Summer typically means kids will be spending more time around the house. Idle time sometimes means kids will be poking around the kitchen in hopes of finding a quick and easy snack-often an unhealthy one.

To help keep kids healthy, be sure to keep the refrigerator and pantry stocked with nutritious snacks that kids will enjoy. Start with a wide range of choices from the milk, fruit, vegetable and grains food groups.

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“Smart snacking is a great way to meet nutrient requirements that may be missed at mealtime,” said Andrea Garen, a registered dietitian at Dairy Council of California. “If chosen carefully, snacks can promote good health without adding too many calories.”

Garen adds that encouraging outside play, a refreshing dip in the pool and other physical activities are also part of the equation to keep kids healthy.

Some snacking tips that make a parent’s job easier:

  • Plan ahead and buy healthy snacks when you grocery shop for the week.
  • Pre-portion your child’s snacks into small plastic bags to grab on the go.
  • Keep healthy snacks in a specific spot in your refrigerator or cupboard, and let kids help themselves.
  • Combine snacks from two or more food groups, like raspberry yogurt, low-fat chocolate milk and a banana in a blender for a cool, refreshing treat.

The Dairy Council of California’s meal-planning Web site (www.mealsmatter.org) contains hundreds of free and easy-to-make, kid-friendly recipe ideas, including the Apple Bagel Sandwich. Parents can try this and hundreds of other great-tasting recipes and snack ideas to help their children stay healthy during summer.

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Healthy Chocolate Milkshake

1 cup almond milk                                
2 frozen bananas 
2  tablespoons raw cacao                  
4 dates
2 tablespoons sunflower seed butter
¼ teaspoon cinnamon

Combine all ingredients in a high-speed blender.
Blend and enjoy!

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If you’d like my healthy kids snack guide, please let me know here.

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