With the warmer weather coming our way (here in Ontario), I’m always trying to think up healthy snack ideas for my kids that require little effort so we can spend as much time as possible enjoying being outside. When kids are spending lots of time outdoors being active, their appetite increases. This is the prime time to give them the foods you want them to eat more of. It is more than worth the time to prepare something ahead of time and not rely on convenience/packaged foods. Whether it’s at the park or the day is spent swimming, you can’t go wrong.
Even when we are just playing out back in the water, if I bring a cooler outside with me, my kids go on a mission to eat everything inside! A great way to clean my fridge out and get my kids eating healthy at the same time. Can’t complain about that!
Here’s a list I compiled with some of our favourite quick, easy and super nutritious “poolside snacks”:
- Veggies and dip. While fresh vegetables do require some prep, kids love something to crunch on and most will eat at least one kind of crunchy vegetable (often cucumbers or carrots). You can add in one or two they don’t normally eat and don’t be surprised if they decide to try them out when their appetite is turned up! Vegetables that have been cut up can also be a time saving option, most grocery stores offer bags on the shelves or containers that they cut up themselves. Make sure to partner it up with a healthy option for dipping, bean dips such as hummus are nice and thick for dipping and full of protein to keep tummies full.
- Juicy fruits such as watermelon. Most kids love watermelon and it can be drippy and messy so outside near a pool is the perfect place. Plus there’s usually enough to share. A platter of cut up watermelon is often my go to when my family is invited over to a pool for the afternoon and I need something quick, easy and nutritious to bring.
- Any other fruit you can think of that your kids enjoy. Don’t forget to add in a new one to try or one they don’t normally eat.
- Rice cakes and nut butter. Gives kids a satisfying crunch and some protein. Plus if your kids eat like mine do it’s super messy so outside near water is a perfect location for this snack.
- Popsicles! A nice frozen (melty and messy) popsicle is welcomed by everyone from young to old on a hot summer day but store bought popsicles are full of additives, food colouring, sugar, sugar and more sugar. These don’t offer any nutritional benefits and can do more harm than good. I often make my own popsicles. You can buy reusable freezie containers to get a freezie shape or popsicle moulds to get a more traditional popsicle. You can add pretty much anything you want, options for homemade popsicles are endless. I included one of our favourite homemade popsicles in the Poolside Snacking Recipe page.
- Trail mix. This is the easiest snack to prepare ever. You can simply buy a package of already mixed nuts, dried fruits, seeds, etc. or buy it all separate and make your own. Kids love to make their own customized blends. See my list in the Poolside Snacking Recipe page for ideas.
- Make your own snacks ahead of time. I often make mini muffins, cookies, energy balls, etc. and keep them in the freezer. They are simple to grab out when we are heading out and will be perfectly thawed by the time the kids are ready for a snack.
- Smoothies, make ahead of time and pack lots of ice into you travel cups so they stay nice and cold. I keep mine dairy free so I don’t need to worry about them spoiling as quickly!
- Infused water. This is a great alternative to juice (which is very processed and very high in sugar and low in nutrients – even the 100% stuff, those nutrients listed on the side of the box disappear quickly after production or what’s left of them after the processing). Infused water is a great way to flavour up water and make it refreshing and add some nutrients.
- Leftovers, what is in your fridge that you can make a snack out of? Leftover chicken can be chopped up and served with some veggies, leftover pasta or rice can easily be tossed with some dressing and vegetables to make a quick salad. Possibilities are endless and it’s a great way to use up food that there isn’t quite enough of to make another meal but would be snacked on if you brought it with you!
I hope some of these ideas make it to the pool with you and your family this summer! Don’t forget to check out Poolside Snacking Recipe’s for some quick and easy recipes!