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Is this happening in your kitchen? The fridge is opened and shut as kids search for something sweet, something crunchy, something smooth, something that wasn’t there the last time he looked. Welcome to summer.

Hunger may be driving the hunt or it could be boredom. Whatever the reason, it’s good to have snacks ready.

Pinterest guilts us in to thinking we need to sculpt, carve and fill bento boxes with snacks so our kids will eat them. But when faces need washed, teeth brushed, hair tamed, and shoes found, who has time to carve a banana dolphin?

Plain old fruits and vegetables are a go-to solution. Because kids love to dip, peanut butter, bean dip, yogurt, applesauce, hummus, guacamole, pudding or salsa is a match made in heaven.

A parent’s dilemma is how to satisfy hungry kids with healthy, fresh snacks. From tot to teen, snacks can fill nutrition gaps. Besides fruits and vegetables, foods that are good for growing, active bodies are whole grains, lean meats, nuts, seeds, and dairy foods such as milk, yogurt and cheese. Stock up on ready-to-go snacks such as raisins, baby carrots, fruit and pudding cups, nuts, string cheese, and yogurt so the next time the fridge opens you won’t hear: “There’s nothing to eat.”

To kick off summer, here are 13 simple solutions to smash snack time.

1. Smoothies are a great way to clean out the fridge. Use fruits, vegetables, yogurt, nut butters, oatmeal, and flax seeds. Keep the sugar low with plain yogurt.

2. Pair cheese with fruit or vegetables.

3. Squirt hard-boiled eggs with Siracha or salsa.

4. Make whole-grain waffle sandwiches with sliced berries, bananas and almond or peanut butter.

5. Spread sliced apples, celery or banana with nut butter.

6. Layer yogurt, fresh, frozen or canned fruit, and crunchy whole-grain cereal.

7. Freeze ice pops with fruit juice and yogurt.

8. Top cottage cheese with tomatoes and cucumbers.

9. Toast a quesadilla with peanut butter and banana or cheese and beans.

10. Go round with cherry tomatoes, olives, and grapes.

11. Dip mini toaster waffles in yogurt.

12. Keep water and milk in the fridge. Save sports drinks for activity that lasts more than an hour.

13. Make Yogurt Bark

Red, White and Blue Frozen Yogurt Bark

  • 2 cups plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon honey or maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon jam
  • ½ cup blueberries,
  • ½ cup strawberries, chopped
  • ¼ cup slivered almonds, toasted

Line a baking sheet with waxed paper. Place in freezer.

Mix yogurt and honey together. Add jam and lightly swirl through yogurt so you have streaks. Spread yogurt in a thin, even layer on waxed paper lined pan. Sprinkle with blueberries, strawberries and almonds. Freeze until firm, 1-2 hours. Cut into chunks to serve.

Try other flavors of yogurt with these bark toppings:

  • Thinly sliced bananas, graham cracker crumbles, chopped walnuts
  • Raspberries, granola, almond butter
  • Mango, cherries, Cheerios
  • Peaches, chocolate chips, hazelnuts, Kix cereal
  • Kiwi, dried coconut, chia seeds
  • Peanut butter, bananas, chopped granola bars

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Judy Barbe is a registered dietitian, speaker and author of “Your 6-Week Guide to LiveBest: Simple Solutions for Fresh Food & Well-Being.” Visit her website www.LiveBest.info for every day food solutions.

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