Healthy Snack Ideas for Kids this Summer

applesIt’s summer time, a season full of sugary snacks. Health conscious families know that there are options beyond ice cream and hot dogs. Long Island Mamas Network has put together a quick list of healthy snack ideas with recipes that will quickly become new family favorites. Make sure to check out our resources at the end for Long Island farms and other local places to purchase fresh produce from.

Rachel’s Kale Chips
It’s no secret that green leafy veggies are nutritious, but convincing kids to eat them can take a little creativity. Kale Chips are a great solution. They’re easy an inexpensive to make, too!

Ingredients
1 bunch kale
2-3 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp seasoned salt

Preparation

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil.
  • Carefully remove the leaves from the stems.
  • Rip the leaves into small pieces.
  • Rinse and thoroughly dry kale.
  • Drizzle the leaves with olive oil and sprinkle with seasoning salt.
  • Bake until the edges brown. Allow to cool and serve.

Rachel’s Baked Fruit Sauce (Mango, Apple, Pear)
Every child loves applesauce, but the sugar content in some store-bought brands can be a turnoff. This recipe only uses fruit, and it can be tweaked to suit a family’s preferences. Use as toppings for pancakes, freeze into popsicles, or serve as-is.

Ingredients
1 ripe mango
1 apple
1 pear
2 cups of water

Preparation

  • Peel and core the fruits.
  • Slice into one-inch chunks and place into a glass baking dish.
  • Add two cups of water to the baking dish.
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until apples are soft.
  • Allow fruit to cool.
  • Place fruit and ¼ cup of water into a food processor and blend until smooth. Makes approximately 4 cups.

Green Mac and Cheese
Macaroni and cheese is a staple on children’s menus across the country. This version sneaks in servings of green vegetables without giving up taste.

Ingredients
1 pound elbow macaroni (can also use campanelle, cavatappi or shells)
3 cups whole milk
1 cup fresh spinach
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons flour
4 cups grated white cheddar cheese
2 cups chopped broccoli florets
1 cup peas

Preparation

  • Preheat oven to 350° F.
  • Cook pasta in salted water for about 3 minutes less than package directions call for, until al dente. Reserve half a cup of the pasta water and strain.
  • While the pasta is cooking. Place the milk and spinach in a blender and blend on high speed until smooth.
  • In a large pot melt the butter and then add the flour, whisking continuously over low-medium heat for 2-3 minutes to make a roux. Slowly whisk in the milk mixture and bring to a boil.
  • Reduce heat and simmer, whisking occasionally, 3 to 4 minutes, or until sauce is gently bubbling and starting to thicken.
  • Add reserved pasta water and cheese and whisk until melted. Stir in the pasta, broccoli and peas.
  • Transfer to a greased 13″ x 9″ baking dish and bake for 20 minutes, or until cheese is bubbling and the pasta is set.

Courtesy of Weelicious

Banana Oatmeal “Cookies”
These are closer to granola bars, but calling them cookies might entice a child to eat them. They’re comparatively healthy and easy to make. Baking is a great rainy day activity for a toddler or preschooler! Substitute coconut oil for butter for a dairy-free version.

Ingredients
2 large overripe bananas
1 cup quick oats
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon sugar
Pinch of salt
1/4 teaspoon butter
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 cup raisins

Preparation

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • Mash bananas well with a fork.
  • Add in oats, cinnamon, sugar, salt, and butter.
  • Mix in raisins and walnuts if using.
  • Drop tablespoons of the mixture onto a cookie sheet (and flatten gently for a crispier cookie).
  • Bake 35 minutes and flip cookies. Back for an additional ten minutes. Cool and enjoy. They will harden as they cool.

Courtesy of BionicBites

Photo credit: freedigitalphotos.net

Related Articles:

Visit a Long Island Organic Farm to Celebrate Earth Day

Guide to Farmer’s Markets on Long Island

Health Food Stores in Suffolk County

Pack a Healthy Picnic Lunch and Enjoy a Long Island Park

Activities for Babies and Toddlers this Summer on Long Island

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