Simple summer snacks for kids

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The following post from the archives was written by editor Kara Fleck. It originally appeared in June of 2011.

The days are growing longer and hotter.  This time of year, my family wants to to eat things that are lighter and I don’t want to spend a lot of time in a hot kitchen preparing a snack. The sooner we can get back to the Summer fun, the better! This is the time to enjoy while it lasts, afterall.

At our house, during the warmer months, I have two main ideas that I fall back on for simple Summertime snacks for the kids: the muffin tin of “nibbles” and popsicles.

The muffin tin of “nibbles”

Setting out a muffin tray of bite-sized snacks for the kids to nibble on is something that goes back to my own childhood.  My mom used to prepare a muffin tin of snacks on Friday nights and leave it in the fridge for us to help ourselves to on Saturday mornings (so that she could sleep in one day a week, that wise woman).

At our house, a muffin tin, or “nibble” tray, is usually our mid-morning snack. Though, I’ll admit that sometimes on busy days, the muffin tins gets refilled and becomes lunch, too.

What I include in the muffin tin varies according to what fruits and veggies and bite-sized snacks that we have on hand.  Sometimes I include something sweet like chocolate chips or vanilla wafers.

Here is a typical example of what I include for my three table food eaters to share:

A Recent Muffin Tin Snack:

Rice chips, almonds, chocolate chips

cherry tomatoes, strawberries, Colby Jack cheese,

popcorn, Pink Lady apple slices

Smoothie popsicles

We have a smoothie nearly every day, year round.  I have found that this is a simple way for me, not only to get some extra fruit into the kids, but also to sneak in some spinach or kale for an extra healthful boost. We have a different colored smoothie, in a rainbow, for every day of the week.

For warmer days, when we are outside, I turn our smoothie mixes into popsicles.  For Summertime popsicles, I just blend everything up in the morning, as I normally would for our afternoon snack, and then I pour it into a popsicle mold and freeze.  They are usually ready in the afternoons for us to enjoy.

Here are some of our favorite mixes:

  • blueberries, handful of baby spinach, frozen banana, splash of orange juice
  • frozen cherries (no pits), yogurt, small handful of baby spinach
  • banana, applesauce, yogurt
  • orange juice, banana, yogurt

And, of course, much of our Summertime snacking involves treats of the kind we pluck from the strawberry or tomato plants and pop into our mouths, warm from the sun.

What are some of your kids’ favorite Summertime snacks? How do you keep snacking simple and light during the hotter days of the year?

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About Kara

Kara Fleck is the editor of Simple Kids. She is a small town mama, writer, knitter, bookworm, and hooligan. Kara lives in Indiana with her husband Christopher and their four children Jillian, Max, Lucy, and Amelia. You can find more of her writing at KElizabethFleck.com.

Comments

  1. Love these ideas, Kara! I’ve been thinking about ways to make veggies more accessible as an “any time you are hungry you’re welcome to have some veggies” kind of snack, and I think a muffin tin may be the perfect solution!
    Mandi @ Life…Your Way´s latest post: Giveaway- Bluapple Produce Saver 3 Winners!

    • Thanks, Mandi :-)

      Another thing I love about serving in a muffin tin is that it is easy to just pick up and take outside and set it on the picnic table, too. (tho’ sometimes I wish we had one of those bug screen food covering gadgets lol)
      Kara @SimpleKids´s latest post: Weekend Links

  2. What a fabulous idea! I’m loving this post! Thank you so much for sharing!

  3. Great stuff here. I have to try putting some smoothie in popsicle molds. We also add a scoop of tahini and pb to our smoothies to give them a little more oomph.

    Other favorite standby? Hummus. Goes with everything (pretzels, bread, whatever’s coming in the garden). And packs a protein punch w/o the pounds. Here’s my favorite recipe (roasted garlic and herb hummus). Takes 10 minutes to make:

    http://fitfamilytogether.com/family-fitness-food-recipe-the-best-hummus

    • Thank you, Sarah! we eat a lot of hummus around here, it is one of my favorites. And, most of the time my kids are happy if they have something to “dip” and hummus fits the bill.

      I’ll have to try out your recipe :-)
      Kara @SimpleKids´s latest post: Weekend Links

  4. yum! All of this delicious snacking talk made me very hungry ;-)
    Lindsay @ BytesOfMemory´s latest post: Spur of the Moment Beach Trip

  5. I never thought of putting baby spinach (or any vegetable, really) into a smoothie – thanks for the great tip!
    Courtney´s latest post: My Little Sniffers

    • Yeah, a little goes a long way. I started out just adding a few leaves, figuring every little bit extra helped, and now I can do a pretty generous handful and no one minds or says anything. It does change the taste a little bit, but if anyone complains I just scale back the amount of spinach I toss in the next time and on one is the wiser :-)

      I’m not exactly “sneaky” about it, but I don’t advertise that it is in there either LOL
      Kara @SimpleKids´s latest post: Weekend Links

  6. I love your idea for turning your smoothies into popsicles! So simple, why did I not think of it. I even make my own popsicles from yogurt and orange juice concentrate but I love the popsicle idea from smoothies to sneak some extra veggies in. For some reason my 3yr. old refuses to drink smoothies. (Probably because he is 3 and he can!)

    Thanks for the post we have needed a revamp of our snacks for awhile!

  7. Love the idea of freezing the smoothies! What kind of popsicle molds do you use?
    Simple Homeschool – Jamie´s latest post: Creating a Visual Schedule for Kids

    • Thanks, Jamie!

