The past few days have been sunny and hot ☀️ and it's got me thinking all about summer meals and summer snacks. I had to re-work my entire meal plan last week to not involve the oven because it was just too warm.
Since every day with my kiddos is spent on the go, usually park-hopping, I need some quick and easy snacks that I can grab on our way out the door. I try to avoid buying packaged snacks (they don't last long in my house, are so much more expensive, and create unnecessary plastic waste) so all of these ideas are package-free. I thought you might find these ideas helpful too!
If you're wondering about whether your baby or toddler needs between-meal snacks, the best time to offer snacks, and how to prevent all-day grazing. Check out my snack article here.
Here is a list of my favourite, package-free, kid-friendly, summer snacks:
1. Frozen Fruit
Toss it in a storage container and either put it in the fridge to defrost overnight or bring it along in the wagon and let it defrost on the go until you're ready to snack. Frozen fruit is so, so tasty when it is just slightly frozen but when fully defrosted is a safe texture for most eaters under 18 months and without the first set of molars.
Some of my favourites are:
frozen wild blueberries
2. Leftover-smoothie popsicle
Any time I have a bit of smoothie leftover (which is always, because I have a toddler), I pour the cups into a popsicle mould and pop it in the freezer. They make the perfect creamy, frosty treat.
3. Frozen sandwich sticks
Okay, so this might sound a bit strange, but trust me, this is a snack you will be reaching for alongside your kiddo. Make your favourite sandwich, slice into sticks, and freeze on a parchment-lined baking sheet for 1-2 hours. Once frozen, portion into containers and or snack bags and keep in the freezer until needed.
You can munch on the sticks frozen, semi-frozen or fully defrosted! (Just be sure to defrost sandwiches with perishable ingredients in the fridge so they don't become a food safety hazard)
Some of my favourite freezable-sandwiches:
Peanut butter + raspberries
Hummus + carrot
Avocado + red peppers
Almond butter + applesauce + hemp hearts
4. Watermelon popsicles
Though watermelon isn't quite in season yet where I live, I am getting very eager for this delicious summer treat. Slice your watermelon into small triangles and stick a popsicle stick through the rind, then freeze to make your own diy popsicles (perfect for soothing sore gums)
5. Raw veggie slices
If your family is like mine, you probably have raw veggies that will sit in your fridge all week untouched until you slice it up - then it is gone in a day. Slice up your cucumber, peppers, carrots into the appropriate size for your child (or steam them to make them mashable!) and portion them into containers.
Bonus: add a scoopful of hummus to another container to make it a more filling snack.
6. Banana "nice cream"
Every time I make this I remember how amazing it is. If you haven't already, you should definitely try it.
Step 1: pick up some bananas from the discount rack at your grocery store or save the ones that go a little too brown on your counter
Step 2: Peel, slice and freeze them
Step 3: Pop about 1.5-2 cups of sliced bananas into your food processor. Add 1 tbsp of your milk of choice, 1/4 cup of peanut butter (+optional: 1 tbsp maple syrup). Blend for a while until the texture is smooth. Serve immediately or re-freeze for up to 30 minutes.
7. Energy Balls
Energy balls are usually a combination of oats, nut butter, and some sticky sweetener like date paste, maple syrup or honey plus any extra additions like hemp hearts, chia seeds, coconut flakes. These have always been my go-to snack. Instead of making balls, you can shape them into thin sticks to make them easier to eat for little eaters. Keep them in the freezer to make them easy to grab when needed and cooling on a hot day..
8. Kale chips
My kids have always loved kale chips because they are so fun to crunch but they make a huge mess. When eaten on a picnic you have no mess to clean up!
9. Frozen vegetables
Does anyone else's kid always try to sneak a handful of frozen vegetables out of the bag while you're trying to make dinner? I finally caught on to the genius of packing them as a snack instead. Defrost in the same way as the frozen fruit mentioned above.
Some of our favourites:
frozen green peas
frozen mixed vegetables
10. Edamame & Chickpeas
Sure, you can get all fancy and roast them but if you don't want to turn on your oven - you can just pop some cooked (or defrosted from frozen) edamame or chickpeas in a container and take them to go. Add some spices for some extra flair: cinnamon or chili powder or paprika and garlic powder are nice options.
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If you want to join a really awesome community of parents and caregivers raising toddlers to have a healthy relationship with food, The Your Nourished Toddler program includes video modules (with written transcripts) for every question that might come up while feeding your toddler, a very popular recipe book, nutrition and meal planning information, a private facebook group, and guest speaker q&as with toddler experts. This program is perfect for you if you are a parent and caregiver of a toddler (or soon-to-be toddler) and want to raise your child with a healthy relationship with food and create positive mealtime memories. You will learn all about creating a positive environment around food and eating, how to create nutritious meals, and how to feel totally confident feeding your toddler. Join here The nutrition information contained in this resource is for informational purposes only. The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of a physician, registered dietitian, or other qualified healthcare provider with respect to any questions you my have regarding the nutritional requirements based upon a medical condition. Reliance upon any content provided in this resource is solely at your own risk. Speak with you health provider if you suspect your child may have a condition or delay that would prevent them from eating safely.