Healthy On-the-Go Summer Snacking
When you have young children, summer days are often filled with activities—from beach vacations and BBQs to picnics and road trips. Being constantly on the move makes tiny appetites soar, so you always want to be prepared to prevent rumbling tummies and unnecessary meltdowns. This starts with having the right foods on hand to satisfy your family’s hunger.
The problem is, many snack foods today are high in carbohydrates and refined sugar. These can leave children with a temporary sugar rush and ultimately can lead to more cravings. The key is to surround your family with nutritious options that are quick and readily available when hunger pangs strike.
Here are a few helpful suggestions from Kiddie Academy to set you up for success:
1. When in doubt, opt for high-protein snacks or those that are a good source of protein. Smart choices are yogurt, cheese, nut and sunflower seed butters, raw almonds, jerky and hard boiled eggs. Unlike snacks loaded with carbs, foods that are high in protein deliver solid nutrition and keep kids (and adults) fuller longer because they take longer for the body digest. This means energy levels stay up, making your kids more like Olympians and less like summer sloths.
2. Keep a stash of healthy snacks in an airtight container in your car. This will help prevent unnecessary trips to vending machines and drive-thrus. Squeeze packs of apple sauce or fruit purees are convenient for little hands, and will keep well, even in warmer weather. Other better-for-you options include dried fruit, whole grain crackers, rice cakes and seaweed crisps.
3. Remember to stay hydrated. Before offering up a snack, remind your kiddos to hydrate first. It’s easy to confuse thirst for hunger, and drinking water can be equally satisfying without the extra calories. In addition, prep for any outing by packing a refillable water bottle full of ice for each child, then top it off to keep them cool as you go about your day.
4. Freeze nature’s candy for a fresh and wholesome treat. Place seasonal fruits like berries, grapes and even sliced banana in baggies and freeze them overnight for a ready to go snack. They’ll thaw quickly if you’re on the go, but can be cool and refreshing. Frozen fruit also provides a fresh alternative to popsicles and ice cream that can be enjoyed daily.
5. Maintain a consistent schedule for both snacking and mealtime. While it can be tough to instill when you’re busy and on the go, adhering to a strict schedule for snacking and meals will teach your children healthy eating habits, such as moderation. Many kids tend to snack when they’re bored, so getting them on a consistent schedule can help them to learn self-control while also warding off unwanted fat and calories.
Keep in mind, during the summer months the key is planning ahead!