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During the summer, I enjoy just letting my kids explore the outdoors and take a break from our traditional school year routines. They love it! Having some go-to, real-food summer snacks keeps the kids and myself fueled throughout the summer. I’ve gathered my top 10 favorite summer snacks for the park, beach, lake, or backyard. These snacks are easy to make and put together, on-the-go friendly, nutrient-rich, and kid and adult approved.
Guest Post by: Renee from Raising Generation Nourished
There are some really cool things to do in our area during the summer. We love to visit the local splash pad, build sand castles at the beach, and play at the park. When kids are busy in the summer, snacks that hold them over to their next meal are a must. (Unless you enjoy the melting down 2 year-old type, or the whining 5 year-old thing.)
My goal for any snack is to make every bite count. Sounds kind of “deep” for a post about snacks, but hear me out!
Have you ever given a 10 am snack of crackers or pretzels at the park, only to have the noon time lunch meal left half eaten or picked at? *raises hand* That is so frustrating! I learned early on that since little bellies, in particular, don’t hold much, my job is to make every bite count as a meal. So those little summer snacks at the zoo or beach can be looked at as a mini meal, or as an extension of the kids’ lunch (or my lunch). I want a protein and/or fat at each snack to make it more substantial and satiating.
Here is a list of summer snack ideas that you can rotate this summer to keep everyone in the family nourished and fueled up for summer fun.
10 Easy and Healthy On-the-Go Summer Snacks
1. Seasonal Fruit and Cheese
This is my “go-to” snack if I had to pick one from this list. Grabbing a quick banana and slicing a few handfuls of cheese takes less than a minute. Fruit, like bananas and apples, come in their own packaging, too. These fruits make travel easy. In the summer, we use stainless steel travel containers for berries or sliced pineapple, cantaloupe, and watermelon. If someone in the family has a dairy allergy, you can do fruit and coconut butter (like this), or fruit and nuts (seeds if you have nut allergies) for a healthy fat or protein pairing.
2. Ants on a Log
A classic, right? And kids and adults love this stuff! If you have peanut allergies and can’t handle other nut butters, such as almond or cashew butters, you can use Sunbutter (just check the ingredient list first as some brands contain extra oils and sugars). One of my kids was in a nut-free classroom this year and we used coconut butter for ants on a log, too.
3. Homemade Granola Bars
If you have a Saturday with an hour or two where you will be at home, and maybe doing some other kitchen prep or cleaning, pop a batch or two of granola bars in the oven or freezer, and then store them in the freezer for later. It’s so nice to pull them out as you are running out the door to the park. If you don’t want to make your own, there are a few real food options on the market now: Clif Kit’s Organic (just this variety of Clif Bars, not the others), Lara Bars, RxBar, Primal Kitchen Bars.
4. DIY Fruit-on-the-Bottom Yogurt Cups
Those little fruit and yogurt cups at the store are so convenient, but man, they are full of sugar. I have seen some with 20 grams or more of sugar per serving.
To make your own fruit and yogurt cups, simply put fruit and raw honey or maple syrup at the bottom of some travel containers, or mason jars, with lids and pile on the yogurt. My girls take theirs without the honey, because it’s just what they are used to, but if you have kids that are used to the store-bought kind, the little drizzle of honey will go a long way in making the switch without any resistance.
I like to use frozen berries for these because when they thaw they’re squishy, and they stir in the yogurt just like store-bought fruit and yogurt cups. You can also pack a small container of granola to stir in if you have some on hand. I usually have this grain-free granola and this master granola recipe on hand for summer snacks and breakfast.
5. Breakfast Cookies
Just like the homemade granola bars, I know a baked good seems daunting to use for a snack, but when you make a double batch for breakfast on a weekend and then freeze the rest, it’s nice to grab a snack filled with nutrient-dense ingredients. And the kids (both big and small) think they are pretty hot stuff for getting to have a “cookie” for a snack.
