This Summer, to help you plan for successful snacking we’re featuring a series celebrating healthy munchies. With #SnackSmart, you’ll get quick and easy ideas for foods to eat when you need something STAT, but aren’t ready for a complete meal. We’ve been putting together a list of all of our go-tos and hope you’ll find some new favorites, too.
We all know that it’s easier to make healthy eating choices when great options are readily available. Isn’t it easier to avoid the vending machine if you plan ahead and bring something sweet or salty to munch on at work? The same is true for kiddos! If nutrient-packed snacks are prepared and ready for them to nibble on, you’ll be less likely to open a box of cookies or bag of chips when they’re hungry. For this #SnackSmart installment, we’ve rounded up 10 awesome make-ahead snacks kids will love.
#1 – Frozen Yogurt Fruit
With Summer rapidly approaching, we’re sure many of your kids could use a snack that’s as healthy as it is refreshing and we have the perfect thing. Simply wash and dry small fruits like grapes, blueberries, raspberries, pitted cherries or strawberries cut in quarters. Dip each piece of fruit in a lightly sweetened yogurt (we like mixing honey or maple syrup into plain Greek yogurt!) then place on a cookie sheet that’s been lined with wax paper. Freeze until hardened, then remove from wax paper and store in a freezer-safe container until your kids need a nibble!
#2 – Ants on a Log
This is a classic for a good reason, it’s filling and tasty and looks like fun! Presentation is a big thing for kids, especially picky eaters, so making a snack appealing on the eye is a good way to ensure it gets eaten up. Simply wash and dry celery stalks and fill with a nut butter of your choice. Top with raisins (dried currants or chopped dates also work well). Store, covered, in the refrigerator for up to three days.
#3 & #4 – Not Your Typical Nacho Bar; Sweet and Savory
You don’t often see “nachos” on a healthy foods list, but changing up the ingredients can make them a perfect option. Whether your youngsters like fruit or veggies, we think they’ll love these nacho recipes since they can be in charge of their toppings!
- Fresh Fruit + Dried Fruit + Nuts or Unsweetened Coconut Flakes + Caramel Sauce
Slice apples and pears thinly, toss with a little lemon juice to spare from discoloration, and store in the fridge until ready to eat. Next, chop dried fruits and/or nuts and store at room temperature. At snack time, big kids can assemble a nacho plate of fruit and toppings with a tiny drizzle of caramel sauce for a final flavorful flair.
- Veggies + Shredded Cheese + Olives/Avocado + Salsa/Sour Cream
Cut bell peppers and/or jicama into strips and store in the fridge until snack time. Grate cheese, slice olives and avocado and store in the fridge. When your kids are ready, plate up veggies and top with shredded cheese, pop in the microwave for 10-20 seconds until the cheese has melted. Top with olives, fresh avocado, and some spoonfuls of salsa or a touch of sour cream.
#5 – Frozen Banana Bites
Another great idea for warm weather and make-ahead munchies is to cut bananas into 1-inch size chunks, then place on a cookie sheet lined with wax paper. Freeze for 1-2 hours until hardened. Once frozen, remove from freezer and, one-by-one, dip each chunk into melted semi-sweet or dark chocolate (we like using a toothpick to make this less messy). Sprinkle the chocolate-covered chunk with chopped nuts or unsweetened coconut flakes for an extra special bite. Return to freezer until the chocolate hardens up completely and store in freezer until snack time!
#6 – Mini Veggie Pizzas
You’ve seen the frozen bagel pizzas at the big box stores, right? Well this is a super easy and healthy take on those! We start with mushroom caps (washed and dried) on a cookie sheet lined with a piece of parchment paper. Broil the caps for a few minutes on each side, then fill each cap with your favorite store-bought or homemade sauce. Top with shredded cheese and your favorite pizza toppings (cooked meat, sliced olives or fresh tomato pieces and herbs are great options!). Broil for a few more minutes until cheese is melted. Not fans of funghi at your house? Try making these with zucchini or tomato slices. Once cooled, store in the fridge for 3 days and eat cold or reheat in toaster oven, oven or microwave.
#7, #8, #9 – Kid Friendly Kabobs
As we mentioned before, kids are big on presentation. Kabobs have a way of making the most obvious everyday snack something exciting! Here are three of our favorites you can make ahead and store in a resealable container in your fridge.
- Ambrosia Salad Kabob:
We admit, this is a fancy one that makes us think of “salads” we had as kids – full of canned fruit and whipped topping. This is healthier and we bet your kids will think it’s a treat! First, cut up fresh pineapple and bananas into chunks, then pit and halve cherries, and peel and section a tangerine or small orange. Create a pattern of fruit pieces on a skewer (adding one or two big marshmallows for fun, if you want) and sprinkle with unsweetened coconut flakes.
- Fruit and Cheesy Kabob:
A fan favorite, for all ages! Cut apples and pears into chunks and toss with a little fresh lemon juice to keep from browning. Cube your favorite cheese (cheddar, Swiss, and Jack all work well for this). Wash and dry grapes. Alternating fruit and cheese pieces, load up your skewers and voila! A perfectly portioned snack for your hungry kiddo.
- Chef Salad Kabob:
Cube leftover cooked chicken and/or ham as well as your favorite cheese (cheddar, Jack and Swiss work well). Next, cut up some cucumber, bell peppers and wash cherry tomatoes. If you’re going to serve these immediately, add some chunks of avocado. Load your skewer with veggies, meat and cheese. Serve with a spoonful of your favorite salad dressing on the side to dip.
#10 – Homemade Granola Bars
Granola bars are perfect choices for kids because they’re portioned out and portable. Plus, making them at home means you can really control the ingredients to make sure your child is getting vital nutrients and favorite flavors. We love this Peanut Butter Chocolate Trail Mix Granola Bar because it’s salty and sweet. Extra bonus? This recipe doesn’t require baking!
There are literally thousands of great ideas for kid-friendly snacks online. One of our favorite sites when we’re looking for child-friendly food inspiration is the snack page over at Super Healthy Kids. Take a look for more great ideas to help your whole family #SnackSmart!
Does your kiddo have a favorite kind of snack? Tell us in the comments below!
Make it Happen,
– Team FitStar