I don’t know about you, but I run out of snacking ideas for the kids about six hours into summer vacation. We all know the “Good Mom” drill: offer them apple slices, carrot sticks and string cheese…but my good intentions are met with moans and groans, and it’s not long before I find myself buckling to the pressure of potato chips and ice cream.
After 14 years of parenting, I’ve learned a few tricks when it comes to kids and healthy eating. Trick number one is this: you have to be creative with what you put in front of them. Kids can sniff out those healthy intentions the moment complex carbohydrates are set before them…and who can blame them? We all eat with our eyes first (meaning that things have to look good before they ever get a chance to go in our mouths.) But with a little bit of thinking ahead, we can make everyone happy by offering interesting, delicious food that is fun to eat (and healthy, too!)
So here are some snacking ideas that might get you part way through June…or maybe even all the way into July!
Fruit kabobs – the fun is in the making of these babies. Chop up a bunch of fruit and let the kids build their own. They love the power of customizing their own kabob!
Yogurt Covered Raspberries – or blueberries or strawberries…you get the idea. Click HERE for tips or creative adaptations. (Bonus: Greek yogurt adds a little protein!)
Watermelon Pops – why is it that everything is more fun when it’s cut into shapes? Let the kids pick the shape, and if you’re really feeling adventurous, insert a stick and call it a Watermelon Pop.
Homemade Protein Bars…but shh! Don’t call them that. They double as no-bake cookies. The kids will never know the difference (and you will love that they are a good source of protein without any added sugar.) Click HERE for the recipe.
Homemade Popsicles – I still remember getting excited to make these as a kid. We are eons past the days of pouring Kool-Aid into popsicle molds, however. Now we have recipes like THESE to make it healthier and tastier.
Snack Sticks – Think long and skinny, and you’ve got the right idea for this snack. Start with healthy ingredients like carrot sticks, whole wheat bread, cheese, apples, pretzel sticks, etc. Cut them up in sticks, and let the fun begin!
Toothpick Snack – Same idea as Snack Sticks, only this time everything has to be eaten with a toothpick. Cut bread, cheese, bananas, apples, even turkey into chunks, and model to the kids the art of eating with a toothpick. (Grapes are a favorite for this snack!) This actually doubles as a lunch favorite. For more healthy lunch ideas for kids, click HERE.
Cracker Sandwich – It might take a while for the kids to catch on that this is basically a turkey sandwich. The crackers give it some good camouflage! Three ingredients are all you need: cheese, turkey and some good whole wheat crackers (I like Ritz.)
Frozen Bananas (or ice cream?!) – These are a hot item at my house. When they are too ripe to eat, I slice them up and freeze them for smoothies (great smoothie recipes and tips HERE.) But I soon noticed little hands digging into the banana bag, and the perfect treat was born. If you are feeling extra ambitious, try pureeing them to make “ice cream.” So refreshing, and fun to add different toppings. See recipe HERE.
Your turn! What are some of your kids’ favorite healthy snacks?
Jenny Layton is the owner and creator of the blog The Happy Gal. Her new cookbook,“Healthy Eating The Happy Gal Way” teaches women how to make healthy eating easy and delicious – and create great results. As an author, speaker, blogger, coach, and professional organizer, Jenny helps women create a life they love, full of peace and purpose.