Taming summer snack attacks!

Jenna White
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by Lisa Wade

As mom to a second-grader and fourth-grader, the school break often poses challenges when it comes to satisfying the appetites of my two rapidly growing boys. As anyone with kids will understand, snacks between meals are constant requests, especially if they're playing in the yard and burning off energy. Despite every effort when they were younger, my two are particularly fussy eaters who, given the choice, would sooner reach for a bag of potato chips than an apple. However, I'm always on the hunt for new and exciting snack ideas that are easy to prepare (contrary to the coffee mug, I'm far from Super Mom!) and free of junk. Not only that, but they have to be delicious and just as appealing as the unhealthy alternatives.

Here are a few winners in my household:

PB Power-up Bars

My kids are particularly active during the summer months and rarely sit around indoors, preferring to run riot outside, have water fights and just be kids. Of course, they come inside every now and then to refuel. One snack they absolutely love are my peanut-butter bars. The best part is they're really simple to make, all-natural, and delicious (after my first attempt, I consumed half the tray myself).

To prepare, mix 1 Cup peanuts with 1/3 Cup whey protein (which gives them a natural energy boost) before adding 1/2 Cup creamy, all-natural peanut butter. Once combined, line an 8x8" oven-safe pan with wax paper, pour and spread mixture evenly into pan and allow it to set before cutting it into bars. That's all it takes. If your kids are chocoholics, then you could always add a bit of chocolate to sweeten the deal.

We scream for SORBET!

You might be thinking 'Sorbet... that sounds complicated' (and believe me, I did until I tried it), but it's actually a snap to prepare. Plus, the great thing about sorbet is that it's pretty much ice cream without the added calories from dairy and you can make it with a variety of fruits. If you don't have an ice cream maker, you will have to check on it during the freezing process , but that's no biggy. Serve in a cone, or let your kiddos enjoy a scoop in a bowl on its own or topped with fresh chopped fruit and mint or basil.

The Cherry Sorbet recipe I used can be found here.

Dip it good.

It's unsurprising how appealing carrots, celery and other vegetables and fruit become when your kids have a selection of dips to choose from. The first time I tried this was when they had friends over for a play date and it was an instant hit with the both of them. (I've noticed my kids are more inclined to try something new if their less fussy friends are eating it, too.) While it might seem an obvious choice for kids, there are so many possibilities that you can get really inventive. Favorites in our house include cold chicken pieces and veggie sticks with an onion-garlic dip and mini pita wraps with both barbecue and salsa dips.

That's a WRAP!

Wraps make such a great snack. Not only are they ridiculously quick to prepare, they're healthy, portable and can satisfy any kid's hunger in a single shot. What's more, with so much potential as to what you can fill them with, your kids won't get bored. I usually make a batch of snack-sized wraps with various fillings every couple of days (the majority of which my husband eats!), and they're definitely the first thing the kids reach for when they're feeling hungry. But one of my favorite things about them is how you can 'smuggle' vegetables inside them - the green stuff doesn't seem as intimidating to a fussy eater when it's rolled in amongst the ingredients they're more enthusiastic about.

The top fillings in our home include chicken, black bean and brown rice, tuna and sweetcorn, and salmon and salad. You can also create sweet wraps too, such as banana and cream cheese or mixed fruits with a little yogurt. It all works well and goes down a treat with everyone.

So there are my top kid-approved healthy summer snacks. I hope it's given you some food for thought!

Lisa Wade is a graduate of Nutritional Science and worked as a nutritionist prior to having her two boys. She currently writes articles to encourage readers to seek out healthier choices for their families to give their kids the best start in life. Lisa likes nothing better than experimenting with new recipes that she can pass on to other moms.


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