Skip the pre-packaged unhealthy snacks, and try these 10 easy and nutritious summer snack ideas.
It’s that time of year again. School is out, and kids are making plans for summer adventures – which will naturally include snacks.
Check out the 10 fun, summertime snack ideas below. Some will take a little more prep time, but once they are done, they will be easy for kids to grab out of the freezer so they can be on the way to their next adventure.
- Frozen grapes – This is a simple yet tasty snack, and red grapes tend to work best. Pull grapes off the vine, toss them into a freezer bag and freeze. When your kids ask for a popsicle or snow cone, give them a handful of frozen grapes in a cup instead. Better yet, fill an ice-cream cone with grapes, and they can also eat the container!
- Watermelon balls – Eating watermelon in the summer is always refreshing, not to mention, it has water to keep your kiddos from getting dehydrated. Rather than just giving a slice or a chunk of watermelon to your kids, grab a melon baller and make little balls. Let them help you so they can take part in making a healthy snack. They can even put them on a skewer for serving.
- Homemade fruit roll-ups – Nearly every kid loves fruit roll-ups. Homemade roll-ups are even better AND are very simple. Choose 4 cups of your favorite fruit and puree. You can add a little sugar if desired. This will make enough for two pans. Spread half of the puree until it is about ⅛-inch thick in a 9×13-inch pan lined with parchment paper and sprayed lightly with cooking spray. Spread the other half in the second pan. Bake at 175 F for 3-4 hours. Make sure the fruit doesn’t become burned or too crispy. Once done, pull the parchment paper with the dried fruit out of the pan. Transfer the dried fruit to wax paper, roll up and cut into 1 to 2-inch strips. Store in an air-tight container or freeze.
- Ants on a log – This classic treat has always been an easy “go to” for parents. It is also fun for children to eat. All it requires is celery, peanut butter and raisins or dried cranberries. Cut the celery into 3-inch long sticks, fill the center with peanut butter, place the dried fruit along the peanut butter and Voila! A healthy snack.
- Cheese, olives and crackers – This may be the simplest snack out there. Grab a plate and cut some cheese sticks, slices or cubes, open up a can of olives and a sleeve of crackers. Kids can combine the three into a sandwich or eat them individually. Or use toothpicks as a skewer and put small chunks of cheese and olives on them.
- Strawberry yogurt popsicles – These are a healthy alternative to popsicles filled with sugar. To make this treat, cut tops off the strawberries, and puree the fruit. Using a popsicle mold, layer pureed strawberries with vanilla yogurt. Put in the freezer overnight and freeze. The next day you have a healthy and refreshing frozen treat.
- Ham and cheese pretzel bites – Kids can help with this hearty snack. Roll cheese up into ham, cut into 1-inch long “bites,” and push a straight pretzel through the side of the roll to hold it all together.
- Butterfly quesadillas – This snack gets in many of the food groups and is as cute as a button to make. Start by making a simple quesadilla. Cut the quesadilla into quarters. Using two of the quarters, turn them so the points touch. Use grapes lined up to make the body of the butterfly and straight pretzels for the antennae.
- Baked apple chips – This snack requires a bit of preparation, but it stores easily for later snacking. Core an apple and cut it into thin slices (the thinner the better – preferably 1/16-inch thick). Place apple slices so they are not overlapping on parchment paper on a cookie sheet. Bake at 200 F for 2 hours. After one hour, turn the apple slices over and bake for another hour. Once they are done, let cool and enjoy.
- Peanut butter and chocolate chip oatmeal energy balls – These energy balls are simple, easy to make, easy to store and require no baking! The recipe below makes about 12 oatmeal energy balls.
- 1 cup dry oats
- ¼ cup peanut butter
- ¼ cup honey
- ½ cup mini chocolate chips
- Dash of salt
- ½ teaspoon vanilla, optional
In a medium bowl, add all of the ingredients, and stir to combine well. The mixture should be a bit sticky. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
Use a spoon to scoop about a tablespoon of the cookie ball mixture into your hand. Roll into a ball. Repeat with remaining mixture.
Store the balls covered in the fridge for up to a week, or in the freezer for much longer.
So there you have it. Ten easy, fun snacks that will keep your children healthy and happy. Have a great summer, and happy snacking!
This article was written by Summer Hansen, USU Extension intern, Box Elder County