Recipes to Try: Banana-Oat Breakfast Cookies (Gluten-Free) // Lemon Breakfast Cookies (Gluten-Free) // Molasses Protein Breakfast Cookies (Gluten-Free)
Cranberry Walnut Snack Cookies (Gluten-Free) // The Ultimate Breakfast Cookie (Gluten-Free)
6. Easy Nutrient-Dense Smoothies
Smoothies are a nice way to get a little extra fruits and veggies in our diets without complaints from the kids, and if you have leftovers, smoothies make great popsicles. Add protein powder (this is my favorite), half an avocado, yogurt, or some nut/seed butter for a healthy fat/protein before blending. Check out this guide for how to make the best smoothies. You can also make smoothies in advance and take them to go…check out this post for how to prep smoothies in advance.
7. Fruit and Nut Bars/Bites or Energy Bites
We love the convenience of Larabars in our house. I keep a stash on hand just in case, but did you know how simple (and inexpensive) homemade fruit and nut bars are to make? All you need is some dried fruit and nuts and a food processor! You can make them into “bites” or “bars” from there, and they freeze really well for later. I also love this energy bites recipe made with seeds and seed or nut butter and oats–the kids are also obsessed!
8. Crackers and Hummus or Guacamole
You can keep real-food, store-bought crackers in the house, such as: Mary’s Gone Crackers or Jovial’s Sourdough Crackers (check your local conventional or health food store), or Simple Mills Crackers. Dip the crackers in a dip that has protein and fat, such as: guacamole or hummus (or beet hummus for a fun veggie-rich dip) for a great snack.
And by the way, while the whole family loves my homemade kid-friendly guacamole, I am totally cool with some of the store-bought versions in a pinch that have decent ingredients, like: Wholly Guacamole and some of the flavors of Sabra Hummus. Just check those ingredient labels – some of the flavors have some iffy ingredients like canola and soybean oil.
9. Veggies and DIY Ranch Dip
I’m always amazed at how much my family loves a big container of cut-up veggie sticks and a container of homemade ranch dip served family-style at the beach or park or in the backyard. The kids hover over this stuff like a pack of wolves. Pick a variety of colors and textures to make this snack really fun: mini peppers, carrots, beet chips, snap peas, cucumbers, celery. These containers work for a family-size serving of ranch and these little dipper containers are great for an individual, on-the-go serving size.
Bonus: Make a batch of homemade ranch and use it for snacking and a salad dressing throughout the week for all those summer salads.
10. Trail Mix
There are many days when I just take a couple of handfuls of whatever nuts or seeds I have in the house, sprinkle in some coconut shreds and a handful of raisins, and call it good. Snacks don’t need to be fancy! Kids love having their own little stainless container for on-the-go filled with this nutrient-rich trail mix. You can also make this baked trail mix for a sweet and salty mixture.
Favorite On-the-Go Containers for Summer Snacks
Good snack containers make packing real-food snacks that much easier. The following containers are an investment piece that are meant to stay with your family for years and may be used during the summer for snacking, travel, and school lunch.
- Stainless Steel Food Storage Snack Containers: Great containers for finger foods like berries and cheese, yogurt and fruit, trail mix, and crackers.
- LunchBots Trio: This container is perfect for packing larger snacks or even a lunch. The 3-compartments allow you to divide up food and even include a dip container. My kids also use this box during the school year for lunch.
- Dipper Containers: If you’re going to pack hummus, ranch, or other dips, individual-size dipper containers are a must.
- HydroFlask: The stainless steel water bottle my kids currently use. The 16-ounce water bottle is my preferred size for kids. The standard lid can be hard for young kids to open, so I recommend purchasing a lid with a straw.
- Popsicle Molds: Turn leftover smoothies into ready-to-enjoy popsicles. Or, make one of my favorite popsicle recipes and stash them away in the freezer for a hot day.
More Snack Ideas
Need more snack ideas for the summer and beyond? Below you’ll find a few more ideas to keep the snack inspiration going.
- Healthy Homemade Popsicles: Popsicles are such a great snack during the hot summer months and they’re so easy to make. Here’s a list of my favorite popsicle recipes.
- 22 Healthy Kids Snack Ideas for School: This list isn’t just for kids. It’s for everyone in the family!