Healthy, Easy, Kid-Friendly Summer Snacks!!

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Summer’s almost here and for most of us that means being on the go-go-go with our kids kids kids!  It also means you’re most likely going to be scrambling for snacks for your hungry little ladybugs and tigers all day long!  In an effort to keep the kids away from processed sugars and starches, here are a few guaranteed snack recipes and ideas that your kids are gonna love! 

THE CULPRIT: THE EVER SO UNHEALTHY BAG OF CHIPS AND DIP

THE HEALTHY SWAP: SLICED CUCUMBERS WITH VEGGIE CREAM CHEESE

Slice some hot house or english cukes on the bias, leave the skin on and give it a good ol’ schmear of reduced fat cream cheese!  If you’re feeling extra enthusiastic… make your own veggie cream cheese.  Just buy a tub of your favorite plain cream cheese- I like the whipped one, finely dice up some green onion, red bell peppers & carrots and you’re good to go!  The kids go nuts over this.  It’s got crunch and flavor and they know not the difference! 

THE CULPRIT: SUGARY ICE CREAMS AND POPSICLES

THE HEALTHY SWAP: FROZEN STRAWBERRIES OR GRAPES

Just wash and throughly dry some fresh strawberries or grapes, put them in a freezer safe container and throw them in the freezer for a few hours… they come out cold, sweet and taste like frozen little pieces of candy!   Perfect to cool you off on a hot summer’s day with out all of the added sugar, fat and guilt of ice cream and popsicles! Perfect to grab a handful on the beach!  If you’re feeling extra snazzy… whip up some fresh whipped cream and make it a little frozen sundae… top with some fresh shredded coconut… YUM!  They’ll never know they’re eating something healthy for them! 

THE CULPRIT: FAST FOOD CHICKEN NUGGETS AND FRIES

THE HEALTHY SWAP: FRIED NOT SO FRIED CHICKEN NUGGETS AND POTATO WEDGES

So this might sound like it’s a lot of work, but I assure you not only is it super easy, fast & delicious to make… the benefits far out weigh the fat, cholesterol and calories your kids will be getting from those fast food joints! This requires no more than 2 ziplock bags, a sheet pan and an oven!  Just grab a package of chicken tenderloins from your market… give them a quick dip in 1 beaten egg with 2 tsp. of water.  Then throw them in a ziplock bag with some seasoned bread crumbs… give it a good shake and coat them on each side.  (make sure to add a little salt to the bread crumbs) Place them on a sheet pan that you’ve either sprayed with some non-stick spray or drizzled a bit of olive oil and throw them in the oven for 15-17 minutes turning them over once at the half way cooking point. 

As for the fries… oh I’ve got this covered…so much so that you’ll even be able to have a few of these wonderful fries that we figure-watching moms try to avoid like the plague!   Get some potatoes- I use Idaho brown potatoes… you know, the big baking ones- but any will do.  I peel them… now here’s the most important tip whenever using potatoes… always allow them to sit in a bowl of cold water once you’ve peeled them for at least a minute or two… potatoes release a chemical that can be harmful to us if we don’t do that step for a few minutes. Quarter these potatoes, give them a light drizzle of olive oil and a good sprinkle of coarse salt (this is the key) and put them in the oven on 425 uncovered for 25 minutes.  Crispy, golden, and most importantly… HEALTHY!  Serve with some ranch or bbq and voila! Bye bye fast food for good! 

Other good things to dry… Guacamole & baked tortilla chips… mash some avocados and add a spoonful of fresh salsa!

Try drying your own fruits in a food dehydrator- it’s a delicious and inexpensive replacement for all those fruit roll-ups that let’s face it really don’t contain all that much fruit!  Mangos, Strawberries, Apples, Peaches!  

And when the kids start asking for soda… give this one a go- Squeeze some lemon & lime and add it to some seltzer water… give it a splash of grenadine and it’s like a home made shirley temple!  

Hope I’ve given you just a few ideas to fill up those 94 days of summer!!

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