- Written by Lea Hanson Lea Hanson
Try out a fruit pizza, fresh popsicles, and pub fruit Summertime ought to be party time. Parents know the end of the school year brings more than warmer weather; both good and bad changes show up when that last school bell rings. Day camps, pool time, BBQs, camping, vacations and staycations, and lots of time outside are positive and often welcomed changes to our schedules. On the other hand, summer can also bring on changes that give parents headaches: late nights, ever-altering daily/weekly schedules, and way too many unhealthy treats.
As the some of the healthiest and most colorful foods peak in freshness and availability, summertime can be filled with special treats that don’t have to be unhealthy. A little creativity goes a long way with kids, and making new and exciting snacks together can benefits families, as well. One funny thing about summer is that—even with picky eaters—parents can put something on a skewer or freeze it on a popsicle stick and VOILA! An otherwise healthy, boring food magically becomes a summer treat!
Engage your kids and make these fun summer treats together. Peter Wawro, Health Advocate, for Cooking Matters at La Familia in Fort Collins, says when kids are involved in the kitchen, they are much more inclined to eat the food. He says, “Once the connection has been established, the kitchen becomes a place for conversation and sharing in a very informal setting. This improves communication and can help improve family dynamics as well.”
Wawro’s favorite easy summer treat is Banana Pudding in a Bag. “It’s a simple, fun recipe that lets the kids play with their food without making a mess.” See sidebar for recipe. Here are more crowd-pleasers:
Fruit popsicles can be made from any fruit your child loves. Using a blender, use your child’s favorite fruit(s) and blend with fruit juice, yogurt, and/or milk, add a stick, and freeze. Note: fruits with skins (blueberries, cherries, etc.) may be a little trickier and disrupt the smooth texture.
Frozen whole fruit tastes, in some cases, surprisingly different (and better) when it’s frozen on a stick. Bananas, grapes, watermelon, and strawberries are easy wins and are even more delicious if they’re dipped in chocolate before they’re frozen.
Most anything is more fun when on a skewer. Combining fruits or vegetables with cheeses or lining up meats and cheeses is easy as well as healthy. Fruit skewers are delicious and even more so when fruit is assembled in rainbow order or another creative manner.
Many traditional pub foods can be replicated with fruits and vegetables and be fun to make together:
- For fruit pizza, try slicing a fresh watermelon in a full circle, top with additional chopped fruits, and slicing into quarters.
- For fruit nachos, thinly slice apples and spread them on a plate. Drizzle peanut butter (and maybe some chocolate) on top and they’ll disappear like candy.
- For veggie nachos, spread colorful pieces of bell pepper and top with salad dressing (or seasoned plain yogurt) with chopped cucumbers, avocado, and cheese.
- Although they’re equally healthy, consider replacing tomatoes and peppers with strawberries and kiwi for fruit salsa. Use chips sprinkled with cinnamon for an extra treat.
Banana Pudding in a Bag
½ Cup low-fat granola
3 medium bananas
½ Cup applesauce
½ Cup yogurt
Put all if the ingredients into a zip lock bag and then squish away until it looks like pudding.