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Summertime Snacking


By Stefanie Cassetto

Summer is almost officially here and soon the kids will be on vacation! So many days to fill and so much to do! While you are filling in your calendar with trips to the park, pool, or beach — don't forget to plan for healthy snacks. Grabbing a box of their favorite cracker off the grocery shelf may seem like the easiest thing to do — but think again. With a little bit of planning, and maybe some coaxing to try something new, you will have your whole family eating healthy snacks in no time at all.

It's easy to get bored with the same old, same old when it comes to snacks. So here are three ways to keep your summertime snacking fresh and healthy!

Fruit Popsicles

A fresh-fruit popsicle is one of the best ways to beat the heat on a hot day. It is also one more way to squeeze in some vitamins and nutrients packaged inside a sweet and refreshing treat. Try one of these delicious flavors.

  • Blueberries: an antioxidant powerhouse.
  • Oranges: a healthy dose of Vitamin C for immune support.
  • Strawberries: a summer favorite high in anti-inflammatory nutrients.
  • Bananas: a great source of potassium to promote normal blood pressure and healthy heart function.
  • Papaya: filled with antioxidant nutrients to protect against heart disease.

You can make popsicles by picking your favorite kind of fresh fruit or using whatever fruit (or veggie) you have on hand. Some recipes simply call for processing the fruit until it turns thick and pourable and then putting into a Dixie cup or empty yogurt containers with a popsicle stick to freeze. You may choose to use your favorite smoothie recipe. But whatever recipe you go with, you can't go wrong with fresh fruit, frozen, and on a stick!

Orange Creamsicle

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup vanilla unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/2 cup plain goat yogurt
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Preparation

Blend ingredients together in a blender. Fill each cup about 1 inch. freeze for 1 hour. Take them out from the freezer and place the popsicle stick in the middle of the cup. Freeze for another couple hours until completely frozen. Peel and enjoy.

http://naturenourishes.blogspot.com/2011/05/healthy-popsicles-for-kids.html
http://dandysugar.com/recipes/homemade-popsicles

Homemade Trail Mix

Another great snack idea is a dried fruit and nut trail mix. This is a great way to load up on Vitamin E, Omega 3's, and Potassium. Have your kids choose the ingredients from the bulk bins at the health food store. They will relish the opportunity to create and personalize their own snack. Trail mix can be stored in containers and easily thrown in a bag for a trip in the car or a quick no-mess snack at the park.

Make sure to watch the salt content on the nuts, steer clear of sugar-coated dried fruit, and try to buy organic if possible.

http://oprosreviews.com/2011/01/15/healthy-snacks-for-your-kids-superfoods/

Sliced Veggies

This may seem like an easy one. And it is! Enjoy the fresh vegetables summer has to offer. Set out a plate filled with colorful sliced veggies and your family will be sure to dig in and eat their fill. Mix tried and true favorites like carrots with some new choices like red peppers or snap peas.

Try any of these healthy summer choices:

  • Red Bell Peppers: excellent source of Vitamin C and Vitamin A.
  • Blanched Asparagus: provides a unique combination of anti-inflammatory nutrients.
  • Tomatoes: contains the cancer-preventing antioxidant called lycopene.
  • Carrots: protect against cardiovascular disease and promote healthy vision.

Get your summer snacking started off right and exciting! Choose fresh fruits and veggies and stay away from the processed stuff. You'll have a happy and healthier family ready to have fun in the sun every day!

http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=47#healthbenefits