Did you know that many kids eat worse diets and get less exercise during the summer break? Loose mealtime structure, free access to “snack foods” at home and increased screen time are probably the top reasons for this decline in healthy habits. Add to this some family travel, eating on a go, occasional fast food outings and it is clear why summer nutrition has plenty of room for improvement.
To help you beat this nutritional slump, I am opening a series of blog posts featuring simple and healthy snacks that work for both kids and adults. This post features three super nutritious, fun and easy snacks that we recently added to our family’s repertoire. The best part is that they require no cooking, which is perfect for hot summer days when using the stove is the last thing on our mind. And, of course, make sure to invite your little helpers to get involved in making them together.
1. Strawberry Cream Cheese Crackers. Believe me, this gorgeous and snack tastes very close to strawberry cheesecake. It is very easy to put together using whole wheat crackers, reduced-fat cream cheese (can substitute for ricotta or your favorite non-dairy spread) and fresh strawberries. We decorated ours with fresh mint and the kids loved nibbling on the leaves. These mini sandwiches have been the kids’ standby snack for the last couple of weeks and are still going strong!
2. Greek Salad on a stick. Kids love anything on a stick. During the school year, we regularly make the ever-popular sandwiches on a stick to pack in the lunchboxes, using chicken breast or ham, cheese, bread cubes and any vegetables we have in the fridge. Salad on a stick is another ingenious idea that we borrowed from a great cooking magazine for kids Chop Chop. Of course, you can use any combination of vegetables and cheese that your kids prefer. For ours, we chose pitted kalamata olives, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers and marinated feta cheese. To prepare the marinade mix 1 tablespoon of olive oil, 1 tablespoon of chopped mint, and 1 teaspoon of lemon juice. Pour over the cubed feta cheese and refrigerate for about 30 minutes prior to preparing the snack.
3. Banana “ice cream”. This is the easiest and healthiest ice cream you have ever tried. My husband had a hard time believing me that there was no actual ice cream in it. The key to success is having a few very ripe bananas in your freezer. I typically pick those that are past their best from our fruit basket, peel them, wrap them in a cling film, and store them in the freezer. Whenever we are in the mood, we throw 2-3 frozen bananas in a kitchen blender with a few drops of vanilla and a couple of tablespoons of almond milk and process everything until smooth. The girls like to sprinkle the “ice cream” with some chocolate chips to turn it into a refreshing dessert.
If you have a summer party to plan, these no-cook snacks will make great unconventional treats for both small and big guests. And make sure to check out these ideas for healthy party menus for more inspiration.
What is your favorite no-cook summer snack?