OK, so it’s the middle of summer and my two kids are eating me out of house and home! They’re 6 and 7 and I feel like this is the first summer that they have “big-kid appetites” and are sometimes more interested in perusing the pantry than they are in playing outside. Every hour, I hear a chorus of “I’m hunnnnnnngry!” or “What can I eeeeeeeat?” or, my personal favorite “There’s nothing to eat in this house!” Ummm, my grocery bills would argue otherwise! Who’s with me?
I asked Instagram to weigh in…and it turns out, I’m not alone! Given that I’m quickly running out of snack ideas, I asked everyone to share their favorite go-to summer snacks. Healthy, not-so-healthy, portable, whatever…I needed all the suggestions. And you guys did not disappoint! I got a ton of messages sharing favorite snacks and strategies for healthy summer snacking. I also got a lot of requests to share all the info I was getting.
I got so many messages and a lot of you lovelies suggested similar things, so I went through everything and put together a few key takeaways, along with a grocery list to jump-start some snack ideas. Check everything out below and let me know what you think. And please keep the suggestions coming! We can keep this convo going in the post comments because, as many of you pointed out, summer snacking only gets worse the older kids get! Happy Snacking, Friends!
Key Takeaway 1: Don’t Skimp on Prep Work
The biggest thing that nearly everyone shared was that fruit and veggies are an absolute snack must…but you have to take the time to wash/prep everything and keep it within easy reach! This has happened to me so often – I have a package of celery or something in the fridge. Perfectly good snack option, except that it takes time to wash it and cut it. So when the snack pressure is on, I turn to something else. As soon as fresh produce enters your home, wash it, cut it and bag it (some suggested individual servings if your summer days are always go, go, go). Keep it on the counter or in a fridge drawer so that kiddos can help themselves when hunger strikes.
Key Takeaway 2: Set Limits Around Snack Time
If it were up to them, my kids would snack all. day. long. Short of standing guard in the kitchen, or putting a padlock around my fridge and pantry, it’s hard to keep tabs on when they’re grabbing food throughout the day. Several friends said they have regular snack times in their houses (yay for sticking to a schedule!) and that they sometimes put limits around what can be eaten during specific snack times. For example, the morning snack should be a fruit or veggie. Afternoon snacks can be something sweet or salty. Evening snacks should be something like popcorn, nuts or cheese (avoiding too much sugar before bed is probably a good idea!). This is the perfect segue into the next idea…
Key Takeaway 3: It’s All About Balance
Most everyone shared that, while they aim for as many healthy snacks as possible, you also need some fun snacks. Cue a big sigh of relief…I’m not the only one who buys cookies and chips! As they say, everything in moderation, right? But healthy snacks can be fun, too! I spent a few minutes (translation: an hour and a half) on Pinterest the other day looking for fun and healthy snack ideas. Loved these suggestions from Woman’s Day – everything from grape caterpillars to chocolate-dipped clementines (totally trying this!).
Key Takeaway 4: Big-Batch and DIY Snacks
A couple friends shared that they start the week by making a huge batch of some type of salad – pasta, tuna, chicken, veggie, whatever! Then, it’s ready to go and everyone can pull it out to munch on whenever they’re hungry throughout the week. I’m thinking a pasta salad loaded with veggies – super easy to whip up with whatever you have on hand, plus it’s filling! I also had a few people share an easy DIY baked tortilla chip recipe. Cut tortilla shells into wedges, brush with oil and sprinkle with your favorite sweet or savory spices. Then bake at 350 until they crisp up. Delicious and you can tailor them to your family’s tastes.
Key Takeaway 5: Portions, Portions, Portions!
I learned this a while ago because I have no restraint when it comes to snacks…but NEVER, EVER eat straight out of the bag or package. Always portion out snacks, either right as you’re serving them or as you’re prepping them for on-the-go snacking later. Individual baggies are obviously one option, but there are so many cool reusable containers out there now. I love the entire Sistema line and they have a storage solution for every type of meal or snack…like bento boxes! There are separate compartments for a variety of things. Check out these combo ideas from Fork and Beans – it’s basically a road map for building a delicious bento box. You should also look up @damn_delicious on Instagram. Chungah has shared some gorgeous snack boxes!
Key Takeaway 6: Get the Kids Involved
A lot of friends who shared suggestions said their kids are much more likely to eat things that they helped to shop for. Get the kids involved when it comes to planning meals and snacks. This gives them a say in what goes onto their plates, but it can also encourage them to try new things. We were at the grocery store the other day and we saw this prickly, fuzzy fruit called a rambutan. I had never even heard of such a thing before…am I sheltered? Anyway, my son was immediately intrigued because it had spikes. So we bought it and tried it as soon as we got home (we had to Google how to eat it). It wasn’t our favorite thing in the world, but it was cool to see him trying new things and getting excited to have his sister and dad try it because he picked it out at the store!
Snack Starter Grocery List
Here are some favorite snack options everyone shared…hopefully this helps you get your shopping list in order and brainstorm some ideas for other snacks!
- Cheese sticks
- Granola bars
- Trail mix
- Anything Belvita
- Fresh fruits and veggies
- Dippers – ranch, hummus, salsa, etc.
- Hard-boiled eggs
- Anything Lara Bar
- Cliff Nut-Butter Filled Bars
- Goldfish (anyone else have that 10-pound carton of goldfish in their pantry?)
- Beef jerky
- Frozen chicken strips