[This piece was written by Elizabeth Katzman, RD, CDN, a clinical dietitian with St. Peter’s Hospital.]
Summer time means family fun time — camping, hiking, and lazy days. Unfortunately, summer time also means increased temperatures and a struggle to provide healthy, homemade snacks that don’t heat up the kitchen. Here are a few standards you and your kids will love, and all can be prepared ahead and stored.
One of the most important things in summer is staying hydrated, but encouraging kids and adults to drink may not be enough. Keep easy-to-grab beverages and full water bottles on hand all the time. A great way to get kids to drink water is by adding fresh fruit to water for more flavor.
Full of vitamins, antioxidants, and water, fresh fruit is a great snack for hot summer days. Simply wash or peel and it’s ready to eat. Cut it up and store in a container for little fingers to grab. Avoid fruit rotting in your fridge by cutting leftovers into small bites and adding to Popsicle molds with 100% fruit juice. Freeze for a healthy frozen treat to eat on the stoop that will keep the kids hydrated too!
Planning a long hike and don’t want to nibble bruised fruit? Try dried. Add salt-free, heart-healthy nuts and seeds, and you have a great snack with protein, fat, and carbs to help power your way up a mountain or around the park.
There are so many fun ways to get your kids to eat veggies. Cut up celery and add peanut butter or cream cheese and raisins. Veggies with ranch dip or guacamole is always a favorite, too. Make small sandwiches with cucumber slices – add a slice of meat and cheese between two small rounds. And sneak veggies into your frozen popsicles by blending them up with the fruit juice!
Healthy “Cookie” Bites
Search Google for “healthy cookie bites” and find one of my family’s favorite snacks. They are easy, with few ingredients, and no oven needed. My favorite is the Raw Cookie Dough Bites recipe below. All you need is a blender, freezer, and 30 minutes. My daughter’s friends are always shocked when they discover these delicious “cookies” are made with nuts!
Raw Cookie Dough Bites
Adapted from: http://www.adashofcompassion.com/
Yield: 12 servings
2/3 cup almonds
2/3 cup walnuts
2/3 cup oat flakes or quick oats
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp salt
1/4 cup honey
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
3 Tbsp mini dark chocolate chips
- In a food processor, process the almonds, walnuts, oats, cinnamon and salt to a fine meal.
- Add the honey and vanilla and process to combine.
- Add the chocolate chips and pulse to combine.
- Roll the cookie dough into balls, about 1 Tbsp each (wet your hands if the dough is too sticky). Place them in a plastic freezer bag and place in the freezer for about an hour to firm up. Keep in the freezer for a quick treat.