Smart Summer Snacks

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With the kids out of school, daytime means snack time in addition to the three meals a day Mom already has to make the family.  Coming up with healthy and tasty snacks that will fill the kids, but not fill Mom's waistline can be tricky.  So, I put some unique edible ideas to the test for my family's summer snacking.  Some items were well-received by the kiddos and others will be enjoyed by me, the busy Mama, who deserves snack-time just as much as the kids do!

Give Up This:  Chocolate Coconut candy bars
Get This:  Living Fuel Cocohia Energy Bar
I love those coconut candy bars like Mounds and Almond Joy, but the sugar and the calories don't like me and make my kids hyper.  So, I asked one of my hockey Mom friends what healthy bar she recommends for her clients since she is a personal trainer.  She promised me that the Living Fuel Cocochia Bar would satisfy my chocolate coconut cravings and she was right!  Six-year-old Andy, our neighbor, loved it, but my 12-year-son did not.  Still, I think this one is worth trying since 1 out of the 2 kids that tried it at my home liked it.  Filled with fiber and healthy ingredients that include organic coconut, raw almond butter and organic cocoa, this bar contains no gluten or milk.  I buy mine at LEAN Wellness Center in Mesa or visit www.livingfuel.com. 
       
Give Up This:  Donut Holes
Get This:  Raw Donut Holes
Donut holes are better than a donut because it is a smaller portion, but you are still ingesting a ton of sugar and white flour so consider trying a raw donut hole instead.  Pomegranate Café in Ahwatukee sells these little treasures that are sweetened with dates and pineapple instead of sugar.  You might have to taste it to believe it, but these babies satisfy with all wholesome ingredients.  Learn more at pomegranatecafe.com.

Give Up This:  Gummy Bears & Fruit candies
Get This:  Frozen grapes
Here is a snack that fits the budget and the beltline.  Freeze red grapes and pop them on a plate for a tasty snack.  I cut mine in half since grapes can be a choking hazard for kids.  The sweet antioxidants a grape provides is much better than the sweet sugar the fruit candies deliver right into your kid's teeth and bloodstream.  Give grapes a go and you will find that frozen is fun!

Give Up This:  French Fries & Chips
Get This:  Good Health Natural Foods Veggie Stix
They look like fries, have a nice crunch and contain 50% less fat than potato chips.  With no artificial ingredients and no hydrogenated oil, this chip is a much better option.  Plus the sea salt and flavoring from tomato, spinach, green pepper, parsley, paprika, celery and garlic give it a great flavor that actually doesn't taste veggie at all, so both adults and kids can crunch on this healthy snack.

Give Up This:  Full Sized Candy Bars
Get This:  Trader Joe's Dark Chocolate Nibs or Godiva Milk Chocolate Pearls
When I found this cute little case of tiny little dots drenched in 65% Cacao dark chocolate, I found a way to have my chocolate and eat it, too!  With only one calorie per piece, if you eat half of the container, then you only consume 70 calories or 140 calories if you eat the entire container, which is about half the amount of the average candy bar.  Plus dark chocolate does have healthy antioxidants, but I did include the Godiva Milk Chocolate for Lisa who loves milk rather than dark.  Plus who doesn't love good Godiva?!

Give Up This:  Easy Convenience Snack Bags
Get This:  Uniquely Packaged Homemade Snacks
I am always tempted to buy the individual snack bags for quick and easy snacking on the go for my kids, but most of the time, those little packets don't contain healthy foods.  So, I bought some decorative and appealing small serving dishes from my local dollar store.  To make the snack unique and appealing to my kids, I fill it with carrot sticks and other veggies, cheese and whole grain crackers.  This option is healthier for both the kids and the earth because we aren't left with the empty bags to throw away. 

Give Up This:  Sodas & Sugary Juices
Get This:  Honest Kids Juice Boxes & Coconut Water 
For the kids, I recently discovered a juice box that I like at a friend's pool party.  Honest Kids juice pouches are organic, have no high fructose corn syrup and only about half the sugar of most kids' drinks. 

Gone are the days when I quenched my thirst with a variety of sugary options. With a slowed metabolism in my 40's, I pretty much stick to green tea, water, skim milk, coffee and an occasional glass of wine. I finally tried the coconut water that Dr. Ramsey has recommended on our show.  Pomegranate Café and grocery stores sell the pure young coconuts that you pop a straw into to suck out the healthy juices.  Dr. Ramsey calls coconut water nature's water and touts numerous health benefits for both adults and kids.  So crack a coconut and take a sip for good health!

Give Up This:  Sugary Popsicles & Other Fattening Frozen Treats
Get This:   Fruit Pearls, So Delicious Agave Mini Fruit Bars & Power Of Fruit Bars
For you frozen treats fans, I found Fruit Pearls Chocolate & Strawberry frozen snack cups, So Delicious Agave Sweetened Minis Fruit Bars and Power of Fruit All-Fruit push up bars.  All are good and the push up bars are trans fat and gluten free and are made with a variety of fruits and water and nothing else.  That means that your kids get a popsicle without the added sugar, dyes and high-fructose corn syrup.  I found these cool snacks at Sprouts Farmers Market.

As I was writing this, I decided to ask a personal trainer what she thinks makes the perfect snack bag for a busy Mama.  LEAN Wellness trainer Stacie from Mesa tells me to bite right with a snack bag containing berries for antioxidants, a hardboiled egg for protein and tree nuts such as walnuts for healthy carbs that give us energy. 

In addition to the stuff listed above, I also found tasty gluten-free, non-dairy oatmeal chocolate chip cookies by Glennys that I adore!  I also love to ask other Moms what they create for their children and I often get some fun ideas that I hadn't thought of.  So, if you have some snazzy snack suggestions, let me know.  And I wish you a happy and healthy summer filled with satisfying snacks and good times.