Smart snacking for summer

I‘m the first to admit I’m a champion snacker, and now that I’m nursing a fast-growing Clara, I rely even more on a nutritious bite between meals to keep my energy up during the day.

Our snacking changes from winter to summer, moving away from nut butters, granola bars, and the ever-present carrot sticks, to a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, and their derivatives.

I find that summer eating can be often carb-heavy – pancakes for breakfast, sandwiches for lunch, and burgers on buns for dinner – so we try to avoid other bread-types at snack time like muffins and crackers. Besides, who wants to have the oven on for baking on a hot day? Not me.

Summer Snacking Pledge

Katie Goodman recently wrote an excellent post detailing some tips to help expand the picky eater’s palate. When she mentioned that her family has a ‘fruits & vegetables only’ snacking policy, something resonated with me and I knew that was where we were headed for summer.

All too often summer snacks can be junk, with potato chips and sugary popsicles at the center of it all. Why not highlight seasonal produce such as crisp sugar snap peas and sweet cherries instead?

As of today, June 1, we are starting our summer snacking: fruits and vegetables only. Won’t you join us?

Photo by Shaina

Smart Snacking: Vegetables & Fruit

With the summer markets exhibiting new produce, now is the time to choose fruits and vegetables for snacks. Apple slices and celery sticks get boring fast and so why not mix things up a little bit with some of the recipes below.

Vegetables:

Radishes with Herb Butter – A simple snack, but quite perfect. If you’ve pulled the radishes from your own garden, then you really are set.

Pickled Green Beans – Pickles don’t have to be cucumber-based! I think you’ll find these pickled green beans rather addicting.

Garlic-roasted Edamame – I enjoy edamame as much as the other person, but roast it with plenty of garlic like the Wishful Chef and I’ll have it for snack every day.

These Greek Salad Skewers are mostly all vegetables, combining cucumber, olives, tomato and feta cheese for a pop of flavor. Switch out the feta for sweet red bell peppers if you really wish to stick to vegetables.

Slow-Roasted Cherry Tomatoes – They’re not just for adding to pasta! They make an addictive little snack, especially when paired with a bowl of fresh ricotta.

Dips & Spreads:

Instead of loading up on tortilla chips and crackers, try these dips and spreads on thinly sliced cucumber and radishes, or serve with celery sticks, endive wedges, and baby carrots. Red and green bell peppers also work well for dipping, as do sugar snap peas and asparagus spears like this Spring Crudité & Buttermilk-Pepper Dip.

Pea-camole – Don’t judge it until you’ve tried it: green peas blended into traditional guacamole.

Sweet Potato Hummus – The Novice Chef makes a sweet, spicy and colorful hummus by adding sweet potato to her chickpea blend.

Roasted Red Pepper Dip – Serve with endive leaves, asparagus spears,and any other crudite vegetables. Roasting your own red peppers (as opposed to the canned variety) will make this dip doubly better. Promise.

Michel’s Healthier Guacamole – You’d never guess that zucchini is the star of this rich and tangy guac.

Baba Ganouch – Smokey roasted eggplant shines in this creamy dip by David Lebovitz.

Photo by Naomi

Fruits:

A perfectly ripe peach or a fresh plucked apple is my favorite summer snack. Fortunately, the  best fruit of summer hardly require any preparation. A quick wash of plums, nectarines, cherries, grapes, peaches, and berries of all kinds is all it takes to enjoy them.

Feast on wedges of sweet melon with a squeeze of lime juice and a sprinkling of salt, or top with chopped mint, as Maria has done with this Melon Salad with Mint, Lime, & Sea Salt.

My boys could snack on wedges of watermelon all summer long, but for a change, I’ll surprise them with something cool, refreshing and still full of fruit:

 

I just want to add: it’s not as if we’re never going to eat any more Honey-Oat Cookies with Chocolate Coated Sunflower Seeds or Hemp Cocoa Bites for the rest of the summer, but we will try to tack them onto the ends of meals instead of a mid-afternoon snack.

What is your favorite summer snack featuring vegetables or fruits?

About Aimee

Cooking has always been Aimée's preferred recreational activity, creative outlet, and source of relaxation. After nearly ten years in the professional cooking industry, she went from restaurant to RSS by trading her tongs and clogs for cookie cutters and a laptop, serving as editor here at Simple Bites.

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Comments

  1. You’re so good… a little too good. ;-) I’m not sure I can last the whole summer, but I certainly want to make an effort to eat better (especially snacks). Oh, and I need to go to the gym. :-)
    Brian @ A Thought For Food’s last post: Rhubarb and Strawberry Limeade

  2. Great idea,but the only way to make michels guacamole healthier would be to use the zucchinis to dip with. I agree if you just need to extend the dip to make more, but calling it it healthier is a misnomer. The zukes are going to increase the Carb content reducing the amount to great fat your getting.

