Since our littles are on the move even more during summer months, snacking is necessary to hold them over until their next meal. When we think of summer, we may have typical snack foods in mind – candy, chips, ice cream, and soda – all loaded with salt, sugar, and who knows what. Making your own treats puts you in control of what goes inside, giving you the opportunity to get creative and, most importantly, serve the kids something with nutritional value. Read on for 8 better-for-you alternatives to help kick unhealthy summer snacking habits and kick off the summer!
Frozen Banana Smoothies
Instead of throwing away bananas that are too brown to eat, throw them in the freezer to use later as a smoothie base. For a chocolate banana smoothie, blend together 1 frozen banana, ½ cup milk, 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract, and 2 teaspoons of chocolate syrup. For a peanut butter banana smoothie, blend together 1 frozen banana, ½ cup milk, 2 teaspoons of peanut butter, and 2 teaspoons of honey. For a berry-banana smoothie, blend 1 frozen banana, ½ cup milk, ½ cup frozen berries, and 2 teaspoons of honey. Process until smooth and don’t forget to add ice!
Frozen Fruit Bars
Fruits are known as nature’s best snacks. Despite how magical that sounds, it might take a bit of creativity to get kids to eat them. So turn them into refreshing fat-free treats that the littles will love on a hot summer’s day. When comparing to dairy-based frozen desserts, fruit bars are generally lower in calories. Make your own fruit bars by using a frozen popsicle mold. Pour 100 percent fruit juice or fruit purees and add chunks of fruit inside before stowing away in a freezer. Some fruits that taste great frozen include pineapples, grapes, and berries.
Easy to make and easy to eat, these pizza kabobs give parents their kids something to nibble on while enjoying the great outdoors. Use toothpicks as mini skewers. A slice of pepperoni, an olive, small piece of cheese, and a square of whole wheat pita bread on both ends of the skewer are the ideal for a bite-sized pizza. The convenience of this snack lets you enjoy it at the beach or park.
Skinny Strawberry Rhubarb Parfait
The natural sweetness of the strawberries in this parfait make it good for either breakfast or dessert! To make it, you’ll need 1 cup of yogurt of your choice, fresh strawberries sliced thinly, and rhubarb compote. As for the rhubarb compote, you’ll need to bring 4 cups of chopped rhubarb stalks, 1/3 cup of water, and 1/4 cup of maple syrup to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes before storing in the refrigerator. When constructing the parfaits, you can use Mason jars to look cute! You can either mix the yogurt with honey or maple syrup or leave it on its own. Add layers of rhubarb compote and freshly sliced strawberries before garnishing with a drizzle of honey or a curl of rhubarb. Chill or serve immediately for a sweet treat that won’t disappoint!
Recipe via Flavour and Savour
Delicious and easy to make, these yogurt melts are the perfect treat for all ages – from adults to babies starting on solids. Using your favorite yogurt and fruits pureed in a food processor or blender, you can make these for your next picnic. All you do is mix 2 cups of yogurt per 1 cup of fruits. Add drops of the mixture on parchment paper and set them in the freezer for a couple hours. Get creative with the flavors by trying different fruit and yogurt combos. You can also add raw honey, cinnamon, vanilla extract, spinach, kale, carrots, beets, or cucumbers.
Recipe via Creative Healthy Family
Ants on a Log
Here’s one way to get the littles to eat celery. Named in the 1950s, Ants on a Log is a snack made by spreading cream cheese, peanut butter, ricotta cheese, or any number of spreads on celery and placing raisins on top. For those who have peanut allergies or can’t handle other nut butters, such as almond or cashew butters, you can substitute the peanut butter for sunflower seed butter or coconut butter. Try golden raisins and honey for a twist on the classic that kids love!
No-Bake Fruit Pizza
If your littles love Lunchables, they’ll love this healthier alternative! This snack resembles the popular mini snack pizzas without the preservatives and additives you can’t pronounce. Wholesome ingredients and a familiar yet appealing presentation make these no-bake fruit pizzas a fun and tasty summer bite. Use a whole-wheat tortilla, pita, or flatbread as the crust and natural nut butters or Greek yogurt as the sauce. Toppings could include fresh fruit, dried fruit, nuts, coconut, and granola. You can even portion each ingredient and put them in cupcake papers or cups and lay them out as part of a “topping bar.” Your kids can will have fun customizing and assembling their own pizza, an awesome idea for play dates!
Recipe via Two Healthy Kitchens
All Veggie Nachos
Swap out salty tortilla chips for crispy bell peppers triangles! Add dollops of low-fat sour cream and a sprinkle of light shredded cheese of your choice. You can even dip these colorful “chips” in guacamole, hummus, or a homemade salsa. Top with corn, diced tomatoes, avocadoes, cucumbers, and cilantro. This snack is easily adaptable and looks great on the picnic table.
Images via LiveStrong.com, Flavour and Savour, Creative Healthy Family, Food 52, Two Healthy Kitchens, Super Healthy Kids