Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Healthy Summer Snacks for Children Age 5 and Younger

By: Heather Dyson and guest Angela Kuhn

Summer is on the way and now is time to start thinking about healthy hydrating snacks for the kids. While many families spend much more time outside during this season, it is more difficult to stay hydrated in the heat.

Research shows that children are at a greater risk than adults for becoming dehydrated throughout the summer. They are more likely to forget about drinking fluids – especially when they're having fun playing outside. Infants can be provided with breast milk or baby formula to prevent dehydration. Children over 12 months of age should be offered water as their primary source of hydration. Sugary drinks such as juice can be presented in moderation (4 oz. or less per day) and that includes sports drinks too.

There are some hydrating healthy snack options that are great alternatives to sugary drinks which are perfect for the summer time. Give these a try:

Homemade Popsicles: Blend 2 cups of frozen berries, 1 banana, 1 cup of yogurt, ½ cup of juice, 1 tablespoon of pure maple syrup and divide equally into 8 freezer-pop molds. Freeze until firm (1-2 hours). If you don’t have freezer-pop molds, you can use small paper/plastic cups instead.

Make a Smoothie: Smoothies are a great healthy alternative to milkshakes or ice cream in the summer. They are an excellent way for kids to get lots of fruit and calcium into their diet while allowing them to stay hydrated. Blend up the ingredients below and garnish with a slice of pineapple or orange for fun! Don’t limit yourself to only these combination of ingredients. They can all be mix and matched to make the perfect personalized smoothie your child will love.
  • Strawberry-Banana Protein Smoothie- 1 medium sized banana, 1 cup strawberries, ½ cup Greek yogurt, 1 tablespoon nut butter and 1 tablespoon of ground flaxseed (adds omega-3s in this fresh fruit smoothie recipe). Use 1 cup of ice cubes if you like a frosty smoothie or add water instead if you don’t want it so cold. 
  • Berry-Orange Smoothie- 1 cup orange juice, 1 banana, 1 cup frozen berries, such as raspberries, blackberries, blueberries and/or strawberries, ½ cup low-fat silken tofu, or plain yogurt, 1-2 teaspoons Stevia.
  • Very Green Smoothie- 3 peeled and quartered kiwis, 1 cup mango, half of an avocado, ½ cup milk, 1-2 tablespoons of maple syrup. 

Offer Fresh Fruit: Summertime means that there will be a plentiful availability of fresh fruits. These are just a couple common summer fruits and their benefits:
  • Watermelon is packed with fiber, water, and other beneficial nutrients such as vitamin C. 
  • Cherries are a refreshing treat that contain a good source of fiber, vitamin C, and the building blocks of muscle known as amino acids. 
  • Grapes contain a high amount of vitamin C, fiber and phytonutrients which have health-promoting properties including antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and liver-health-promoting activities. 
Fresh Fruit Kabobs: Try making a fresh fruit kabob by using sliced watermelon, grapes, cantaloupe, kiwi, strawberries, and bananas. Chop up any other fruits you can think of that are in season and let the kids customize their own kabob.

What other healthy summer snacks do your children and family love? Share them with me in the comments section!


About the Author: Heather Dyson is a Licensed and Registered Dietitian who currently focuses on counseling patients with a variety of health situations, and in ages ranging from infancy to elderly. Click here to learn more about Heather.


About the Author: Angie Kuhn is a Dietetic intern at WVU. She has attended Bastyr University, Kenmore, WA (B.S. Dietetics); and Leeds Metropolitan University, Leeds, England, UK (MSc Sport and Exercise Nutrition). Click here to learn more about Angie.



20 comments :

  1. These sound so delicious! I would eat them too. :)

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    1. Hehe! Adults can make them too!! ;)

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  2. These snacks sound great for any age! Thanks for sharing them :)

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    1. You're right! They are great for all ages.

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  3. Clever and tasty ideas. We enjoy a good smoothie.

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    1. I love trying new smoothies too. So many different versions.

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  4. smoothies are a great option for kids especially if they can help with the prep!

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    1. Helping with prep teaches kids a lot, especially if you have a safety knife and they can help cut!

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  5. So many Great options!! There is so much junk offered to kiddos during the summer!!

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    1. I always find that kids will eat whatever is in arms reach in the summer. They play hard and eat more!

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  6. Love the yoghurt Popsicles! Will definitely be making them!!!

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  7. Such great tips to keep in mind when I am babysitting!

    xo katie // a touch of teal

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    1. The kiddos will love you for making these!!

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  8. My kids are loving smoothies! We eat a ton of fresh fruit and veggies!

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    1. Do you put veggies in your smoothies too? Carrots and spinach are my go to veggies.

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  9. These are great suggestions. My daughter doesn't like smoothies for some reason but my daycare kiddos love them.

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    1. Does your daughter help make the smoothie? Start with the basics and get her to like that first and then get creative.

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  10. Smoothies are the BEST! Healthy and delicious! Thanks for all the ideas ladies :)

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  11. I think it's very important for kids these days to have a very nutritious snack every day- especially where you can incorporate fruit. Thanks for sharing!! :)

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