Creative summer snacking
By Beth Cecil
Owensboro Health HealthPark dietitian
My mom is taking my kids on a vacation this week to North Carolina. One of the things we discussed packing for them was a cooler full of snacks. When traveling with kids, she knows that it always helps to have quick and easy snacks on hand.
Kids love snacks and many adults do too.
While kids have smaller bellies and often need these “mini meals” to provide them with fuel for growing, playing and learning, adults have been eating snacks more frequently as a way to stave off hunger, reduce overindulgence at mealtime and even assist with weight management. I have always been a big “snacker” and am frequently asked by patients for snack ideas. So, as I am planning the snacks I will pack for my kids--yogurt, cheese and crackers, and grapes--I also am trying to think of new and creative snack ideas for us all to eat this summer.
In my opinion, snacks need to be easy to prepare. They are also a great opportunity to incorporate the many fresh fruits and vegetables that are in season.
Here are a few of my ideas.
- Combine ready-to-eat cereal, dried fruit and nuts in a baggie for an on-the-go snack.
- Top low-fat yogurt with granola and fruit
- Toast a whole grain waffle and top with fruit or dip it in sugar-free syrup or caramel
- Eat peanut butter with apple slices, celery or a banana
- Assemble fruit kebobs with diced fruit placed on a skewer. Dip it in low-fat yogurt or roll it in some coconut. Or try making a kebob with cheese cubes and grapes on pretzel sticks.
- Make a mini sandwich with turkey, ham, egg-salad or tuna salad using a dinner roll, or sandwich thin.
- Make a roll-up using mustard or low-fat mayo on a tortilla with your favorite lean lunch meat.
- Top popcorn with Parmesan cheese or butter flavored sprinkles.
- Top a tomato or peach with cottage cheese.
- Create a mini-pizza using an English muffin or whole grain tortilla. Top it with pizza sauce, your favorite veggies and low-fat mozzarella cheese and place in microwave for about 1 minute.
- Whip up a smoothie using ingredients such as fresh or frozen fruit, low-fat milk or yogurt and juice.
These are some kid friendly snacks:
- Ants on a log: Spread celery with peanut butter and top with raisins.
- Fish in the river: Spread celery with low-fat cream cheese and top with goldfish.
- Fill an ice cream cone with fruit and top with low-fat vanilla yogurt.
- Sandwich cutouts: Make a sandwich on whole-grain bread and then cut it out with cookie-cutters.
- Banana split: Top a banana with frozen strawberry and vanilla frozen yogurt and granola or your favorite whole-grain cereal.
- Rocky Road: Combine a broken up graham cracker and a few mini-marshmallows with low-fat chocolate pudding.
- Freeze grapes, berries or bananas for a cool and refreshing quick snack.
And here are some great ideas for “Dipping”:
- Dip fresh veggies such as cucumber slices, cherry tomatoes, carrots, celery, or squash in low-fat salad dressing.
- Dip berries, apples, peaches or bananas in low-fat vanilla or any flavored yogurt.
- Dip pretzels in yellow or spicy mustard.
- Dip graham crackers in applesauce or fat-free caramel sauce.
- Dip baked tortilla chips in salsa or bean dip.
- Dip pita chips or pretzel chips in hummus.
- Dip animal crackers in low-fat pudding or yogurt.
- Dip a whole-grain waffle in cinnamon applesauce.