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Quick & Portable Snacks!

Summer produce boasts a large variety of fruits and veggies that we wait for all year long to enjoy.  Sweet juicy watermelons and cantaloupe…berries, apricots, and peaches just bursting with flavor are a few of my favorite summer treats. And along with the abundance of fruits and veggies, are loads of outdoor activities that make for a jam-packed summertime schedule – especially if you have kids or grandkids.  And, for good reason!  These summer months are what memories are made of and what we look forward to as we dredge through cold winter months.

However, spending a lot of time outside can mean less time in the kitchen, which is precisely why I commit to choosing simple dishes, simple desserts, and simple, healthy snacks.  When you’re traveling or just out and about with kids, someone (including me!) is bound to announce “I’m hungry” at any given time! And, let’s face it, you can remember, I’m sure, as a kid how famished you became after swimming in the pool, playing at the park, or simply just taking a long car ride to get anywhere! So it pays to be prepared.

Healthy eating doesn’t have to be complicated and a quick snack doesn’t have to be a bag of chips or cookies.  It can be much, much more delicious….and nutritious!

No kids? Working full time? You need healthy snacks too, even at the office!

Here are a few of my favorite go-to quick and portable summertime snacks:

Fruit Kabobs

Slide bite size chunks of any of your favorite fruits on a kabob stick, pack into half-gallon size zip freezer bags or a sealable container, and you’ve got a portable guilt-free snack.  Fruits in season during the summer that make great kabobs include melons, cherries, pineapple, and strawberries.

Apple Donut Slices

Not really a donut (sorry), but this little recipe is quite delicious.  Core a whole apple, then slice into rounds about ½” thick that will resemble a donut. Top each slice with your favorite nut butter, sprinkle with a touch of cinnamon…you can even add currants or blueberries. 

If you want to make it into a sandwich, top bottom with a second apple donut slice spread with a thin layer of your nut butter (this helps the top layer from sliding).

Cucumber Rolls

Peel cucumber and then thinly slice lengthwise into long strips. Pat both sides of cucumber slices with paper towel to remove wetness.  Spread a thin layer of egg salad, tuna salad, or mashed avocado. Arrange thinly sliced cherry tomatoes and sliced black olives on top. Roll jelly-roll style and secure with a toothpick.   These are refreshing un-sandwiches when hunger strikes.

Energy Balls

These take a little more effort to make, but are so well worth the time. The bonus with taking the time to make energy balls is that they can be made well ahead of time and stored in the freezer so they’re always ready to go!  Here’s a simple little recipe for you:

Cashew Almond Snack Balls

  • 1 cup cashews, finely chopped
  • ¾ cup pitted Medjool dates, chopped
  • ½ cup almond butter
  • 2 tablespoons cacao powder
  • ½ tablespoon raw honey

Add all ingredients to a food processor. Blend until smooth.  Roll into 24 small balls (about 1″); if desired, place balls in individual candy papers.  Place on baking sheet and refrigerate till chilled.  May be stored in freezer.

Ants on a Log

A classic recipe that kids love – and the kid in you will appreciate!  I peel the backside of celery ribs to remove those hard-to-chew strings – always! Cut crosswise into 3” sticks.  Pack celery sticks, a jar of your favorite nut butter, and some raisins or even some small grapes – along with a plastic knife.  Putting “ants on a log” together is fun and easy.  Of course, you can always just use your nut butter as a dip and serve with a bunch of chilled grapes.

Healthy Tip: Always buy organic celery! Conventionally grown celery always makes the Dirty Dozen list of food contaminated by pesticides.

Choosing healthy foods is the number one factor in eating healthy!

The second?  Being prepared!

If you have healthy choices (and the absence of junk food), you’ll always make healthier decision.  Planning ahead and making time to prepare your choices is key.  If you’re taking your food on an outing or a trip, be sure to store appropriately – pack perishables in appropriate containers and ice where needed! 

Setting yourself up for success is the biggest give you can give yourself and your family, so be sure to plan each week the choices you’ll want to include in meals and snacks.  Schedule your prep time.  Be prepared and you’ll be excited that you can be ready in a moment’s notice and stay on your healthy eating track.

 

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