Have a Healthy Summer with Quick and Easy Recipes

Summertime! The kids are home, and the munching has begun. You're at the grocery store often and what you stock up on determines your family's healthy habits during these carefree days. Kick off summer right with homemade healthy snacks and tasty treats.

After-Pool Snacks

Spending more than a few hours in the pool can work up a hearty appetite. While the kiddos splash in the water, make healthy, summer fun food like Pinwheels. FoodNetwork.com suggests taking a sun-dried tomato tortilla and topping it with a thin layer of low-fat cream cheese. Try the cream cheese varieties with scallions or another flavor. Place a thin layer of low-fat deli ham on top. Roll them up and cut into ½-inch pieces. Serve on a colorful dish and kids will love to sink their teeth into one pinwheel after another.

Photo by Flickr user livininoblivion

Beach Treats

Whether you're vacationing at the beach or road tripping to the nearby lake, pack treats. Forget expensive and fried foods near most beaches. SuperHealthyKids.com suggests taking homemade granola to the beach because they are easy to pack and eat. Mix a cup of steel-cut oats with one cup of brown sugar. Add a cup of coconut and ½-cup of honey. Mix thoroughly. You can go nuts with other ingredients— literally! Add cashews, walnuts and almonds. Throw in dried fruit, such as sweet apricots and cherries. You can also roast the nuts in the oven with the oats for a nuttier flavor. 

Keep in mind homemade granola can also cure that sweet tooth. According to a sugar and health facts infographic by Kool Smiles, a milk chocolate bar has 235 calories, 23 grams of sugar and 91 calories from the sugar exclusively. As an alternative to a chocolate bar, add a few mini chocolate chips to your granola bars. Your family will satisfy sweet cravings with less calories and sugar.

Photo by Flickr user veganheathen

Kid-Approved Afternoon Cookout

The neighborhood kids have been playing at your home all day. They're restless and hungry. Plan a mini kid-friendly cookout with hotdogs on a stick and berry lemonade. 

Purchase all-natural hot dogs without any triglycerides or additives. Turkey versions are even better. Place the dogs on a skewer just like you would with kabobs. Take a canned biscuit mix, roll it out and slice into long strips. Wrap a long strip of the dough around each hot dog. Then cook the dogs on the grill for five to seven minutes. Grilled hotdogs on a stick are now ready for indulging.

Mix up sweet berry lemonade as a fresh-fruit refresher for the kids. Prepare your favorite version of natural low-sugar lemonade. Then, slice blackberries, raspberries and a few slices of lemon to place in the pitcher. Add ice and mix well — breaking up the fruit. It's a thirst-quenching beverage that complements those ketchup-covered hotdogs.

Photo by Rodrigo Paoletti via Flickr

Get creative when it comes to fantastic summer foods the kids will love. Store-bought popsicles are tempting, but frozen-smoothie popsicles will please the palate even more. Rather than bagged chips, take pita bread, cut it into triangles and bake for five minutes. It's a healthier option and great to dip in healthy hummus dip. 

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