Summer seems to mean more snacks, and it is so easy to give in to entreaties for chips, cookies, candy, and soda when you’re already hot and hungry. Sneak some kid-friendly options in and keep everyone happy!
You can substitute any low-sugar juice for the cranberry juice in this, although the tart treat is really yummy!
Add 1/2 cup cranberry juice, 1 teaspoon lime juice — fresh is best — and 1 cup ice to your blender. Pulse it until it is slushy and sippable. Add a bit of whey powder for a more filling, protein-rich snack.
Watermelon Mozzarella Wands
Cut a watermelon into 1-inch cubes. Set the bowl of fruit and a bowl of mozzarella balls on the table, along with fresh mint leaves (optional). Let the kids thread them onto wooden skewers for a treat they helped make.
These treats are yummy just as they are, but you can make a simple dipping sauce by mixing a little plain Greek yogurt, some cinnamon, and a tiny bit of agave syrup.
If your kids already love veggies, substitute grape tomatoes, cucumber slices, and celery chunks for the fruit. Mix equal parts of fat-free ranch dressing and jarred mild salsa for a delicious dipping sauce.
Easy Ice Pops
For the simplest version, fill pop molds or paper cups with chopped fresh fruit. Pour in sugar-free ginger ale or lemon-lime soda (or lemonade) to fill the containers. Add craft sticks if using cups, and freeze the pops until they are solid.
Another option is to use coconut water in place of the soda. Found in the center of young, green coconuts, the water has more potassium, less sodium, and fewer calories than sports drinks, and it adds a nutty touch of sweetness to the pops.
Take summer pops to new heights with simple fruit puree; these take a little longer to make because each layer has to freeze separately, but they are so worth the wait!
Puree enough of each of the following fruits separately, wiping out the blender/food processor between each, to get 1 cup of puree: kiwi, strawberries, mango, blueberries, watermelon, pineapple.
Pour a layer of kiwi into pops mold or small paper cups. Freeze them until the fruit is solid. Add a layer of strawberry puree and freeze solid. Repeat with each of the other fruits, adding a craft stick after the third layer.
Fruit Salsa and Cinnamon Chips
Who doesn’t love a good dip? And when the chips are sweet, too — that’s too good to pass up!
Mix chopped strawberries, kiwi, blueberries and raspberries with just enough sugar-free apricot jam to hold everything together. Other firm fruits can also be added or substituted if your kids just love something else.
Using a pizza cutter or sharp knife, cut two whole-wheat flour tortillas in eight triangles each. Mix 1/4 cup sugar with 1 teaspoon cinnamon. Spray the tortilla wedges with cooking spray and then dip them into the cinnamon-sugar. Bake them at 350 degrees for 8 minutes or until they are crisp. Serve them with the fruit salsa.
Strawberry Banana “Quesadillas”
Spread one whole-wheat flour tortilla with peanut butter; spread another with sugar-free, all-fruit strawberry jam. Place the first in a hot skillet, peanut butter side up. Add a layer of sliced strawberries and bananas on top and then add the second tortilla, jam side down. Press lightly to get everything to stick, and cook about 2 minutes, until the bottom tortilla is browned. Flip the stack and cook for 2 minutes more. Almond, cashew or other nut butters are great substitutes to give the treat a different taste. And try different combinations of jam, jelly, and fruits; how about sliced peaches and raspberry jam, or almond butter, thinly sliced apples, and grape or cranberry jelly?