A snackable summer

A snackable summer

kids-snacks-southerncareSo the kids are nearly out of school, and what do kids do when they’re home for summer break? They ask for food. All of the time.

Don’t give in to Frito Lay this summer! While an occasional treat is great, you have growing people under your roof, and you know those yummy salty and sugary processed snacks won’t do them any favors. Instead, plan ahead to stock your snack stash with foods that offer healthful benefits.

How can you supervise healthy summer snacking? No matter if you’re home with your kids during the day, or if they’re with a sitter, it is possible to ensure they’ll have healthy fare at least most of the time they snack.

Fill them with protein. There’s nothing like tasty, empty calories to keep them coming back for more. Instead of 100-calorie packs of crunchy salt and sugar, opt for more filling options like snacks containing peanut butter, cheese or yogurt, dried meats, seeds and nuts, and even eggs. But don’t forget the fruit and veggies. A protein combined with a fruit, veggie and/or grain item will give them lasting fuel for hours.

Limit snack times. If you want your children to partake in a healthy mealtimes, don’t overload them with snacks during the day. An a.m. and p.m. snack should do the trick. But, you know your kid better than anyone, like if he or she is enduring a growth spurt, you’ll likely be able to tell by the number of “I’m hungry”s you hear in the day (as long as you’re following the protein rule).

Consider their activities. If you have an athlete participating in a sports camp, or just a really energetic, outdoorsy kid, then rev up the protein and healthy carbs. And don’t forget to push plenty of water.

Make it conveniently available. As much as we would love to have our kids take the time to lovingly prepare their own healthy snack, we know that is typically not our reality. If you can coerce your child to be involved in snack preparation, wonderful! If not, however, there are ways to make it easy for them to grab and go – which is more likely the daily scenario. Keep a snack basket in your pantry, full of healthy, proportioned snacks from which they can choose. Equally, you’ll want a drawer or shelf dedicated to this in your fridge for perishable nibbles.

No matter what the summer holds, just remember to set perimeters for what is allowed when it comes to snacking. And if you can somehow make it to a local farmer’s market with your child and let them help choose their own healthy foods to turn into easy snacks, they’ll be more likely to enjoy snack time because they participated in its preparation.