For my money, nothing beats a piece of fresh fruit for an instant snack this time of year. But when I want to kick it up a little, add a new flavor or incorporate a few veggies into a meal other than dinner, these are my go-to summer snacks. Each one is cool, refreshing and kid-tested to boot.
The Pioneer Woman’s Frozen Fruit Cups (pictured above)
This is my kind of recipe: Chop up a little fruit, throw it in a freezer-proof cup, freeze and serve. I love Ree Drummond’s idea so much that I’m already planning to whip out my muffin pan just so I can make more of them! An even dozen should do it, right?
Peaches & Cream Popsicles
Pull out your blender to make the sweetest, smoothest and most-luscious ice pops of the summer. It takes only a dash of real cream to take these frozen treats to the next level, and it’s called amazing.
This one works especially well when you’re traveling or out for the day. Nothing is more refreshing (or harder to make a mess out of) than popping an ice-cold grape into your mouth. P.S. Sliced strawberries, blueberries or raspberries are also excellent contenders for this on-the-go snack.
Let the Kids Assemble Themselves
Yogurt and Granola Trifle
How can you go wrong with layers of sweet strawberries, crunchy granola and creamy yogurt? Yum, yum and yum!
Sliced Cucumber “Sandwiches”
This idea sprang up last year when my garden started bursting at the seams with cucumbers — and we’ll do it again every year. Just set out any combination of meats and cheeses and let the kids mix and match between crisp slices of “bread.”
Personal Veggie Cups
Mix one part ranch dressing with one part plain yogurt for a better-for-you dip that comes together in seconds. Then fill the bottoms of small drinking cups. Set out a veggie tray and ask the kids to design their own palm-sized collection of crudites.
Fresh Tomato Bruschetta
Stay with me here. This is one of those recipes that looks fancy and seems too sophisticated for kids, but only one of those descriptions is true (hint: it’s the first one!). If you can dice up a few tomatoes, slather on the olive oil and tear a little basil, you can make a fresh and delicious toast topping your kids will ask for all summer long.
Simple White Bean Hummus with Lemon Juice
Drained white beans from a can are the base of this surprisingly addictive dip. Add a little olive oil, salt, pepper and lemon juice and you’ve got a nutritious dip served for pennies.
Prep on the Fly
Blueberry Smoothies with a Superfood Surprise
Just in time for blueberry season, this simple smoothie packs a cool and refreshing punch, thanks to frozen bananas and the one ingredient you might not have thought of.
Trisha Yearwood’s Pimento Cheese Spread
If you’ve ever been in the South, you may have heard of this one. Still not sure? Consider this threefood-ingredient cheese spread a protein-packed snack you’ll feel good about serving, and one your kids will love. #eatitanywhere
Jicama Slices with Lime Juice
This one’s so simple that it’s more of an idea than a recipe, but don’t let that fool you. Your kids will devour these crisp and juicy jicama slices, featured in Food Network Magazine, and ask for more.
Charity Curley Mathews is the mom of four small kids who live for their two snacks a day. She’s also the founder of Foodlets.com, a site that’s part simple recipes featuring fresh ingredients and part parenting advice she wishes she’d had all along.