Summer Snacking at Home and on the Go

Posted on Wednesday, June 20th, 2012  |  

 

Gymco brings you :: a guest post from Jen Byrne ::

Gymco introduces the first guest post from our nutrition partner, Jen Byrne. We are happy to share with you Jen’s passion to guide and educate children on eating well and helping create a foundation for lasting health family-wide. Learn more about Jen at the end of her post below!

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Summer is a glorious time to live in Michigan. Beaches. Parks. Camping. Hiking. Biking. Farmers Markets. Gardens. Bonfires. Pools. It’s an amazing time for families to get outside and explore and spend time together. I don’t know about you but our family seems to hit the ground running when it comes to summer time. There are so many adventures waiting to be had. There is so much sunshine to soak up and sand castles to be built.

 “Think of snacks as mini meals and a way to add extra nutrition to your child’s daily intake.”

One of the many mom lessons I have learned over the past several years, is that I don’t leave home without snacks. I have learned the hard way that being prepared with a little snack of some sort can be the difference between a smooth outing and a rough outing. Kids have little tummies and often need to eat more frequently. They use up a lot of energy in play and need that refueling to keep their little bodies balanced and well. Snacking is a good option for kids, especially when those snacks are high quality and whole foods based. Think of snacks as mini meals and a way to add extra nutrition to your child’s daily intake.

“One of the best things we can do is set examples for our kids in our own eating habits.”

The challenge now becomes making healthy snack choices. Kiddos are bombarded early on with advertisements for processed, sugar laden, food dye filled snacks. Marketing for these foods is a billion dollar industry and it’s challenging to navigate around these campaigns when teaching our kids about healthy choices. One of the best things we can do is set examples for our kids in our own eating habits. Another powerful thing is to begin teaching them why it’s important to fill their bodies with foods that nourish them and make them feel well. Don’t underestimate the power those conversations can have! The other thing is finding foods that taste good and that your child will eat. It is so fun to get the kids involved in taste testing and sampling different items from a garden or local farmers market.

Some of my favorite on the go healthy snack options…

Homemade trail mix tops my list of easy, nutritious snacks. I bought a few reusable snack bags with cute prints on them and those are our go to snack bags. They get refilled often and are super easy to grab when I’m running out the door. I add all kinds of things to these trail mixes. Nuts, seeds, shredded coconut, carob or dark chocolate chips, various dried fruit, freeze dried peas, air popped popcorn, etc. 

Another option is to make this trail mix in canning jars. They look pretty and can feed several kids and adults. It’s one of my personal favorites. They can be made ahead of time and kept in the cupboard or fridge, depending on what is in them, and pulled out for those moments you find yourself rushing out the door.

Another favorite for our family is smoothies. You can pack all kinds of goodness in a smoothie and even hide a few vegetables in them, while still having them taste delicious. Experiment with different combinations and find what your kids like. I love adding leafy greens to a smoothie filled with frozen raspberries and bananas. I also like adding a bit of coconut oil or avocado to a smoothie to increase my girls’ healthy fat intake. 

Now that the local farmers markets are getting into full swing, fresh produce is a fabulous snack to have on the go. As the summer progresses, experiment with a variety of locally grown vegetables and fruits. Pairing fresh vegetables with a delicious dip like hummus is a protein packed snack.

If your kids are craving a crunchy snack these ideas might work well.

  • Apples or pears with a nut or seed butter
  • Raw Celery, Carrots, Kohlrabi, Sweet Peppers, Green Beans, Jicama
  • Popcorn drizzled with olive or coconut oil and topped with a sprinkle of sea salt
  • Quality crackers and hummus
  • Nuts and/or Seeds
  • Rice cakes topped with a nut butter and jam (easy lunch or picnic option)
  • Freeze dried fruits and vegetables (the peas are a hit around our house)

If your kids are asking for a salty snack these ideas might work well.

  • Air or stove popped Popcorn with sea salt
  • Olives
  • Pickles
  • Lightly salted Edamame
  • Seaweed Snacks (packed with trace minerals and iron)
  • Homemade Kale Chips (make ahead of time and store in a baggie or Tupperware to keep fresh when you are out and about)

If your kids are asking for a sweet snack these ideas might work well.

  • Homemade muffins
  • Frozen grapes
  • Fruit smoothies
  • Dates (I also like to stuff dates with almond butter but that is a little messy for out and about!)
  • Dried Fruit combos (raisins, apricots, mangoes, papaya, bananas, apples, etc…)
  • Fresh Fruit
  • Almond butter spread on a tortilla, along with a mashed banana (another easy lunch or picnic option).
  • Sweet Potato Fries (made ahead and tossed in a baggie or Tupperware to eat later)

Whatever adventures you find yourself on this summer, I hope you are inspired to get creative with healthy, nutritious snacks. May you find yourself snacking outside of the box!

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About Jen…in her words.

I am a mama with two little kiddos. My desire to is feed my family a healthy, whole foods, plant based diet that will nourish their growing body and mind. Along my journey of health, I became a Yoga Instructor and Personal Trainer. My degree is in Exercise Physiology. I also studied nutrition at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, which has allowed me to begin doing what I am super passionate about. My passion is to guide and help educate children on whole foods. I hope to empower kids to get an understanding of real food, where it comes from, and how it affects us. To do this, it’s important that the parents are on the journey of pursuing health as well. This is why I say I focus on family health.

Connect with Jen

Pint-Sized Foodies Blog
Facebook

email : byrnejen@hotmail.com

website: www.jenbyrne.com