This year, summer vacation has taught me two things — most importantly, that I think I need a nanny. But all kidding aside, I've also discovered that kids who are home from school all day want to eat constantly. Yes, during the lazy days of summer, my children are all about the snacks.
And apparently, they're not alone.
Today's Kids Consume Too Many Unhealthy Snacks
According to a 2010 study published in the Health Affairs journal, kids today are getting nearly 27% of their daily calories from snacks, and sweet and salty snacks — like potato chips and ice cream — are among the most common.
"Our study shows that some children, even very young children, snack almost continuously throughout the day," said the paper's lead author Barry M. Popkin, a professor in the Department of Nutrition at North Carolina University at Chapel Hill.
Unhealthy snack habits are leading to more cavities, higher obesity rates, and serious health concerns for today's youth — which means that, as parents, we need to work hard to teach healthier eating habits and keep the summer snacking under control.
Healthy Summer Snacking Tips and Ideas
Many experts agree that small, frequent meals throughout the day are beneficial, but even so, if your kids are snacking their way through summer vacation, be sure to keep nutrition in mind with these tips and ideas.
- Even healthy snacks can be kid-friendly. Check out our list of 20 Healthy Snack Ideas for Kids for ideas from fruit salsa to yogurt sundaes to peanut butter balls.
- Parents.com also has a helpful list of The 20 Best Snacks for Kids (including pictures and recipes).
- GoGoSqueez Applesauce, Honest Kids Juice Quenchers, and ProBug Kefir Smoothies all made the list of Healthy Summer Snacks for Kids compiled by FoxNews.
- Skip the lemonade and the slurpees — they may be traditional summer treats, but they're also on WebMD's list of The 9 Worst Summer Snacks and Treats for Kids.
- Try a NatureBox. For $19.95 a month, you'll get a box of seasonally-inspired and miminally-processed snacks like granola, trail mix, and dried fruits delivered right to your door.
- Tired of being a short order cook? Give your kids a taste of independence by setting up a "Self-Serve Snack Shop" like the one Gina at The Feminist Breeder has created for her family.
- Don't forget the fruits and vegetables. During the summer months, the best snacks are as close as your nearest farmer's market. Or, if you're lucky, your backyard garden!
Disclosure: I received a complimentary Nature Box for the purpose of review. The snacks were impressive, and I love the convenience of having them delivered to my door. But, honestly, I would still rather put that twenty bucks toward a monthly pedicure. Hey, we've all got our own priorites.