Ah, summertime is here. No more school. No more school lunches to be made. No more waking up early and starting the day with the necessary healthy breakfast. Now is the time to think about healthy summer snacking. Let’s face it, everyone is far more likely to be eating on the run. There may not even be any traditional meals. At least that is the way it can seem at our house. What can we do during this grab and go lifestyle to make sure we are getting adequate nutrients, fiber and protein?
We all know that all it takes for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing. Summertime may be the best time to get proactive by making healthy decisions about what we are going to choose for snacking. In fact, if your kids are like mine, some summer days may end up being just a series of snacks until its time for bed again. Instead of fighting the system, perhaps, a few simple ideas will help both the parents and the kids make some better decisions as summer rolls along.
I am completely convinced we eat snacks for exactly the same reason we climb mountains…because they are there! What gets eaten is only what’s available. Great snacks start in the grocery store. I know it is tempting to grab all the traditional summer junk foods. They can look so good but deliver very little in the way of nutrients, protein, fiber and healthy essential fats. You should try to spend most of your time and money in the produce section. That is where the real food is located. Try to keep out of those aisles where the man-made, nutrient depleted, highly processed foods are found.
Here is a short list of some of the most popular foods in the produce section which can be enjoyed raw, which means all the nutrients are still available. Baby, or sliced carrots. Celery, which my kids enjoy by filling the celery trough with a little peanut butter and sticking raisins on top as “ants on a log”. Broccoli might surprise you as a favorite of kids and adults alike when it is raw. Green, yellow or especially red peppers are an extremely healthy choice. Red peppers can actually contain up to 6 times more vitamin C than an orange. By far my kid’s favorite choice is a plain old cucumber which is loaded with fiber, vitamins, minerals and water.
Several factors are working in your favor when you choose an INBar for breakfast. First of all, you are providing only about 11grams of net carbs for energy, all of which are low glycemic, which means they will not cause the blood sugar to spike. These are the much healthier carbs which provide the sustained energy you need to start everyday the right way. These carbs are balanced with a full 10 grams of plant based protein and an amazing 10 grams of fiber in each INBar.
Please notice all of my recommendations so far are actually just vegetables because that is were the most fiber is found with the least calories. You may be thinking, that will never work for my kids they don’t eat vegetables. Did you ever consider that maybe they don’t eat them because they are not easily available? This is where my wife shines. She always tries to make sure these vegetables are cut up and ready to eat AND on the counter as the children pass by. I am convinced this is a big part of the reason my kids do eat vegetables. We start with vegetables because most kids do not eat nearly enough. Put the ready to eat vegetables out before you add the fruit. If you put them on the counter together most likely the fruits will disappear first and the vegetables may just sit there because everyone filled up on the fruits.
Please don’t think fruit is not a great choice for a snack. Fruits tend to be a little higher in sugar and calorie content but are still loaded with vitamins, minerals and a lot of fiber. Apples, bananas, oranges, grapes, peaches, pears and watermelon are great summer snack choices that everyone loves.
The goal is to get your kids eating more fruits and vegetables. The ball is in your court. Hit the grocery store and focus on the produce section. Then when you get home don’t just throw the fruits and vegetables in the refrigerator. Wash and cut them up and put them on the counter. They will disappear.
For a much more convenient snack, grab an INBar. You will be getting a full 10 grams of protein and fiber for sustained energy and satisfying hunger for a long time. Low glycemic ingredients and no added sugar always supports blood sugar balance for a healthy and very nutritious snack.