22 Ways to Feed Your Kids This Summer (Slideshow)
June 9, 2014
Make the summer stress-free with summer recipes every kid (and mom) will love
Mid-Morning Snack Ideas
Just after breakfast, kids are practically jumping out of their chairs to start their summer day. After all, there are bikes to ride, pools to swim in, and a backyard to explore. Before you ring the bell for lunch, their little tummies are bound to start groaning from all of those adventures. So they aren’t fueling up on junk, try pre-making these healthy snacks to hold them over until lunch.
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.
The best part about yogurt parfaits is that they are healthy and portable. Stock up on mini mason jars, take some of that pre-sliced fruit and layer it with vanilla non-fat yogurt and crunchy granola. Store them on a shelf that kids can reach so they can grab and go with these snacks whenever hunger strikes!
All of those fruits and vegetables may get boring on their own for the kids. Make sure you have some healthy ready-made dips on hand. Hummus or onion dip will pair perfectly with any of those vegetables, and mini yogurt cups or dips will make fruit more exciting. Try portioning them out in mini soufflé cups so you can limit how dip-crazy they go.
Sure, your kids would love a cupcake for their summertime snack, but we promise a healthy muffin will do the trick! Sneak fruits, grains, nuts, and oats into these homemade goodies that will last you at least a week or two after baking.
Hard Boiled Eggs
Eggs are a fabulous source of proteins and a variety of vitamins. Hard-boiling a few early in the week and shelling them for the kids will make a great, healthy snack that is sure to keep them full.
Peanut Butter Pretzels
Scoop out a few tablespoons of peanut butter and set aside in soufflé cups. Portion out hard pretzel sticks in snack bags. Keep them in an accessible cabinet so the kids can grab the peanut butter and pretzels in a snap.
Sandwiches are so last season — really more of a school year thing. Your kids have been eating quickly packed sandwiches for some time now, and we guarantee when you hear them moan “I’m hungry” they want nothing to do with that school staple. Plus, you have the opportunity to prep for the week ahead with these recipes that can feed your little ones a healthful and variety-filled lunch to power them through their summer deliciously.
A pound of pasta goes a long way. Mix some pesto together and sneak in a few vegetables and you’ll have a hearty, healthy lunch for the little ones. Use whole wheat grain pasta for an extra healthy dish and sprinkle non-fat cheese for extra flavor. Put some of the pesto mixture aside and you’ll even have a few extra options for dinner.
Healthy Mac n’ Cheese
What kid doesn’t love mac n’ cheese? While technically considered a hearty winter dish, mac n’ cheese can be made light and healthy with a few tips. Try to be conscientious about the cheese and the pasta you are using, for example. Take the opportunity to sneak in a few vegetables the kids might otherwise refuse, like spinach, mushrooms or even tomatoes. And if you really wanna work the mom-magic on them, use a butternut squash puree that will make the dish creamier than you’d ever believe.
Salads will be your saving grace of the summer. Whether it is tuna, chicken, or egg, all of these delicious salads can be enjoyed throughout the week and prepared in a variety of ways. With light mayonnaise, fat free yogurt and a mixture of crunchy vegetables, you can sneak in a few healthy things while giving them a tasty lunch.
Chicken Cutlet Fingers
Any time you head to a fast food joint, your kids likely beg you for the chicken fingers. With a few simple tricks, you can make chicken fingers at home that are so tasty they’ll never beg for the unhealthy ones again. Pounding the chicken thin, dredging it in wheat flour, egg, and coating them in panko bread crumbs (which are gluten-free) will do wonders for this healthy and tasty kid cuisine classic, and it can be made even healthier by baking instead of frying your creation. You can cook them early on in the week and keep them in the fridge for an easy, warmed-up lunch.
Healthy Pizza Muffins
Who needs a pizza from the local pizzeria? There are two much healthier versions that your kids will love just as much. For the first, take some refrigerated pizza crust and fill greased muffin tins with small round pieces of dough. Fill it with marinara sauce and low-fat cheese and bake it at 350 degrees until crispy. These little bites can be made and enjoyed hot right away or cold for the rest of the week. While we don’t recommend you make the next version in advance, it can be put together quickly. With English muffins, marinara sauce, and cheese, you can make quick toaster oven pizzas your kids will gobble up. Add vegetables to either version and you’ll be just as happy as they are.
Make use of leftovers for the kids’ lunch with delicious summer chicken. Grill drumsticks on the barbecue and make a few extra for the week. The kids will love them hot or cold. Just be sure to monitor them while they eat, since the drumsticks have small bones that could be dangerous for the kids.
Forget Taco Tuesday! Tacos can be enjoyed any day of the week with some DIY taco seasoning and ground turkey. Make it by the pound and have the kids fill their own tacos with a variety of toppings throughout the week. Just be sure to pre-slice the toppings and keep them in fridge-friendly containers so they last the week.
You might be surprised how filling pita pockets can be. Stuff them with lunchmeat for an elevated sandwich or use the pre-sliced vegetables to give them a filling crunch. Be sure to line them with extra hummus so they aren’t too dry for the littler ones.
It would be a little unrealistic to think that your kids won’t want a sweet snack, even will all of the delicious savory options you’ve presented to them. So after a day of healthy meals, treat them to something extra delicious (but also very healthy). Here are a few sweet treats that are perfect for the kids during the summer
Homemade Ice Pops
“Squeeze the lemon” is more than just a fun schoolyard game. Lemons, limes, oranges, and pureed berries all make for a delicious ice pop mixture. Dilute with water and freeze solid in an ice cube tray or popsicle mold.
Frozen Fruit Pops
If you ever want to make fruit more appealing, make it a frozen treat. First, dip it in dark chocolate or a flavored yogurt and place on wax paper with a popsicle stick inserted in it. Freeze for a little over an hour and the kids will have a frozen tasty treat all week.
Don’t underestimate the power of a good smoothie. After all, this sweet frozen delight is made from all fresh fruits and can be blended by the gallon. Portion them out and freeze them so the kids can enjoy a healthy amount. They’ll be so taken with the dessert they will think it is ice cream and not a drink full of fruit!
Jiggly, wiggly, bowls of joy. That is exactly what Jell-O is. And kids? They love it. We mean cannot get enough of it, ever. So make a big batch of it and dish it into dessert bowls. Voila! Instant happiness.
Berries and cherries are delightful summer fruits. Chop them up, pour a little milk over them in a bowl, and add a dash of sugar and you’ll have a sweet summer treat the kids will find refreshing.
Who needs candy when you can have fruit skewers? They are sweet and very easy to make. So easy in fact, that the kids can help you make them in the morning. Rest them flat in the fridge so the kids can grab them and enjoy them out in the yard. Put a few chocolate covered fruits on the skewer for a special treat!
Put the word “pizza” in a dish and kids will be all about it. Add the word dessert and they’ll be off the charts excited. Berries, fruit cream, and even a few sprinkles of cheese on whole wheat dough and you’ll have a delicious dessert that the kids can enjoy hot or cold.