Smart Summer Snacking

Guest Post by Alyssa Bauman, Nourished.ca

Summer is just around the corner! The sun is out, everyone is shining, and the energy is different. We’re approaching a season that promises way less structure, and hopefully more freedom to play.

Whether it be packing for your next big trip, unpacking from yesterday’s day trek, or taking the adventure to your neighbourhood park, be sure to keep food on hand. We laugh about it in my house, but don’t you sometimes feel like a walking grocery store for your kids? The minute you get in the car, on the bike, on the road, or arrive at home after a day of adventure, someone is always hungry.

Active families on the go are always in need of smarter, more nourishing snacks to keep not only the hunger (and temper tantrums) at bay, but snacks are also paramount in keeping kids primed, fuelled, and ready to thrive. Nutritious snacks are just as important as healthy meals, so make them count. Here are some tips to help you snack smarter during the warmer summer months.

Satisfy those salty cravings. Mineral rich sea salt does a better job of curbing those salty snack cravings than a bag of chips, which will leave you feeling bloated, tired, thirsty and wanting more. Seaweed, kale chips, and edamame are some of my favourite crowd-pleasing snacks that not only satiate the cravings, but also help your body to restore its missing minerals.

Incorporate more fruits and veggies into your snacks. It’s a no-brainer, I know, but who doesn’t need a reminder. Vegetables such as  carrot sticks, cucumber chips, and red pepper slices, are low in calories and nutrient dense. Plus, they’re super portable. They also fill you up faster and for longer because of their high fibre content.

Dig the dip. Entice them with a creamy hummus, guacamole, almond butter, or yogurt dip. Do what you can to keep them snacking on produce, and encourage them to eat their fruits and veggies first. Then they can indulge in the less healthy snacks. Chances are, they’ll eat less treats after filling up on the healthy stuff.

Read the labels. The first three ingredients on the label matter most, as they are the most abundant. Avoid any product that lists sugar early in the list of ingredients. Question ingredients that you can’t pronounce or define. Don’t be fooled by the “all natural” labels as it has no true definition – any product can be claimed as all natural.

Liquids count, but choose wisely. Sodas, juices, and energy drinks have 300+ empty calories, and many of them have caffeine, which actually dehydrates the body. This is not a good thing on hot days! Instead, stick with water. Drink as much water as possible. Flavour it up with lemon, parsley, cucumber, ginger, mint, lemongrass. Get creative, and remember if you let your kids play around with it, chances are they will drink up.

Here are some of our favourite snacks:

Sweet Snacks:

Perfect Protein Smoothie, or any smoothie on nourished.ca.

Banana-hemp sushi – this could be my all-time favourite snack!

Green Smoothie Dates – stuffed with almond/nut/seed butter, and sprinkled with cinnamon

– Banana and nut butter on 100% sprouted whole grain wrap

– Sliced apples sprinkled with cinnamon

– LARA Bars

– Nuts and dried fruit (make sure there’s no added sugar)

Salty Snacks:

– Edamame

– 100% organic corn chips and guacamole and salsa

Hummus, black bean dip, or white bean dip and veggie sticks

– Air-popped popcorn with nutritional yeast sprinkled on top

Try my recipe for the best kale chips:

This is a snack that everyone loves! It’s easy to make, and so incredibly tasty. You’ll need:

– 2 large heads of organic kale (or more, they go fast), stems removed

– 1 teaspoon sea salt

– 1/2 cup nutritional yeast (a nice added dose of Vitamin B and protein)

– Olive oil

Preheat the oven to 375°F.

Make sure kale is super dry. In a large bowl, massage kale leaves with 2 to 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Season lightly with sea salt and nutritional yeast. Spread out in one layer on a baking sheet. Space is a good thing so you might need more than one sheet. Bake for 12-15 minutes, then check. Kale should be just starting to crisp. Remove from oven. Be very careful because these can burn quite quickly.

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