School’s Out: 22 Ways to Feed Your Kids This Summer
Today on The Daily Meal
For your children, the first day of summer is always a miracle. The world around them is blooming, the pool is begging to be jumped in, and the lawn chairs are the seats where many memories will be made. Summer is more than a miracle, it is downright magical.
That is, until day two of summer. Day two of summer is full of "mom I’m bored's" and, more importantly, “mom I’m hungry's." Suddenly, fireflies aren’t as important as the never-ending ache in their bellies that having loads of free time often brings. And feeding them isn’t quite as simple in the summer as it was in the winter. Sure, you’re used to the morning rush and dinner time challenges, but now not only do their tummies need to be satiated, they need to be intelligently fueled up so they can go off and rediscover the joys of camping out in the backyard and building parts of tree houses.
This often leaves mom in a tough spot. Whether you are staying home with the kids all summer or a babysitter is stepping in, you want to be sure your kids are fed and fueled properly for all of their big adventures. That means not tossing them a bag of chips every time they beg for food. That is where we come in.
You know your kid’s diet better than anyone, so be sure to address it accordingly. Shop smart for your little eater. You can’t expect simple snacks to cut it all summer. Mix it up and challenge their taste buds each week. While you don’t want to buy heaps of something they aren’t going to touch, you do want to make sure you’re keeping it interesting. You can do this by setting time aside on a Sunday or early morning during the week to prep for the week ahead.
Think in terms of refrigerator-friendly bulk items. This means more than pre-slicing fruit and planning out menus (though both are crucial to a summer menu success story). It is about portion controlling and packaging it in ways that make it easy for you, the sitter, and the kids. That way, if they run to the fridge for a snack without you or the sitter watching, they can make choices about food you’ve already pre-approved.
To help you get inspired and prepare for the months ahead, we’ve pulled together a guide of attainable pre-made snacks, lunches, and sweets that will help everyone get through those hot summer days. All of our suggestions from the healthy mid-morning muffins, to the creamy mac n’ cheese, to the homemade ice pops, keep your families’ health and taste buds in mind. More importantly, our ideas are economical, as we know some families need to make their dollars stretch a little farther than others. Ingredients for our meals can be bought in bulk and used in batches to help your family enjoy the summer.
Grab your grocery list to write down the key ingredients to a healthy and tasty summer with your family.
Having precut vegetables at the ready can transform your child’s snack time. Spending an extra 20 minutes in the morning chopping up refrigerator-friendly produce could save you a ton of time when the kids are in a super munchy mood. Slice (and skin when appropriate) vegetables like celery, bell peppers, and carrots, which pair well with a variety of dips.
Certain sliced fruits hold up for longer periods of time in the fridge. When your kids are in the mood for something sweet, cut fruits can help satiate that sweet tooth without compromising their health! The key is to slice fruits that will last the week in the refrigerator like watermelons, pineapples, and cantaloupes. Cube these fruits up into snackable sizes for the little ones to grab and go.
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