9 Tips for Summer Snacks

Put a healthy twist on summer snacks

9 Tips for Summer Snacks

On hot summer days, kids love to run after the ice cream truck or dig the popsicles out of the freezer. However, these summer favorites are often packed with added sugars and artificial flavors. Pediatric registered dietitian Jennifer Willoughby, RD, LD, shares some summer snack time tips so your kids can enjoy sweet treats without dyeing their insides blue.

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1. Enjoy nature’s candy

For those with your hands full, snack preparation might be neglected at the bottom of your to-do list. Instead of tossing highly processed cheese crackers in the backseat, Willoughby recommends simply freezing some of your children’s favorite fruits for an easy and healthy snack. Throw some grapes, banana slices or berries in a baggie and freeze them overnight for a quick go-to the next day.

9 Tips for Summer Snacks

2. Go Greek

Source some extra protein by giving fruit a creamy Greek yogurt coating. Willoughby suggests letting your kids dip berries in Greek yogurt and placing them on parchment paper before sticking them in the freezer. Experiment with different yogurt flavors to satisfy every taste bud in the family and pop these like candy throughout the day!

9 Tips for Summer Snacks

3. Or go chocolate

Get even your pickiest eaters to fulfill their 5 A Day. Coat fruits in dark chocolate and either freeze or enjoy fondue-style for a sweet treat full of antioxidants. Opt for dark chocolate labeled at least 70 percent cocoa —in moderation, dark chocolate can be a healthy way to incorporate fruit into your children’s diet while satisfying their sweet tooth.

9 Tips for Summer Snacks

4. Go nuts for bananas

Summer’s most versatile snack goes to bananas. Treat them like nature’s popsicle by freezing them on sticks after dipping them in dark chocolate or yogurt. For a crunchy coating, roll in nuts or sprinkle on coconut shavings.

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9 Tips for Summer Snacks

5. I scream, you scream, we all scream for…

Bananas. That’s right, ditch the gallon of ice cream for a healthy alternative without compromising taste or texture. Puree frozen, peeled bananas to make “ice cream” for which you won’t have to limit scoops. Enjoy as a simple, one-ingredient dessert or add peanut butter, dark chocolate chips or nuts to recreate your favorite flavors.

9 Tips for Summer Snacks

6. Mom-approved ice pops

Use plastic cups (or popsicle molds) as makeshift molds for homemade ice pops. Combine and puree three cups of your child’s favorite fruit with a half-cup of water and two tablespoons of agave nectar and fill the cups three-fourths full. After setting in the freezer for 30 minutes, place a stick in the center and continue to let freeze for at least three hours.

9 Tips for Summer Snacks

7. Shape good eating habits

“Get your cookie cutters that you haven’t used since Christmastime and cut out some watermelon, cantaloupe, honeydew and pineapple,” Willoughby recommends. Experiment with different fruits to see what works best —she suggests using small cookie cutters for best results. “Let the kids choose the shapes and colors they want. They can really make a fun snack that way.”

9 Tips for Summer Snacks

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8. Choose from a hand-held snack buffet

Finicky eaters won’t have to worry about their food touching with this grid-like alternative to plates. More spill-proof than the average bowl, fill an empty ice cube tray with colorful snacks and appeal to even the pickiest of eaters. Throw in strawberries, berries — along with some more savory selections like peas, corn, edamame, cheese cubes, cucumber slices — and whatever else you can fit!

9 Tips for Summer Snacks

9. Stick with simple

Everything is more fun on a stick. Save room in the dishwasher by placing bites of fruit on a skewer to make fruit kabobs. Grapes, pineapple chunks, banana slices and melon cubes work best!

With these helpful tips, you can prove to your kids that healthy doesn’t have to be boring. Willoughby says you should aim to schedule your children’s snacks for the same time each day to ensure your child won’t miss any of the nutritious benefits these snacks offer.

9 Tips for Summer Snacks

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