“Mom, I’m Hungry!”

Jill-Ann Ouellette
July – August 2024 • Vol 4, No 11

“Mom, I’m hungry!”  With all the energy expended by kids throughout the summer months, it’s no wonder mothers often hear this refrain! Here’s how smaller portions and healthier snacking choices can keep the kids going longer and healthier. Opt for snacks high in protein, fiber, and healthy fats to help them feel full through-out the day.

But is snacking good for you? Increasing your meal frequency can manage hunger while improving blood-sugar regulation. Since kids are often not eating enough fresh produce, snacking can also help them increase their intake of nutrient-rich fruits and vegetables. If you plan ahead with your summer excursions and focus on nutrient-rich foods, the right snacks can keep them satisfied between meals. Here are eight healthy and delicious snacks. Give them a try!

  1. Apple slices with nut butter: This one is an all-time kids’ favorite! Apples are a fiber-rich fruit. Peanuts provide healthy fats, plant-based protein, and fiber—pretty much all of the filling nutrients you should look for in a snack. I would suggest almond butter, too. By combining apples with nut butter, you’ll enjoy a crisp and creamy snack. Just look for one that only contains nuts and salt, with no added sugars or oils. Slice up your apple right before consuming.
  2. Mixed nuts: Nuts are an ideal, nutritious snack, providing the perfect balance of healthy fats, protein, and fiber. They’re linked to numerous health benefits and are quite filling. Studies suggest that eating nuts in moderation may help you lose weight. They are high in calories, so measure ahead of time and portion them in 1-ounce or 1/4-cup servings.
  3. Red bell pepper with guacamole: Although all bell peppers are nutritious, the red varieties are higher in antioxidants. Guacamole is also a rich source of nutrients and minerals. Pairing 1 large red bell pepper with 1/4 cup of guacamole combines the best of both foods, while keeping the calorie count under 200.
  4. Greek yogurt and mixed berries: Greek yogurt is high in protein, and berries are one of the best sources of antioxidants around. Add a mixture of differently colored berries to your yogurt to get an array of nutrients—and mix it up with a variety of sweet and tart. It’s best to pack them separately and mix them right before consuming.
  5. Cottage cheese and fruit: Cottage cheese is filling and high in protein, boasting 25 grams in just 1 cup. Pairing cottage cheese with fruit complements the cheese’s protein and fat content with fiber, resulting in a sweet, creamy, and filling snack. Try it with tropical fruits such as pineapple, papaya, or watermelon.
  6. Celery sticks with cream cheese: Celery sticks with cream cheese are a classic, low-carb snack that can help keep you feeling full. This duo will have you enjoying a fiber-packed snack that combines the crunchy texture from the celery with the creaminess from the cheese. Five small celery sticks combined with about 1 ounce (30 grams) of cream cheese provides roughly 100 calories.
  7. Dark chocolate and almonds: Dark chocolate and almonds are a fantastic duo. Dark chocolate contains antioxidants, and almonds are a rich source of healthy fats. Try a couple of teaspoons of dark chocolate chips or a square of dark chocolate with a handful of nuts. Keep the portions small due to the calories in the nuts.
  8. A piece of fruit: Fruit contains fiber and minerals and makes a great small snack. A piece of fruit can be an incredibly satisfying snack. Portable, easy-to-eat fruits include apples, pears, grapes, grapefruit, and oranges. A small container of berries can be a great, satisfying snack when you’re on the go. To make it more satisfying, pair your fruit with nuts or yogurt.

Snacks should be yummy, easy to grab, and portable for summer-fun activities. Plan ahead and grab a healthy snack or two, with something sweet and something salty—you never know which one your hungry kids, or you, will want. And remember water to stay hydrated! Add squeezed lemon for vitamin C.