Thursday, May 17, 2018

Healthy Habits: Summer Snacks and Meals

That summer feeling is in the air. Memorial Day is right around the corner and with it will be the official start of summer. Soon children will be home from school for the 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. So, what are some healthy lunches and snacks that children can have during the summer? What are good summer foods and bad summer foods? How can you make sure your child stays hydrated? 

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. He has appeared on CNN and FOX News Channel for his expertise.

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. 

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 hydroxide alkaline 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 water that reduces acid in the body can reduce fatigue and inflammation.  

What are some good snack options that break from a rut?
 Offer them fresh fruits and vegetables; make homemade smoothies with yogurt, fruit, leafy greens and coconut water.  Since kids tend to eat similar items in their school lunches during the school year, get them involved with cooking during the summer and try new healthy recipes to give them an opportunity to get exposed to new foods.  

If parents don't want to heat up the house, what are some good meal options that are still healthy but don't use the oven?


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 unsweet vanilla almond milk
¼ c pure pomegranate juice
5 ice cubes

Directions: Blend till smooth and serve

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