Wednesday 9 July 2014

Healthy Summer Snacks For Kids

Some of you might remember a post from Lily Helitzer about Making Food Fun. Well, Lily's back with some words of wisdom regarding healthy summer snacks.

Summer is a fruitful time of year. There are masses of fresh, healthy produce on the market and there really is no better time to encourage your kids not only to eat well, but learn about their food too. Not only will this keep them occupied while school is out but it will give them a good understanding of the foods they are eating and their respective health benefits which will stand them in good stead for a well balanced diet in later life. In the here and now they will need lots of energy to fuel their long, hot, hectic summer days so here are some sin free summer snacks that your kids should be enjoying this years and the ways that you can make them fun to learn about, as well as fun to eat.

Berry picking
Summer is prime time for berry picking – strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and cranberries all come into season during the hotter months and whilst you can buy at most local farmers markets, there is something special about harvesting your own food. An afternoon spent in a strawberry field won't just leave you with lots of a delicious berries to take home but it will inspire your kids to learn about where their food comes from. Being outdoors and getting some gentle exercise is also great for their general health and will boost their vitamin D intake as they soak up the sunshine. From a dietary perspective there are a wealth of health benefits to be found in berries. Not only are they packed with antioxidants but they are thought to fight off free radical cells responsible for causing diseases as well as improving cognitive function and maintaining joint and muscle health. Berries (particularly blueberries) are so rich in nutrients that they are being hailed as the next 'superfood' and are being recommended to people with immune deficiency problems that may be caused by health issues or lifestyle problems (such as overcoming addiction). There are so many things you can do with them - pies, jams, smoothies and toppings for cereals and yogurts are just a few ways of incorporating berries into your kids' diet.
Grow salad
Studies show that kids who take an active role in growing their own food have healthier diets in later life and summer time is the perfect time to get them involved with growing their own produce. Planning, planting, maintaining and harvesting their own vegetable patch could be the perfect way to keep them occupied during the summer vacation and luckily many salad plants such as tomatoes and cucumbers tend to grow quite quickly so your greenfingered little ones won't have to wait long for their produce to arrive. Not only are salad plants generally low fat and high in water content (great for keeping them hydrated in the hot weather) but green leafy salad such as lettuce and spinach are packed full of fiber and iron whilst tomatoes are thought to contain powerful antioxidants and even components that can help protect their skin against the sun.

Make burgers
Nothing tastes better than a juicy burger cooked al fresco on a warm summer evening. Although we hear a lot of bad press about the high saturated fat content of burgers, they do have health benefits and can be adapted to be lower in fat. Lean meats such as turkey mince automatically reduce fat content whilst more traditional hamburgers do contain iron and protein (essential for boosting energy levels and red blood cell production) so aren't all bad. Enlist your little ones in the mixing, molding and shaping of the burgers – they will love getting their hands messy. Substituting binding agents such as egg and breadcrumbs for apple sauce and other healthy alternatives can be another way to increase the goodness within them.

Create colorful popsicles
Keeping cool and hydrated in the summer is important and sometimes your kids can be so busy playing that they forget to come indoors for a drink. Becoming dehydrated won't just make them grouchy and tired, but it can be dangerous too so it is important to get fluids into them even if you have to be sneaky about it. Making popsicles is fun and there are literally hundreds of simple recipes and flavors that you can make with just about anything in your cupboards. Some summer staples for your freezer may include watermelon popsicles, frozen lemonade popsicles and even frozen yogurts for a refreshing calcium hit. These are all great ways of keeping your kids cool and hydrated that may seem a lot more appealing than a glass of tap water.  

'Superfoods Everyone Needs' - WebMD - Accessed 17 June 2014.
'Medical Detox Centres' - - Accessed 17 June 2014.
'Health Benefits of Wild Blueberries - Study' - Eurekalert - Accessed 17 June 2014.
'A Kids' Garden Grows Healthier Eating Habits' - Rodale News - Accessed 17 June 2014.
'How my diet can protect me from sunburn' - Worlds Healthiest Foods - Accessed 17 June 2014.
'Any Benefits in Eating Hamburger?' - LiveStrong - Accessed 17 June 2014.
'Dehyrdration Symptoms' - MayoClinic - Accessed 17 June 2014.
'Strawberry Hills USA' - Accessed 17 June 2014.
'The American Heart Association Teaching Starter Garden Kit' - Burpee - Accessed 17 June 2014.

Lily Helitzer is a health and nutrition writer who works on behalf of Kwikmed, an FDA-approved pharmacy which offers an accessible and safe outlet to buy Cialis and other prescription medication.

No comments:

Post a Comment