Summer is here, which likely means more time lounging at the pool, beach or playground. Wherever you’re spending your summer days, chances are good that you’re toting around snacks to enjoy at—or en route to—your summertime destinations.
If you or your kids tend to nosh throughout the day, you’re not alone. Studies show that many adults and most children snack several times a day, totaling nearly one-quarter of their day’s calories. Think of snack time as an opportunity to sneak in some extra servings of healthful nutrients that will boost energy and health.
Just like meals, aim for your snacks to contain both complex carbohydrates and protein. Complex carbohydrates like vegetables, fruits and whole grains provide energy for your body and brain, so you can keep fueling through your summer day. Protein, like that found in dairy foods, beans, nuts and nut butters, helps you maintain lean muscle and stay fuller longer.
In addition to providing high-quality protein, dairy foods also provide beneficial nutrients like calcium, vitamin D, B vitamins, potassium and vitamin A. The B vitamins are important for helping with metabolism, potassium helps maintain normal blood pressure and vitamin A helps promote healthy vision and skin. Calcium and vitamin D are essential for strong bones and teeth.
Try these easy snack ideas and recipes to make the most of your snacks to boost your family’s energy on long summer days.
- Grapes with pieces of string cheese (freeze the grapes for a tasty frozen twist!)
- Carrots and red bell peppers strips with Creamy Avocado Hummus
- Low-sugar granola with plain Greek yogurt
- Berries with cottage cheese
- Banana with a layer of nut or seed butter and a few chocolate chips
- Celery and whole-grain crackers with Roasted Red Pepper-Feta Dip
- Peanut Butter Whip with Apples
- Super Power Smoothie
Rima Kleiner, MS, RDN, LDN is a registered dietitian-nutritionist and owner of Smart Mouth Nutrition, LLC. Passionate about good food and good health, Rima helps connect the two for individuals, families, companies and the media.