Kid-Friendly Summer Snacks and Meals for Staycations or Vacations

Family Vacations start here

“I’m hungry! Are we there yet?”

4th of July is over. You’re already an expert at summertime (tell me your secrets?) You’ve gone on some family outings, and maybe you’ve even enjoyed  the big family reunion in another state. But there’re still a number of weeks to go before it’s back-to-school time… More outings and activities that require you to, yet again, load up the van with sand toys, tennis racquets, frisbees, bicycles, family pets, sunscreen, snacks, and oh yes, children. The ones who come with little mouths that say, “Feed me. Now.” OVER & OVER.

From what I’ve experienced, those are the same mouths I run into around our house. But when they’re in a van, 45 minutes from the next rest stop, convenience store, or large market that stocks everything a healthy eater could want (picky me), I hope you’ll have done the good little scout thing in order to BE. PREPARED.

I’ve come across some really great recipes, ideas, and links to share with you – quick and healthy ways to feed those little mouths (yours too – parents get hungry, I know!) so you’ll have more time for playing in the sun without all that snacking stress!

What? Staying Home Today?

OK then, here’s my favorite Staycation idea – perfect for anytime the kids are out of school. Also useful for homeschoolers, preparing a ‘snack pack’ ahead of time for your kids is a great way to put them in control of what they can grab when they’re hungry between meals. I take no credit for this idea. Michelle, who blogs over at All Home Cooking thought of this. You gotta read her ‘snack pack‘ tip – it’s so simple it’s genius. Nourish Interactive has tons of resources and a helpful summer snacking guide as well.

Family Picnic Ideas

Staying home all day, especially when the weather’s nice, can get old. Fast. Grabbing the family and the gear and heading to the park or beach for a day of fun and relaxation is something everyone can enjoy. Getting the kids involved in the packing and planning makes it a good activity from start to finish, including preparing a picnic at home. It’ll save you money, and if children help, they’ll feel proud, knowing they were part of the feast-making. Zen Family Habits has some wonderful picnic ideas that all ages will enjoy.  How about make-at-home  individual antipasto boxed lunches? Amy’s blog, Super Healthy Kids is where I found this great idea (shown boxed in our EasyLunchboxes), but you’ll want to look through the rest of her site for many other terrific recipes and tips.  Use some of Amy’s meal suggestions and avoid the overpriced snack bar at the amusement park. You’ll feel virtuous when you unpack your homemade feast. With a little lunch box advance planning, you can save a bundle and use it to buy the overpriced souvenirs. They contain no additives or high fructose corn syrup lol.

Kids Will Say Yes To These

In the days before I had kids, I was what you could call a ‘crafty’ person. I sewed (my entire maternity wardrobe), I did rubber stamping, I made collages of family photos (before they even called it ‘scrapbooking’ -yes, I’m way older than I look). I had patience. Today, patience is long gone from my virtues when it comes to making things like art or recipes in the kitchen. I cook because I like to eat healthy food and I can’t afford not to. Not because I actually enjoy it. What I do get a kick out of though, and as I have blogged about before, is making food fun. Pretty, appealing, cute, silly, basically irresistable. I wrote a guest blog post a couple of months ago for Simple Good and Tasty explaining the ‘science’ behind kid-friendly food – if you make healthy foods fun, children will be more apt to eat them. (This is much the appeal of the adorable bento lunches many bloggers are sharing.)

One of my favorite sites that offers easy to make, eye appealing healthy treats for kids is Family Fun. You’ll want to explore their myriad of cool snack ideas from a banana octopus to a cucumber snake!

Here’re a few more sites for simple, healthy ideas to feed those hungry mouths. Whatever the season, they’ll need to eat:

And now, let me leave you with a sweet video, sent to me by a family of EasyLunchbox users all the way from OZtralia!! (Aw, thanks mates!) Not only do they pack some great snacks for their day on the beach, when they’re done eating, you’ll see how they turn the containers into a sand toy 🙂

79 days left until Autumn. How will you be enjoying the rest of your summer?