I used to get super annoyed that my kids asked for so many snacks during the summer and would worry that they were eating too much, and would possibly gain excess weight or have behavior issues due to too much sugar in a day. I thought it was out of boredom that they were eating more. And honestly, there were days when that was the case. But if your kids are active, healthy, and up and running around most of the day- they simply need a little more energy from food and some good doses of water to stay hydrated.
A word of caution---
if your kid IS asking to eat more during the summer, and they ARE gaining weight and its not vertical.... there is likely another issue going on. I want to be sure and include a note about that as a nutrition and holistic health researcher and coach. If a child is gaining weight, and they are active (let's define ACTIVE as less than 2 hours of screens/day, they are up and going, doing crafts, playing pretend, playing outside, riding bikes, scootering, swimming, etc for 12+ hours a day 8am-8pm = ACTIVE) it could be a SLEEP issue OR a diet issue. Their tummies will growl and tell them they are HUNGRY -even if they JUST ate- if they are not sleeping well. It is the body's natural way to offer you a solution for poor energy, to make you eat more, to have a constant source of energy. If it isn't a sleep issue, their tummies will growl and tell them they are hungry if they aren't eating enough complex carbs as well as if they are eating too much sugar and their body is crashing from sugar overload. A vicious cycle indeed. Stay on the alert my parent friends. Help your child WIN at eating healthy and sleeping well, and they will be on an amazing path to having a healthy weight as a teenager/adult.
OK----- onto the SUMMER SNACKS.
Healthy kids will be burning more calories during the summer than they did during the school year. Healthy kids also burn more calories on vacation or day-long outings when they are more active than a typical day at home. Having fast healthy snacks that will give them quick energy AND sustained energy, that aren't packed with processed sugar or chemicals is a necessity.
Can I get an AMEN?
Don't forget about hydration though.
When my kids tell me they are hungry, I always ask them to get a FULL glass of water and drink that FIRST. (A lot of the time... they don't get to the second part of asking me for the snack for a good 30-60 minutes after the water. Yep. Hydration is often the first pang of hunger we feel- children and adults alike.)
What is a HEALTHY Snack?
Well, if you've ever taken one of my courses, you know that it includes a complex carb, a healthy fat, and a source of protein.
Complex carbs have at least 1 gram of fiber per every 10 carbs. The carbs offer energy, but the fiber offers slower digestion which gives us a timed release of the energy. YES!!!!
The healthy fats? Well- thats just something kids need alllll day. Healthy fats are essential for brain growth and developmental progress (healthy fats FUEL brain activity), and they offer instant satisfaction from whatever food we are eating so we don't over eat. BINGO!
Protein. Every human needs protein every day of our lives to keep creating blood cells so we can fuel those cells to keep re-creating our bodies (did you know that our bodies re-create themselves over a years time? well- they do. :) ). And for growing bodies that haven't reached their prime? Protein is SUPER critical.
So let's lay out 5 healthy snacks that take less than 5 minutes to dish out. And YES. I included store bought snack bars..... cuz..... I'm grateful they exist. I lay out what to look for on the nutrition label so you can be confident you are giving your child (or yourself on those crazy days when you need to grab something pre-made) something healthy.
Here are a few brands of snack bars (linked to their sales pages online) that fit the description above for the healthy snack bars:
-Clif Kids Protein bars
And you know, thats my goal in life is to keep things simple to keep the energy in my body and space surrounding me able to flow constantly- and help others to do the same.
I'm glad you are looking to help keep your kids healthy this summer!
If you loved this resource, you need to be on my email list that goes out the 3rd week of every month. You'll get a month of family dinner meal plans WITH recipes, as well as healthy living tips like this article, and guilt free dessert recipes to enjoy with your family.