Thursday, July 6, 2017

Mealtime Magic: Unique Healthy Summer Snack Ideas for Kids

Many children are currently home for summer break. A challenge for many parents is how to ensure that the kids get proper nutrition during the summer with lunches and snacks. This is especially challenging if one of the parents is not around during the day. I had a chance to interview Dr. Keith Kantor, a leading nutritionist and CEO of the Nutritional Addiction Mitigation Eating and Drinking (NAMED) program. Dr. Kantor has list of healthy snacks and lunches for the summer that are both nutritional and tasty, and they aren’t the usual suspects. He also has a list of the foods to avoid during the summer months.

 Why is it so important to have healthy and nutritious snacks available during the summer?
Summer can be a time of long lazy afternoons near the water and we tend to grab convenient foods or cold food like ice cream.  Not putting much thought into summer nutrition can lead to weight gain, poor energy and increased risk for health problems.  Instead plan out snacks, easy grilled options, and you will not miss a beat this summer. 

What are some unique kid-friendly snack ideas that are also healthy?
A healthy grilled snack or meal free of refined sugar and high in protein.  Use fresh pineapple and chemically pure ham.
Difficulty: easy
Prep: 5 min.
Cook: 5 min.
Serves: 6
Serving Size- 1 skewer
1 lb. Nitrate free deli ham
3 cups fresh pineapple cut into large chunks
6 long skewers for grill
Poke ham and pineapple onto skewers leaving approximately 1.5” on each end.  Each skewer should have approximately 3 oz. of ham and ½ c pineapple. Grill until marks appear and serve right away.

This is a healthy alternative to S’mores. Same great flavor with less guilt.

Difficulty: easy
Prep: 5 min.

Cook: 5 min.
Serves: 4
Serving Size- 1 banana

4 bananas
¼ c shredded coconut
1 c dark chocolate chips and/or peanut butter chips
1 c mini marshmallows
Peel banana and slice down the middle.  Stuff with approximately ¼ c marshmallows and chocolate chips. Wrap loosely in aluminum foil and place on grill for 3-5 minutes or until chocolate melts slightly. Eat with spoon and ENJOY!

Difficulty- easy
Prep- 5 min.
Cook: NA
Serves 1
Serving Size- 1 apple sandwich

Sneaking in an extra serving of fruit will not be hard with these treats, this is perfect for a might lunch or snack option. 

·       2 small apples, cored and cut crosswise into 1/2-inch thick rounds 
·       1 teaspoon lemon juice (optional) 
·       3 tablespoons peanut or almond butter 
·       2 tablespoons dark semi sweet chocolate chips 
·       3 tablespoons rolled oats or granola

Spread one side of half of the apple slices with peanut or almond butter then sprinkle with chocolate chips and granola. Top with remaining apple slices, pressing down gently to make the sandwiches. Transfer to napkins or plates and serve. 

The Hulk Smoothie
Difficulty- easy
Prep- 5 min.

Cook- N/A
Serving size- 1 shake (12-16 oz.)

This is a great way to sneak in both veggies and fruits. 
1 handful spinach (fresh)
1 kiwi (peeled)
¼ - ½ cup berries
½ cup coconut or organic yogurt
½ c un-sweet vanilla almond milk
¼ c pure pomegranate juice
5 ice cubes

Directions: Blend till smooth and serve

Playing at the pool, lake, beach or anything outside in the summer can dehydrate children without them even realizing.  They need to drink at least half their body weight in ounces or more of water per day.  Avoid juices and sports drinks due to high sugar and sodium content, unless they are extremely active in sports, not simply playing.  Consider drinking hydroxide rich alkaline water that reduces acid in the body and will  reduce fatigue and inflammation.  AQUA-OH! is the best one I found through my research ( The OH- from the Hydroxide alkaline water searches for the H+ proton which causes the acidity and binds to it forming water which is eliminated from the body. The acid (H+) causes acidosis which causes inflammation which is very bad for us. In the case of kids, most of the acid comes from the sugar they consume. Drinking one half their body weight in ounces will keep them hydrated, reduce cravings for sugary snacks and help get rid of the acid thus the inflammation. It comes as a concentrate so it is 250%+ less than other alkaline waters and works better. It has no taste but you can add some Stevia to make it more enjoyable.

Are there any options that parents can prepare ahead of time to have available, that are kid-friendly and creative?

It best to always keep healthy grab and go options in your fridge or freezer. 

Pre wash and chop fruits and vegetables, you can even portion them out into snack baggies and have individual cups of guacamole, hummus or almond butter as a grab and go snack. 

Smoothies can be overwhelming to get all of the ingredients out at once so make baggies of the ingredients ahead of time, store in freezer so they are ready to dump into blender for a quick summer treat. 


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