Organic and healthy snacks for kids for summer

Now that the kids are home with me for the summer, I am finding lots of opportunities to experiment with new, healthy snacks. During the school year we are much more limited in our choices, either because it has to be something they can take with them to school or because we are often on the go and the snack needs to be portable.

Although if your family is anything like mine you find that within your summer you have both extra time and energy and less because of all that you are trying to fill into that space! So the snacks that we have been trying have been been also both labor intensive and conducive to the extra time of staying at home and playing in the backyard or are perfect for those times when we are running out the door to catch the summer reading program at the library.

A few organic and healthy snacks for kids:

Trail Mix.

Healthy Trail Mixphoto credit: flickr

During the school year we got in the habit of buying trail mix at the store as a quick and easy snack, but I found that all too often they were eating the chocolate and leaving the rest. I was on a mission to use better ingredients that would still be healthy and my kids would actually eat.

I think they key to anything with kids is to include them in the process. We made a list of ingredients that we could use for trail mix. Each week we select several and make a big batch that we can snack at home or put in containers to take on outings.

Sample of ingredients to try (opt for local and organic whenever possible):

banana chips
dried apples
dried cherries
dried blueberries
dried pineapple
dried mango
raisins
coconut shreds
peanuts
cashews
almonds
sunflower seeds
pumpkin seeds
pistachios
pretzels
homemade popcorn
sparingly:
chocolate chips
breakfast cereal
chocolate covered raisins
yogurt covered raisins
yogurt covered pretzels

Kale Chips.

Delicious Kale Chips

photo credit: flickr

I was pleasantly surprised when my kids ate these up like they were going out of style. There are lots of different variations, but the simplest recipe usually calls for kale (washed, dried, and torn into bite-sized pieces with the stems off) tossed with olive oil, sprinkled with a small amount of salt, and baked on a cookie sheet at 350 for about 15 minutes.

Frozen Fruit.

Frozen Red Raspberriesphoto credit: flickr

Simple. Easy. Healthy. Delicious. Our favorites this year have been frozen grapes and frozen blueberries, but just about any fruit can become a frozen treat. Put them on kabobs or eat them plain.

Green Smoothies.

Variety of Yummy and Healthy Green Smoothiesphoto credit: flickr

I have just begun experimenting with these on a larger scale for my own diet, so it makes sense to try to incorporate them into my kids’ diet. I think of this as an easy way to add more green veggies and a larger variety of fruits, veggies, and sometimes “superfoods” because even though we generally eat healthy meals, they still go through picky stages (some more than others).

I don’t really like the idea of trying to trick my kids into eating, or drinking, something healthy. I want them to realize that healthy food tastes good, even if you have to hide a strong flavor with strawberries. So they are aware of what is in each smoothie and I let them help with the preparations and help decide on ingredients. One thing I love about the smoothies is the chance to try new combinations each time.

If you like to use tried and true recipes like I do, there are lots of fabulous resources. I found several books available at my local library that I was able to use to develop a sense of what I like and what works best for my family. I know that there are lots of online resources as well.

Sample of ingredients to try (opt for local and organic whenever possible):

greens fruit superfoods*
kale
red chard
spinach
swiss chard
romaine
celery
collard greens
parsley
butter lettuce
endive
arugula
cabbage
apple
banana
blueberries
grapes
kiwi
lemon
mango
orange
pear
peach
pineapple
strawberries
avocado
bee pollen
nutritional yeast
chia seed
coconut oil or milk
flax oil
ginger
spirulina
plain, full-fat yogurt
raw almonds
raw cashews

* I am still learning about these “superfoods” and recommend that everyone do their own reading and/or consult a doctor on the benefits and precautions before adding any to your smoothies.

I have found that my kids do best with a 50-50 mix of greens and fruits, or slightly heavier on the fruits, and some kind of fat (coconut milk or yogurt are favorites). Today we made one with red chard, blueberries, banana, coconut milk, chia seeds, and ice. They asked for seconds.

What is your favorite summertime snack? I am sure we will need more inspiration as the weeks go on!

This post was written as part of

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Comments

Organic and healthy snacks for kids for summer — 19 Comments

  1. So many great ideas! I want to try making the kale chips and I’m so glad to be reminded about frozen fruit! Baby has Hand, Foot & Mouth Disease right now and I think I’ll try frozen fruit today to see if it feels good on the sores in his mouth. Thanks!

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  4. This post was chosen for one of my top 3 entries from Healthy 2day Wednesdays last week! Have a blessed weekend!

    I hope you’ll link up again!

  5. My daughter has LOVED frozen blueberries since she was teething. When all else fails and we don’t have any great fruit options in the house, I always know she will eat those. And perfect for warm days. When she was a baby, she was permanently stained with blueberry juice. :)
    Mary @ This Human’s Condition recently posted..Psst! Here I Am!

  6. Brenna,
    My two grandkids who won’t eat any veggies but a grudging carrot now and then love kale chips and most fruits. Frozen bars I make from fresh fruit are a big hit too!
    I’ll have to try the green smoothies and see what response I get :)
    Lynn

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  11. Thanks for the kale chips recipe! I’ve been wanting to make them for a while as it seems everyone is talking about them recently.

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