Despite our loftiest summer intentions — whether to finally dig into that juicy novel, spend more time at the beach, or sign up for that new class we’ve been dying to try — the gritty details of getting kids fed must be dealt with. Several times a day.
But when summer produce hits its stride, as it’s doing right now, you can let Mother Nature do most of the work. That certainly makes the living (or at least, the feeding) easy.
Here are six of my favorite summer snacks that help me get out of the kitchen faster, yet still allow my kiddos to spread their culinary wings with every delicious (and nutritious) bite.
1. Frozen Cantaloupe “Popsicle"
From crenshaws to cantaloupes, melons are one of the most affordable summer staples at the market, and pack valuable nutrients like potassium and vitamin C.
Simply slice a ripe cantaloupe into generous wedges, thread on popsicle sticks and place on a tray in freezer (this part takes 5 minutes). Freeze. Then enjoy like a popsicle.
2. Toasted Tomato Flatbread
Kids craving something savory? This one couldn’t be simpler. First, turn on the broiler or toaster oven. Brush a cracker, flatbread or sprouted thin bread with olive oil and sprinkle with dried oregano or rosemary.
Top with 2 slices of a ripe summer tomato and 1 tablespoon freshly grated Parmesan, fresh mozzarella or your favorite local cheese. Stick under the broiler and toast for 3 minutes until sizzling. Note: the key to make it a snack and not a meal is to keep your flatbread on the smaller side.
3. Crunchy Sugar Snap Peas With Sesame Oil
When nibbled straight off the vine, sugar snap peas can’t be beat.
But if you want to shake up your snap pea experience try this: steam 2-3 cups fresh sugar snap peas (stringed) for 3-5 minutes until tender, then place in a bowl and toss with 2 teaspoons black sesame seeds, a drizzle of toasted sesame oil and a sprinkle of sea salt.
One cup of this lean and green snack boasts protein, fiber and hefty amounts of vitamins A and C.
4. Watermelon Basil Slushie
The summer lovefest between watermelon and basil makes for an ultra refreshing, nutrient-rich and hydrating pick-me-up. Watermelon is a delicious source of vitamins A and C, potassium and the antioxidant lycopene.
Place 2 cups of ripe watermelon cubes and a handful of ice (about 1/2 - 2/3 cup) and 1-2 tablespoons fresh basil in a blender and whip up until combined.
The best part? Two cups of watermelon is just 80 calories, and if you have any left over, it’s a delicious base to roll into a grown-up cocktail hour.
5. Summer Salsamole + Chips
To add more nutritional oomph (as well as staying power) to salsa, combine 1 cup of your favorite salsa with 1 ripe smashed avocado, a squeeze of fresh lime and a shower of chopped cilantro.
Serve with a handful of sprouted organic tortilla chips or one of the new bean-based chips that have hit the snack aisle.
6. “Peanut Butter Cup” Vegan Smoothie
Sometimes the farmers market just isn’t in the cards, but you can still make something sweet, creamy and indulgent that’s free of added refined sugar. Here’s a simple go-to that's loaded with plant-based nutrition: