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Recipes for Nutritious Summer Fun

It’s a challenge to keep kids entertained over the summer months and sometimes it’s an even bigger challenge to keep kids on a healthy eating track when they need quick, ready-to-eat snacks to fuel their summer activities.  Keep the kids entertained and healthy by getting them involved in making their own snacks with these fun cooking activities!  These activities are great for a rainy summer day or for when they just need a break from the sun (although some of them, like the trail mix activity, you can have them do outside on the patio table to minimize clean up in your kitchen)! 

Cooking activity #1:  Make your own fruit popsicles

  • What you need to have available:
    • Plastic popsicle molds with sticks and lids (you can also use 4-5 oz. plastic cups with popsicle sticks)
    • A blender
    • Your kid’s favorite fruits (pineapple, oranges, bananas, berries, etc.)
    • Water

What you & the kids need to do:

    • Place chosen fruit(s) in a blender and puree
    • Add 1 cup of water to every 2 cups of fruit puree
    • Pour mixture into molds and place them in the freezer for about 3-4 hours (or overnight)
    • When they are frozen, pop them out and enjoy!

Cooking activity #2: Invent a new trail mix

  • What you need to have available:
    • All types of nuts and seeds
    • Dried fruit (look for those without added sugar)
    • Air popped popcorn
    • Dark chocolate chips
    • High fiber cereals
    • Snack size ziploc bags
  • What you need to do/have the kids do:
    • Pour each of the above ingredients into bowls and put a small spoon in each one
    • Tell the kids to invent their own trail mix by combining ingredients into the small ziploc bags.  They can invent as many types as they want!
    • Ask them to name their inventions (give them some a creative example like Mom’s Mumble Jumble Mix) and write the names they come up with on each of the corresponding snack sized bags.
    • Make enough to last for a few weeks and store them in your pantry.  Remind the kids that they can easily grab a bag of their trail mix for a quick snack!


Cooking activity #3: Mix your own smoothie

  • What you need to have available:
    • A variety of fresh fruit (bananas, peaches, strawberries, blueberries, kiwi, watermelon, etc.)
    • Plain low-fat yogurt
    • Water or Skim milk
    • Ice
    • A blender
    • Clear plastic glasses
    • Straws
    • A blender
  • What you & the kids need to do:
    • Have your kids choose the fruit(s) they want to make a smoothie out of
    • Place the chosen fruit into the blender
    • Add a few tablespoons of yogurt along with 1 cup of water or skim milk
    • Add 1 cup of ice and put the top on
    • Put the blender on medium speed and mix until all the ingredients are blended
    • Pour the mixed smoothie into clear plastic cups and add a straw
    • Repeat for each child if different fruits are desired


Cooking activity #4: Bake your own chips 

  • What you need to have available:
    • Sweet Potatoes
    • Carrots
    • Beets
    • Kale
    • Any other vegetable that your kids like or that you want them to try!
    • Salt
    • Your spice rack!
    • Parmesan Cheese
    • Olive oil
  • What you and the kids need to do: 
    • No matter what vegetable you're using, the process is basically the same!  Just slice the vegetables, lay the slices on a baking sheet, brush with olive oil, sprinkle with salt (and/or any other spice your kids like) and then bake for about 25-30 minutes.  Rotate the pan once halfway through.  Store the chips in an airtight container. 
    • Use the variations below if desired: 
      • Parmesan Potato Chips: Instead of salt, sprinkle grated Parmesan cheese on the potatoes.
      • Cinnamon Sweet Potato Chips: Sprinkle with cinnamon and salt for a warm and spicy flavor.
      • Baked Beet Chips: Slice two medium-size beets 1/8-inch thick, place on baking sheet and lightly brush with oil. Bake at 325 degrees F for about 40 minutes.
      • Baked Carrot Chips: Slice two large carrots (thin slices); place in bowl and toss with olive oil and salt. Lay slices on baking sheet and bake at 275 degrees F for about 30 minutes.
      • Baked Kale Chips:Wash and then dry a bunch of kale.  Remove the leaves from the stems.  Discard the stems and tear the leaves into small pieces.  Put the leaves into a bowl and add 2 Tablespoons of olive oil and add some garlic (powder, minced or fresh).  Toss to evenly coat the leaves.  Lay the kale on a baking sheet.  Bake 25 minutes at 275 degrees F.

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