With fresh produce, farmers markets and vegetable gardens, summer is the perfect time to introduce your little one to healthy snacks that pack a nutritional punch. Here are a few of our favorites — perfect for playdates, lazy days by the pool or munching on the go this summer.
Ants on a log
It’s hard to improve on this classic. Perfect for summer snacking, the combination of crisp celery, creamy peanut butter and sweet raisins is refreshing, filling and satisfying.
How to: We’re pretty sure you don’t need instructions, but just in case — spread peanut butter onto celery (the log) and add raisins (the ants) on top of the peanut butter.
Smart swap: Cream cheese can be used in place of peanut butter, which is a great option if you have children with peanut allergies.
Summer isn’t complete without popsicles. Skip the sugar-packed grocery store options and opt for easy, homemade popsicles instead. It’s a great way to use up leftover fruit from the farmer’s market.
How to: Combine 1 cup of mixed berries (frozen or fresh both work) in a blender with 1/2 cup of vanilla yogurt and 2 tablespoons of water. Blend until smooth and pour into popsicle molds. Freeze for 8-10 hours. Carefully remove popsicles from molds and enjoy!
Get creative: Mix and match fruit and yogurt combinations that sound yummy.
Rainbow fruit plate
A playdate favorite, this colorful fruit plate is a fun way to display the fresh produce that is available in the summer.
How to: On a large platter, add the following fruit in arched rows: Strawberries (red), honeydew melon (orange), pineapple (yellow), kiwi fruit (green), blueberries (blue). Add a handful of marshmallows at the end of the rainbow for a sweet treat.
Mix it up: Swap raspberries for strawberries; green grapes for kiwi fruit, mango for pineapple, and so on.
A summer garden wouldn’t be complete without zucchini, and if you don’t have an abundance growing in your yard, it’s a sure bet that the local farmers market has you covered. These “fries” make a healthy, kid-friendly snack or side dish.
How to: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Cut zucchini length-wise into fry-sized sticks. Scatter zucchini sticks onto a baking sheet. Spray with olive oil and sprinkle with bread crumbs and parmesan cheese. Bake for approximately 10-15 minutes or until tender and slightly browned.
Shape up: Cut the zucchini into disks instead of sticks for a fun new shape. Add ranch dressing on the side for dipping.
Want to pack a ton of nutrients into one kid-approved snack? A green smoothie is tasty way to get your kid to eat his greens.
How-to: In a blender cup, add 1 cup spinach, 1 cup almond milk, 1 ripe banana, and 1/2 cup frozen or fresh strawberries. Blend until smooth.
Sweet substitution: Smoothies are a great way to use up over-ripe produce. Fruits like berries, mango and bananas will add plenty of sweetness to a smoothie, so you can skip added sugar.
Food is more fun when you can eat the cup it comes in. Perfect for your summer picnic lunches, cucumber cups are easy to prepare and can be filled with almost anything edible.
How to: Trim the ends of a large cucumber. Cut the cucumber crosswise into one-and-a-half inch slices. Hallow out the middle of the cucumber with a teaspoon, being careful not to cut through the bottom.
Fill ‘em up: Cucumbers provide a perfect kid-sized cup for chicken salad, a mixture of grains and greens, or hummus.
Watermelon on a stick
It wouldn’t be summer without indulging in some food on a stick. But instead of heading to nearest corndog stand, make your kids a healthy summer snack on a stick with watermelon.
How to: Cut your watermelon into triangular pieces — leave the rind on if you want. Slice your pieces about 3/4” – 1-inch thick. Insert a popsicle stick into the rind or base of the triangle, and voila! Watermelon on a stick.
Cut above: Try using cookie cutters to create fun shapes with the watermelon. Watermelon stars are perfect for the Fourth of July!