The weather’s getting warmer, so it’s time for summer snacks! Yes, you can use coupons to buy boxes of fruit snacks or stock up on frozen treats, or you can whip up some healthy, fresh snacks that are easy to make at home.
You can make all of these snacks in under five minutes; some require a little extra time to freeze, but many can be eaten as soon as they are made.
1. Frozen juice pops
You can use special popsicle molds to make these frozen juice pops or the plain old ice cube trays you already have in your freezer. Pour your favorite juice into the popsicle mold or ice cube tray, add sticks, and pop them in the freezer until they’re solid.
How do you get the popsicle stick to stand up while the juice pop is still liquid? You have two options: first, wait until the juice pops are frozen semi-solid before adding the popsicle sticks. Or, if you prefer, you can put a sheet of plastic wrap over your popsicle mold or ice cube tray and then carefully poke the popsicle sticks through the wrap (you may need to use scissors or a knife to make the incision). The wrap will hold the popsicle sticks in place as the juice freezes. Ensure the plastic wrap doesn’t freeze to the juice, or you’ll get extra plastic in your popsicle!
Adding some chopped fresh fruit can make this frozen juice pops a little fancier. That’ll also give your juice pops additional texture when you eat them.
2. Fresh fruit kebabs
Sure, you can slice a bunch of fruit and put it on a platter or turn it into a fruit salad, but eating fruit off kebab sticks is much more fun.
Buy a pack of kebab sticks at your grocery store ahead of time, and then quickly chop up your favorite fruits: apples, bananas, watermelon, pineapple, strawberries, anything you want. Some fruits, such as raspberries and blueberries, don’t even need to be chopped!
Line up the fruit on the kebab stick until you’ve got a fully loaded fruit kebab. Then, enjoy your delicious, healthy fruit snack.
3. Fruit and yogurt dippers
Plenty of quick and easy ways to enjoy fresh fruit dipped in yogurt. Slice up some of your favorite fruits and put them out next to a bowl of yogurt. Or, put yogurt into small sealed containers and toss the container into a plastic baggie with a bunch of pre-sliced fruit. That way, you can take your snack on the go. (If you don’t plan on eating your fruit and yogurt for a while, consider packing it in a small cooler so the yogurt will stay cold.)
Making your own fruit and yogurt diapers is a good way to save money. Buy yogurt in bulk and portion it out as needed. Buy fruit by the bag and chop it up whenever you want it. Then, dip and enjoy!
4. Ants on a log
Ants on a log is a classic childhood snack — but that doesn’t mean it isn’t fun for adults either!
The classic ants on a log recipe involve spreading peanut butter or another nut butter on a slice of celery and then topping the peanut butter off with a row of raisins. However, not everyone enjoys celery’s stringy texture, and many people tend to eat the ants and leave the log behind! If your kids balk at eating celery (or if you don’t care for it yourself), try making ants on a log with apple slices. It’s a great way to get a quick boost of protein, fiber, and healthy sugar in the middle of the day.
5. Homemade hummus
Why would you want to make your hummus when many store varieties are available? Because your hummus will have less salt and oil than the storebought brands.
The basic ingredients in homemade hummus are:
- One can of chickpeas, thoroughly rinsed
- Two tablespoons of olive oil
- Two tablespoons tahini
- Two tablespoons of lemon juice
Blend until smooth and serve.
From there, you can add any ingredients: a dash of salt, a dash of pepper, a tablespoon of minced garlic, some chopped sun-dried chilis, etc. Just blend whatever you like into the hummus, and enjoy trying new flavor combinations!
Yes, you can eat your homemade hummus on pita chips or crackers, but you can also eat it on carrot sticks, broccoli or cauliflower florets, and even cherry tomatoes.
6. Healthy, no-bake cookies
Sometimes, you’re just craving a cookie. That’s fine; plenty of easy, healthy cookie recipes will give you the necessary treatment.
No-bake cookies are great for summer because they are easy to make and come out of the refrigerator nicely and cool. There are many different recipes; some involve sugar, some involve peanut butter, and some are made with agave nectar instead of sugar.
There’s a recipe for healthy no-bake cookies at Two Peas and Their Pod that looks delicious! If you have your own favorite no-bake cookie recipe to share, tell us about it in the comments.
7. Banana “ice cream”
If you like ice cream's soft, cool, creamy taste but don’t like all of the calories and saturated fat, try making a batch of banana “ice cream.”
Step one: slice bananas and freeze until solid.
Step two: blend frozen bananas until smooth.
You’ll end up with a delicious, soft, frozen banana puree that you’d swear was gourmet ice cream. You can add chocolate syrup, sprinkles, and any other favorite toppings, but this “ice cream” is delicious enough to stand on its own.
7. Ice cream in a bag
There are many ways to make healthy, homemade ice cream, but the best way to get kids involved is to make ice cream in a bag.
How Stuff Works has the recipe and the details, but here’s the jist: mix milk, a little sugar, and vanilla flavoring in a plastic bag. Seal the bag, and place it in a larger plastic bag filled with ice and salt. Seal that bag, then shake both bags for five minutes. Believe it or not, the inner bag will be full of delicious homemade ice cream.
8. Summer smoothies
There are almost innumerable ways of making healthy summer smoothies. You need a heavy-duty blender, a bunch of ice, a liquid base, and something solid to mix in. You can make fruit smoothies with strawberries and bananas or enjoy a vegetable smoothie with broccoli or spinach. Use juice, almond milk, or frozen yogurt for that extra bit of decadence. You can even make a smoothie with ice, fruit, and water for a low-calorie snack.
9. Sugar snap peas
Fresh sugar snap peas are so tasty that you’ll want to call them “sugar snack peas!”
You can grow your sugar snap peas in your vegetable garden or buy them at the grocery store or farmer’s market. Just wash them, break off the top and bottom of the pea pods, and enjoy! You can dip them in hummus or another vegetable dip, but you’ll probably find them 100% delicious.
10. Trail mix
Trail mix is like hummus; it’s easy to buy at the grocery store, but when you make it at home, you can control the amount of salt, sugar, and fat.
Making trail mix at home needs very few instructions. Simply mix your favorite trail mix ingredients, including cashews, peanuts, sunflower seeds, almonds, raisins, dates, dried cranberries, dried blueberries, banana chips, M&M, chocolate chips, carob chips, yogurt chips, and more.
Want to avoid salt? Look for unsalted nuts and sunflower seeds. Want to avoid sugar? Go easy on the M&Ms, or skip them altogether. When you decide what goes into your trail mix, you get exactly the desired snack.
11. Frozen grapes
This might be the easiest summer snack of all. Rinse some seedless grapes, pat them dry, put them in a plastic bag, and freeze them. When they’re frozen, remove them, pluck them off the bunch, and eat them immediately. It’s like eating a popsicle, except a fresh, frozen grape.
Summertime is avocado time. Make your healthy guacamole by mashing up an avocado and adding the extra ingredients of your choice: salt, pepper, mayonnaise, cayenne pepper, diced red onion, red pepper flakes, etc.
As with hummus, you can eat this healthy summer snack with chips, or you can eat it on carrot sticks or other vegetables. Either way, you’re benefitting from the avocado, often one of nature’s healthiest treats! That’s enough to keep you snacking on avocado all summer long.