorate our rice cakes with dried fruit. The kids can make funny faces or anything they desire. I use Lundberg rice organic cakes, they are gluten free and vegan friendly.
Healthy Breads - I make big batches of banana or zucchini bread and cut it in squares and freeze it. Then I can take it out for a quick snack or breakfast when we are on the go. To make it more of a meal serve with yogurt and fruit fruit.
Homemade Granola Bars - Making your own granola bars are much easier then you would ever think and much more cost effective. Now, as you know I don’t always have time to do this so when I purchase granola bars I stick with my favorite Nature’s Path or Cascadian Farm Protein Bars which have 9 grams of protein per granola bar.
Frozen Smoothies - Made smoothies in the morning and you have extra? Don’t worry just pop them into the freeze then you have freezer pops for an afternoon snack. You can pack them with a ton of healthy fruits and yes…vegetables too.
Popcorn - We have an air popper and make a ton of popcorn at once then I put them in little baggies so the kids can grab them for snack. I love this yummy popcorn ball recipe from Eating Well.
Fruit Leather - Buying fruit leather can be expensive, but why buy it when you can easily make your own fruit leather. Again, this is one of those foods that seem like a pain but actually super easy.
Fresh Fruit - Make a day of it and head to your local farm and pick your own fresh fruit, there is nothing better than picking straight from nature. Take all your fresh fruit home and place it in a bowl so it’s easily accessible for your little ones to grab.
Hope these ideas were helpful. Head over to my Healthy Snacks Pinterest page for more yummy ideas and remember to keep it fun and easy throughout the summer. Got any fun healthy snack ideas? Please share so I can add them to my collection.