It’s 98 degrees outside and Nick Lachey is no where in sight. Sorry ~ I’m showing my age (must be the heat). Right now, we’re in a heat wave which means I am knee deep in finding fun ways to keep us cool. One of my favorites? No-cook healthy “Sneals” which are healthy snack/ meal combos (and way better than the other “smush” name I came up with; “sinners”). Here’s the scoop:
Meet Jrb, age 7. This summer, he is spending his days running around summer camp, which means he’s outside all day playing games, swimming, doing some art n’ crafts, etc. The problem? By the time he gets home from camp he is famished and begging me for a “big snack,” which is fine except for the fact that a big snack = no appetite for dinner. So the culinary experts at “Mommy on a Shoestring Kitchens” (ie: me) have created the sneal which combines the recommended food groups needed keep JRB healthy, strong, productive and well nourished into one “no-cook” meal. I keep the portions small and give him a lot of variety which adds color, interest and for some reason helps him slow down his eating. Usually the sneal takes the place of snack and dinner and gives us more time to play games, take walks and do our favorite past-time (walk to the Dairy Bar for ice cream).
The other good thing about keeping portions small is I can usually sneak in new food items for JRB to try ~ such as this homemade honey mustard yogurt dip for the carrots. (Recipe from food.com). Also if JRB is still hungry I can add more healthy options such cold grilled chicken (I make it after he goes to sleep and keep it in the fridge), apple and cheese slices, or yogurt topped with almonds.
Of course a “Sneal” doesn’t have to be JUST for kids. During the summer my girlfriends and I love to go on picnics with the kiddos and enjoy no-cook picnic fare such as veggie crudite and ranch dressing, quinoa salad, mixed fruit and Rosemary Cracker Cheese Bites. (Recipe from GoodlifeEats)
And then there are times (especially on the weekends) when I have dinner planned which means we start with an appetizer such as our family favorite… Cheese & Checkers.
Rules of the game are similar to traditional checkers except every time you capture a piece you can eat it. To “king” a piece , place another cracker on top of the cheese. (FYI: For this game I used Pop Chips, Cheddar and Monterey Jack Cheese). Another fun edible game we like to play is Carrot Stick Jenga ~ which is just like Jenga except you use carrot sticks instead of blocks. Just be sure to keep a cup of Ranch or Thousand Island Dressing (recipe from Alton Brown / Good Eats) on the side so players can dip the pieces as they drop!
Finally, I wanted to give you a HEADS UP about TWO exciting events coming up:
1. July is National Ice Cream Month and July 21 is National Ice Cream Day which means you have no excuse but to go out and enjoy some delicious ice cream! Interested in making your own? Check out this Cocoa Nutty Monkey Ice Cream recipe from National Dairy Council.
2. National Farmers Market Week is August 4th — August 10th. It’s a great time to support your local farmers and enjoy fresh, locally grown produce. It’s also (putting on my Kindergarten teacher hat) a great time to teach kids about math, money and more. Check out my article from Make it Better Magazine where I talk about Farmer’s Market Math. Also stay tuned as we are putting together a fun Farmer’s Market Scavenger Hunt to enjoy with your kids. Shoestrings and Healthy Fun, Beth
Disclosure: This post was sponsored by the National Dairy Council, which I am happy to do as I love dairy. All opinions are my own.