Jena DeMoss: Fueling fun – summer nutrition ideas for active kids

Published 8:01 pm Monday, June 17, 2024

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As the days grow longer and warmer, children eagerly embrace the freedom that summer vacation brings. But for parents and caregivers, ensuring that kids maintain a balanced diet and stay active can be challenging, especially with the allure of laid-back days and sugary treats. However, with a little planning and creativity, kids can stay nourished and energized all summer long.

One of the most effective ways to achieve this is by offering a variety of nutritious snacks tailored to the different summer occasions. Whether it is a day at the pool, a playdate with friends, road trip or a family picnic, having a selection of wholesome snacks on hand ensures that kids are fueling their bodies with the nutrients they need to thrive throughout the summer months.

With all that in mind, here are my top four snacks to pack for any summer occasion!

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Frozen Fruit Kabobs: Thread colorful chunks of watermelon, pineapple, grapes and strawberries onto skewers for a refreshing and hydrating treat. Freeze them overnight for a cool, refreshing snack.

Homemade Trail Mix: Mix together a variety of nuts, seeds, dried fruits and a sprinkle of dark chocolate chips for a satisfying blend of protein, healthy fats and fiber. Portion them into individual bags for easy grab-and-go snacks.

Veggie Wraps: Roll up crisp lettuce, sliced bell peppers, cucumbers, carrots and hummus in whole grain wraps for a crunchy and nutritious handheld meal. Customize them with your child’s favorite veggies for added excitement.

Greek Yogurt Parfaits: Layer creamy Greek yogurt with fresh berries, granola and a drizzle of honey for a delicious and protein-packed snack or dessert. Let your child get creative with the layers to make their own personalized parfait.

Not only are these snacks delicious and nutritious, but they are also simple enough for kids to help prepare, which builds their confidence and love for being in the kitchen. Additionally, involving children in the preparation process increases their likelihood of trying new foods and developing healthy eating habits for life!

The dietary choices a child makes can significantly influence many aspects of their development, including physical, cognitive, immune and long-term health outcomes. Hence, it is crucial to ensure that children have access to a well-rounded diet full of nutrient-dense foods. By incorporating these wholesome snacks into your child’s summer routine, you can help ensure that they stay healthy, hydrated and energized for all their summer adventures!

Check out the recipe below and swap out potato fries for these delicious “fries.” They have a touch of sweetness from coconut sugar and a hint of tartness from lime juice!

Crinkle Cut Watermelon Fries

Serves 5

All you need

• ½ (5-lb.) mini watermelon

• 1 tbsp. fresh lime juice

• ¼ c. organic blonde coconut sugar

All you do

1. Cut watermelon half crosswise into 1-in.-thick round slices.

2. Cut each round into 4×3/4-in. sticks using a crinkle slicer/chopper. Dip one end of each fry in lime juice, then in sugar. Serve immediately.

Recipe Source:

Ready for more nutritious and fun ideas to keep your kids entertained this summer? Your Hy-Vee registered dietitians have you covered with our KidsFit in the Kitchen with your Hy-Vee Dietitians and our on demand KidsFit Food Group Store Tour! You can also get active with our Hy-Vee KidsFit Club. Learn more by reaching out to your local dietitian through