Raise your hand if you like snacks!
I love snacks. For me, snacks are little bundles of nourishment that bring me joy. I pretty much stayed alive all throughout college with a stash of snacks in my backpack and pantry. Snacks played a major role in my young adult and single years when I started new jobs, met up with friends, and went hiking and camping as my extroverted, on-the-go, adventure-loving self. When I was pregnant, I carried a bag around (my husband referred to it as my “feed bag”) with an assortment of snacks that kept me enjoyable to be around. When I started having children, snacks were my saving grace wherever we went. I always had them in my purse, diaper bag, and car, not only for the kids, but for me also. Sometimes, my kids even had snacks for dinner, because, well, survival.
I could mention so many different summer snacks, but here are four of my favorites:
I look forward to summer fruit for three things: strawberries, peaches and blueberries. Take a trip to your local farmers market or grocery store and get these weekly. Watermelon and grapes (cut those up for the little ones) are also some of my favorite ones! When it’s hot outside, fruit is a good source of hydration, not to mention vitamins and minerals. If you’re taking a cooler, you can add some cottage cheese or sweet dip as an added treat! In a hurry? Keep some fruit cups or applesauce pouches on hand for a quick grab-and-go!
Yes, that’s right, quesadillas (also known in our family as “dragon scales”). These can be made ahead of time and eaten at room temperature or right out of the cooler. If you have picky eaters, you can dice and hide all sorts of veggies in them. The best part is you don’t have much of a mess since the cheese melts everything together—not much to clean off your shirt or the floor of your car! (You’re welcome.) Grab a rotisserie chicken, cheese, veggies, and make a bunch of quesadillas. Cut them up in small triangles and pack them in bags of three. They freeze well too!
There are so many recipes for protein balls out there! Find one that best suits your family’s needs and make a bunch to keep in the fridge. Put three–five (depending on size) in baggies and then grab and go when you need them. Our family’s favorite protein balls have chocolate protein powder, chocolate chips, oats, chia seeds, flax seeds, peanut butter, and honey!
I’ve been eating and serving cereal as snacks for YEARS! This is one of the easiest snacks for kids of all ages. There are lots of varieties out there, and they have always been something I could rely on to hit the hunger spot. I literally used to keep a few boxes in my car for emergencies. Prep some baggies or containers with cereal and off you go!
- Cool your cooler. If you’re going to use a cooler, bring it inside and throw a bag of ice in there the day before you need it. That way, your cooler will be able to do its job and keep your food cold. Those little ice bricks can only do so much if your cooler came right from the garage the day you needed it.
- Prep more snacks than you think you need for long distance and pool trips. Do your kids seem to eat more when they’re at the pool or begin a road trip even though you just fed them something before you left? I don’t understand this, but be ready.
- Keep a box of nonperishable snacks in your car. They will come in handy when you can’t stop, want a quick pick-me-up, or need to stick to certain dietary restrictions. You’ll always have something to eat.
- Pack a gallon-sized bag with paper towels, handy wipes, and hand sanitizer for your backpack or bag and full-size items for your car if you have room.
What’s your favorite snack?
Shannon Hoppe is a production and community coordinator at Lifeway Women. You’ll find her most days outside with friends and family, performing at a local theatre or inside enjoying her husband’s delicious cooking. She lives in Franklin, Tennessee, with her husband and their four children.