  3. My favorite healthy summer snacks (as opposed to those numerous snacks that I love that are unhealthy) are fresh broccoli and taut red grapes! :)

  4. Throughout the year, we have a “fruit first” rule about snacking. We always have a piece of fruit (in winter sometimes some of my home-preserved fruit) before we have any other snack. I love these extra ideas to make the snacks tastier by mixing it up. Thanks for sharing.
    Jen@anothergranolamom’s last post: Mom School for the Summer

  5. Love the inspiration here! Thank you for all the links and ideas. Great timing :-)
    Steph (The Cheapskate Cook)’s last post: Healthified Sweets: Strawberry Summer Cake

  6. And I’m totally pinning this!
    Steph (The Cheapskate Cook)’s last post: Healthified Sweets: Strawberry Summer Cake

  7. I’m with ya, Aimee. What a great eating pattern for summer with such a bounty of fruits and vegetables. We keep our family snackin’ on veggies and fruit year round by keeping them handy: a fruit bowl that little hands can reach and a shelf in the fridge at their eye level with ready to eat veggies.
    Robin from Frugal Family Times’s last post: Recipe: Flatbread on the BBQ

  8. Love the theme here, Amy. We grow alot of our fruits and vegetables so summer is a terrific progression from strawberries to raspberries to blueberries to blackberries and back to fall raspberries with plums, peaches, grapes, peas, beans, tomatoes mixed up in there. It’s really something to wander in order to snack. I’m looking forward to trying some of the frozen fruity treats! And like Robin, I made big progress when I repositioned snacks (including crackers) on lower shelves where the kids could help themselves rather than always asking me.
    Sarah @ Fit Family Together’s last post: Listening Activity For Children: How To Bring Quiet To Your Household With Sounds

  9. Carrie Kelleher says:

    Thanks for this post! Some great ideas for healthy snacking for the summer! I can’t wait to try the pickled green beans. My daughter loves pickles so I think she’ll love these!

  10. Jessica says:

    We just started this a couple of weeks ago! So far, so good. Perfect timing for this article…we were just starting to fall into a very boring snack rut. This will add some variety.

  11. Frozen grapes is one of our favorite summertime snacks. They are like a treat all icy and crisp. Best of all: no prep for me! I just buy them, wash them, dry them and throw them in the freezer!
    Kelly @ Love Well’s last post: Mail Call

  12. Definitely definitely watermelon with a sprinkle of salt on top!
    Stephanie’s last post: Shuseki

  13. Wonderful list, Aimee! My garden is just starting to put out more vegetables than I can serve with dinner, so I’m grateful for this list of ways to turn them into healthy snacks. And that radishes with herb butter? Yum! Radishes on buttered pumpernickel bread is one of my all-time favorite sandwiches, but your way is low carb, too. Thanks!
    Katie B. of HousewifeHowTos.com’s last post: Recipe: Broccoli and Cauliflower Salad

  14. I’m kind of weird in that I only give my 2yo healthy food haha. So all he eats are fruits and veggies for snacks, and also bread. I’m in no rush to introduce junk food yet, so I love the idea of encouraging parents to eat healthy snacks!

    We love homemade smoothies and I really like the idea of popsicles—I think my kid will really dig that, thanks!
    Sleeping Should Be Easy’s last post: Stop comparing your kid to others

  15. I’ve been making raw kefir smoothies every day, I’m making frozen yogurts with little to no sugar and in general fruit is easy to get into us. The vegetables though… that’s tricky! I have garlic scapes that I bet will pickle pretty good, everyone loves pickles.
    cat @ neohomesteading.com’s last post: { Sensational & Seasonal } Garlic Scape and Crispy Almond Pesto

  16. Yes, as someone mentioned, my kids love smoothies… banana-cashew has been one of the latest tries (to sneak more protein in) and it was goooood.

    And my boring pick lately that seems to satisfy is simply cucumbers, sliced and lightly salted. (yummy with cottage cheese)
    Kerry @ Made For ReAl’s last post: From the mouths of babes…

  17. I keep seeing pictures of the perfectly made popsicles on pinterest and now in this article. Where does one get such a great popsicle mold ? Our favorite summer snack is watermelon slush, made from watermelon with a hand full of strawberries and a splash of lemonade concentrate and a dab of honey all whirled up in the blender.
    Victoria@snailpacetransformations’s last post: Weekly Fitness and Life Goals: June 4 to June 10

  18. Love this and all the other ideas people are listing. We certainly get in a “\snack rut and need the inspiration to mix it up. I rely way too much on crackers and trail mix for snacks, so I’m going to print this list to have on hand!
    Alissa’s last post: Around Town

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