      Right now our molds are a collection of various yard sale and thrift store molds that I’ve picked up over the years. Mostly older tupperware :-)

      I’m on the lookout for BPA free popsicle molds, though.
      Kara @SimpleKids´s latest post: Weekend Links

  8. I love your rainbow approach to smoothies! I’ll have to try that.
    Sheena´s latest post: Day 5 of 30 Days of Creativity

  9. I love the idea of the muffin tin!!! Your mom is a genius:)
    Summer´s latest post: Cook Community Garden- Update in Photos

  10. What a great idea to use a muffin tin for snacks. That’s going to be great when my baby is older. Right now, I’m using an ice-cube tray for my baby’s food, which suits his little fingers. Check out my post: http://playdatemommies.wordpress.com/2011/06/03/mealtime-is-playtime/
    Thanks for all the fabulous ideas you post here. They are very inspiring!
    Karla

  11. Wow, that muffin tin idea is so simple yet so cool! I think that will soon be a favourite in this household.
    Natalia´s latest post: Hiking Mt Mitsutoge

  12. I wanted to add that if you are looking for muffin tin ideas and inspiration, check out the Muffin Tin Mom’s blog:
    http://www.michellesjournalcorner.blogspot.com/

    Best Wishes!
    Kara @SimpleKids´s latest post: Weekend Links

  13. I had a hard time finding popsicle molds when I last looked, but the smoothie popsicles do sound wonderful!

    For sweet treats, we like homemade shakes and ice cream sandwiches.
    Julia´s latest post: Vanilla Sprinkle Ice Cream Bites

  14. We finally found popsicle molds this year (Bed, Bath, and Beyond) – probably not BPA free, but it’s a start. I hadn’t thought to just pour smoothies in the molds – brilliant!
    Alissa´s latest post: For those who have been asking

  15. I love this idea!
    I just discovered that my daughter (who just turned 1) likes avocado. Have you ever tried that in a smoothie?

  16. The muffin tin is a great idea, but that looks like a lot of food for a snack. Are multiple kids sharing it?

  17. The muffin tin would be a full meal at our house! – which is great, since I hate preparing a full-fledged sit-down meal many summer days. Thanks for some great ideas…
    Mozi Esmes Mom´s latest post: Happy Corn on the Cob Day!

  18. Emily @random recycling says:

    I love the muffin tin idea, especially as a way to also promote sharing. (and the Sat morning sleep in)
    Emily @random recycling´s latest post: Whats Eating Your Child

  19. We are in the middle of freezing winter but muffin tin snacks still work well, as do smoothies, but the unfrozen kind. I add a hit of yoghurt to our smoothies to up the protein especially for a late arvo snack when I feel like everyone is a bit flat and grumpy, protein seems to help then.
    In the summer our fav snack is all kind of fruits threaded on a wooden skewer and frozen… for some reason my kids think this is party food and love it!

  20. This is great that you are making articles about your diet. Do you notice that with your diet you get less flares, and symptoms?
    I need to change my diet but its? so hard, its so much easier to find junk food than healthy foods especially on college campuses.
    Andrew´s latest post: Cheaper Ways to Experience Olive Garden and Italian Cooking

  21. Debra Waldo says:

    I love the smoothie idea! But I need more info than just ingredients. How much do you use? Sorry I’m not one of those who can cook without a recipe. Thanks!

    • Sorry, Debra, I’m not really a “measurer” when it comes to smoothie making. It seems like I just do the fruits/veggies to taste preference and ice and then liquid (yogurt, orange juice, etc) until it blends well.

      Sorry I’m not much more help than that. I’m an “eye ball it” kind of smoothie maker, I guess :-)

  22. Thank you for linking to my site, Kara. :) I love the smoothie Popsicle idea too. I need to grind up more spinach in my smoothies.

  23. Wonderful ideas! I’ll have to try the muffin tin snacks again….I haven’t been organized enough to do this in the past but I love the idea of the variety and portability. And smoothies and popsicle molds….yum,yum! I don’t have molds right now but must be on the lookout for them. (And clean out my freezer so I have some space to fit them!) Thanks Kara!
    Tanya´s latest post: early may daybook

  24. Thanks for the great ideas; I often default to popcorn for an easy snack!
    Wendy´s latest post: good eats

  25. What a great idea, love the little munchies in the muffin tin! Will definitely have to try this, this summer! And your Mom was one smart lady! Love it. Thank you for sharing!

  26. I LOVE the Muffin tray idea. I am so going to be doing this for our toddler. Thank you so much, Kara. Hope you’re well.
    Prerna´s latest post: {Giveaway} Make Potty Training Easy, Fun and Stress-Free with the Potty Tots

Trackbacks

  1. [...] found some inspiration at these blogs too – Simple Kids, Sugary FLower, Muffin Tin Mom. And there are lots [...]

  2. [...] new idea (and it’s definitely not something I came up with on my own). I first heard about it here. I love it because the possibilities are pretty much endless. It could become a lazy lunch, too [...]

  3. [...] found this idea and picture on Pinterest under Simplekids…enjoy! muffin tin snack idea Like this:LikeBe the first to like this post. This entry was [...]

  4. [...] Summer Snacks for Kids  {Simple Kids} Share this:Like this:LikeBe the first to like this. [...]

  5. [...] Muffin tin nibbles and many other snack ideas [...]

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