5 ways to help your kids SNACK SMARTER this summer!

Summer vacation is nearly upon us and that calls for celebration! Longer days and less structure can lead to a whole lot more snacking, though. Use these 5 tips to keep your family from reaching for that umpteenth granola bar!

  1. Fruit, in plain sight. We all know that fruit is naturally sweet, good for you, and universally liked (by most). Keep a bowl of it front and center on your kitchen counter, table, or window sill and watch it disappear. If fruit is the first thing the kids see, it might be the first thing they take. If it needs to stay refrigerated, put a washed and ready-to-eat bowl in the fridge - just make sure it's the first thing they see when they open the fridge so they won't go digging for something else!
  2. Veggies! Grow them yourself or visit a farm-stand! There's no better time to try new veggies than when they're freshly picked, so incorporate a farmer's market or pick-your-own trip around snack-time. Aim to try something new each time.  If you have the time, make your own dip, or puree them into a smoothie!
  3. Create something yourself! Spend a little time in the kitchen making a new recipe with your child, or if they're old enough, have them do it on their own! Kids that bake and cook are more likely to appreciate their food and will be excited to eat it for snack, too. Muffins are an easy place to start, and the varieties are endless! If you're ready for the next challenge, try making some granola bars or date bars. If you need something easier that doesn't require baking, make some energy bites!
  4. Plan ahead! Make a big batch of snack mix or trail mix at the beginning of the week, and have the kids divide it into single portion containers or baggies to grab and go as the week goes on. Include dry cereals, dried fruit, and nuts if you are able. Create something that you know will be a hit!  We like a combination of air-popped Pop Corn, Rice Chex, Cherrios, Raisins or Cranberries, Peanuts or Almonds, and a few semi-sweet Chocolate Chips (although those get messy when it gets hot!).
  5. Have a back-up plan. There will always be a time that you need something in a pinch! Individual packs of raisins, applesauce cups, or Lara-type bars are good to stash by the back door just in case you need something on the run!

And, regardless of what you're doing, remember to drink lots and lots of water to stay hydrated!