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Summer Snacks for Kids

Summer Snacks for Kids

        Snacking between meals is often looked on as a bad choice for children – it will spoil your appetite, too much salt, too many sweets – the list of objections goes on and on.  Eating a few healthy snacks between meals can help kids stay energized throughout the day – especially during the busy days of summer.

       Try offering your child about 2 to 3 snacks a day, depending on his/her appetite. If your child is a picky eater and doesn't usually finish his/her meals, cut back to two snacks per day.   A good choice is to provide mostly fruit and veggies as snacks -- school-age kids need three to five servings of vegetables and two to four servings of fruit per day.

             Your child may be more likely to eat healthy snacks if he/she is given a few options. Keep a bowl of brightly colored fruits and veggies on the counter top, so she can grab an apple, grapes, or a banana when she feels hungry.

           If your child isn't keen on chewing on a whole carrot stick, cut them into bite-sized pieces, which may look more appetizing and are easier for kids to grab. Keep celery sticks, carrot sticks, cucumber coins and other kid-friendly fruits and veggies in the fridge in reusable plastic containers. Your child may be more likely to eat veggies if he can dip them into something tasty. Mash up an avocado or place a small amount of plain yogurt in a bowl for dipping veggies.

            Frozen snacks can be a cooling, sweet treat on a hot summer day.  For your own frozen juice pops, pour 100 percent fruit juice into ice pop molds, then place in the freezer. Serve frozen berries with a small amount of yogurt or cottage cheese for a sweeter snack. 

            Another version of a frozen snack is a frozen fruit smoothie. Gather together the kids' favorite fruits or whatever is available and in season in your area, including strawberries, watermelon, cherries, blueberries and apricots. Cut the fruit into pieces and place one cup of the fruit into a blender with one tbsp. sugar, one tbsp. lemon juice, one cup yogurt and one cup finely crushed ice. Blend the ingredients together on low until well-mixed. Pour the smoothie into individual plastic cups and place a popsicle stick into the center of each. Place the cups into the freezer until they are hard.

         Use silly-shaped, cold pasta to create a snack that does require a fork but is easy to spear.  Cook one package of tri-colored pasta according to the package directions. Drain and cool the salad and place the noodles into a large bowl. Defrost and cook one cup frozen peas according to package directions. Cool the peas under a cold tap and add the peas and one cup cubed low-fat, American cheese to the bowl. Stir the ingredients together with one quarter cup low-fat mayonnaise, one tbsp. lemon juice, one tbsp. pineapple juice.  Serve in plastic cups for easy transporting.

          For silly fruit shapes, wash and cut one whole fresh pineapple, one small watermelon, one musk melon and one cantaloupe into half-inch slices with a sharp knife. Lay out the slices and using small cookie cutters, cut out kid friendly shapes from the slices. Arrange the slices onto a large platter or place them onto bamboo skewers along with other types of fruits, such as whole strawberries, blueberries and grapes. The kids will enjoy the silly shapes while getting a daily dose of fresh fruit.

           If crunchy is your child’s favorite texture, choose apples & breadsticks, carrot & celery sticks, green pepper sticks & zucchini circles, broccoli & cauliflower florets or unsalted rice cakes.

           Happy Summer Snacking!

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