Guest Blog By: Married to Health @marriedtohealth
Summer is a magical time when the weather is great, time seems endless, and possibilities during trips are beyond imagination. A favorite way for our Married to Health family to spend time together is during road trips, near or far. No matter how you reach your destination or how long it takes, hunger is bound to strike. Taking a bit of time beforehand to plan snacks may seem tedious, but having to stop and load up on whatever is available puts you and the kids at risk of being hopped up on sugar in a confined space, eating artificial ingredients and eating zero nutrition. These reasons make every second spent planning ahead worthwhile! We try to keep snacks simple, healthy, added sugar-free, and without refined grains. Our two year old is a major snacker who wanted to share some of her favorites with you all!
1. Homemade Mini Muffins We love making this batter together in our house and it can be made in large batches and refrigerated to use throughout the week. We appreciate its versatility to make into different gluten-free treats and ability to take shape as cookies, pancakes, or cakes as well. It is sweetened simply with applesauce, bananas, and dates and packed with fiber, Vitamin C, Calcium, Silica, and Potassium so your littles are having a treat and you rest easy knowing it’s great for them! Here’s our fast, simple process if you’d like to try them too. Recipe: http://goo.gl/23jDpZ.
2. Omega-3 Rainbow Trail Mix Many store-bought trail mixes contain chocolate, questionable yogurt balls, peanut butter cups, butterscotch chips, and other candies that contain tons of sugar. Instead, we make our own trail mix high in protein, fiber, and omega-3s without salt or added sugar. Combine a variety of nuts and unsweetened dried fruit to create a personalized trail mix- our favorites to include are: unsalted cashews, almonds, and pumpkin seeds (which can be purchased in bulk for best prices), raisins, dried coconut, and dried fruits- bananas, strawberries, or pineapples. Sprinkle in some hemp or chia seeds and enjoy the variety! If a family member has allergies, you can absolutely make them without the nuts your family is allergic to and still get various textures, nutrients and flavors into your snack.
3. Roasted Bean Mix Who doesn’t love some crunch in their lives? We love roasted beans as a snack because they bring protein, fiber, and that bit of crunch without the processed grains, sugar, and preservatives that are found in many chips and crackers. Roasted beans are especially great if you have a nut free household and you still want to offer crunchy, healthy foods. They are something you can make at home by putting soaked beans on a baking sheet, drizzling with oil and salt, place it in the oven, then roast on 400 for 35-45 minutes, depending on the size of your bean. If you don’t have time to make them from scratch, buying some from the store are also great. There are a variety of brands and beans that are being roasted for your snacking pleasure! Mix, match and enjoy!
4. Smoothies We are definitely a smoothie-loving house! When we aren’t enjoying our cold-pressed, refreshing, and superfood packed Once Upon a Farm pouches (yes, we love them too!), we enjoy putting together eclectic smoothies. Our favorite bases are: bananas, pineapple, and/or orange. We enjoy pairing our bases with: blueberries, avocado, strawberries, spinach, mango, lettuce, kiwi, or any other fruits and vegetables in season. We know most families are low on time, so buying these fruits and vegetables already frozen is a great way to save some and keep your drink cold. Have your littles add the fruits and veggies, then help you push the buttons to blend with unsweetened vanilla almond, cashew, coconut, or hemp milk. Pour into your favorite BPA-free kids cup and cheers your sous-chef to enjoy your whole foods snack together! (Recipe Options: http://goo.gl/Lgm5lM)
*Pro tip: use applesauce and dates to add sweetness and Vitamin A without any refined sugars.
5. Veggies for the Win! Raw or roasted, veggies are a great option for all! You can find us packing: carrots, celery, broccoli, jicama, edamame, snap peas, and any others that spike our interest at the store or Farmer’s Market. Plain or sprinkled with some salt, chili powder (if your kids enjoy spice), and lemon juice; Any way you and your littles will take them, pack them! Kids who aren’t regularly exposed to vegetables (every meal if possible) are much more likely to be picky and reject them. They don’t have to eat them, but ensuring that you’re offering them at every opportunity will greatly increase chances that they will without coaxing, bribing, or forcing them in the future. Cut them into pretty, fun shapes such as hearts, squares, triangles, and stars to encourage kids to be even more excited about them. Those tiny growing, ever-wiggling bodies and brains need those nutrients the most!
Today there are countless snack options marketed to kids and families. A very small percentage of these snacks actually give the body the nutrition it needs. Leaving out the refined grains, added sugar, artificial colors, and questionable preservatives at a young age (or any age) is the preventative medicine everyone is looking for. We go on road trips to connect, heal from stress, have fun, and most importantly make memories with our family and friends. Get back to the basics, let your love for your family shine through the healthy foods you provide them, and get kids in the kitchen to get them excited about eating healthy offerings so you don’t sweat the rest.
Want more easy and real life health tips? Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, and Youtube @MarriedtoHealth for some daily healthy inspo! We wish you happy, healthy travels, and a fantastic Summer.
Love Yourself, Love Health!
James, Dahlia, and Leila <3