Mom Dishes It Out offers up seven healthy snacks to help beat the heat while keeping our children's bellies happy, healthy and full.
1. 100% Juice.
I know some moms are fearful of this sweet drink, but 100% juice is okay to serve. It's a great way to keep your children hydrated during long, hot summer days—especially when they tire of water. Moreover, it exposes children to new flavors that they may typically avoid due to texture issues or picky palates. Fortified juices even provide antioxidants and calcium. If you are still undecided, look for brands that add water to dilute the elixir, thereby making it less sweet and less caloric.
2. Nut Butter Sandwiches.
Turkey is good in the winter, but warmer days can be less than ideal for a sandwich stuffed with deli meats. Instead, consider smearing nutritious whole-wheat slices of bread with nut butter, whether peanut or almond. Nuts are a great source of monounsaturated fat, and they spoil less quickly than cold-cuts. Better yet, have fun with it! Add jam, sliced bananas or thinly sliced apples to the sandwich for a burst of sweetness and extra nutrition.
3. Granola Bars.
We're not just talking about any old granola bar. Avoid the especially sticky, syrupy, chocolate chip filled bars that wind up attracting sand and grit, and cook up your own healthful brand. Not sure how? Try this crunchy granola bar recipe from Mom Dishes It Out. It's packed with fiber and nutrients, and is perfect for those extra scorching days.
4. Aseptic Milk Boxes.
Still not hopping on the juice bandwagon? Then know that just because it's summer doesn't mean you can't serve milk. Rather than risking spoils and spills (as I've experienced; and trust me, it's not fun!), purchase milk that is packaged in containers that resemble juice boxes. Just remember: These cardboard-like boxes are shelf-stable, not necessarily heat-stable, so be sure to pack them in an insulated lunch box or beach bag.
5. Fresh Fruit.
Stay healthy and hydrated with a single serving of fruit. When perusing the produce aisle, go for hardier varieties like apples and oranges, as fruits like berries and melon, while delicious, tend to get mushy and hot after a few hours outdoors. An apple in a lunch box, on the other hand, will maintain a firm feel and appealing flavor for your favorite hungry camper.
6. Fruit Ropes.
If fresh fruit isn't enough, then check out some of the newer varieties of fruit leathers or fruit roll-ups that, to many parents' surprise, are actually on the healthier side. Scan the ingredients, and look that it lists fruit puree or real fruit first. Avoid fruit ropes that include added sugar or syrups, and seek ones that incorporate 100% fruit juice and pectin.
7. Veggie Squeezers.
Hard crunchy veggies, like carrots, may make a great addition to your child's repertoire, but many can begin to bruise or smell when left to bake in the heat. For a bit of variety, try this alternative source of nutrition, available in the toddler section of your grocery store. When shopping for veggie squeezers, look for those made from organic purees of blended fruits and veggies, packed in a handheld pouch.