Summer is here and in many parts of the country, it’s hot, hot, hot. Many of us head to the pool, the beach, or the lake to cool off. It’s easy to grab pre-packaged snacks and fill up on chips, cookies, and carbohydrates, but that’s not going to keep you energized and will only lead to a bad case of the “hangries.” Instead, when you’re packing up for a day of fun, try these healthy summer snacks instead:
- Smoothies – If you’re bringing a cooler to keep things cold, think about whipping up a healthy smoothie at home instead of visiting the ice cream bar. Toss it in your cooler in a thermos and you’re good to go. You can throw in just about any fruit and veggie combo you can think of. Add some low-fat Greek yogurt for protein and it will keep you cool and give you a healthy boost of energy.
- Dried Fruit and Nuts – This can be an easy, healthy snack to pack at home and buying in bulk can save you money. Choose a variety of dried fruits including cherries, cranberries, blueberries, raisins, pineapple and more. When it comes to nuts, you’ll want to look for the “raw” variety as they contain less oil and salt. Almonds are a great choice, as are cashews. Pack small bags, so you don’t over-indulge in this delicious snack!
- Fruit Salad – A nice, refreshing fruit salad is a delicious, healthy snack. Keep a variety of fruit on hand at home and cut up your salad before heading out. Be sure to include dark red berries for their high antioxidant content and heart-healthy resveratrol. No time for fruit salad? Grab an apple or banana and toss them in your bag – it’s better than a bag of chips!
- Pita and Hummus – Chips are often a summer picnic essential, but there are healthier options. Try pita chips – they come in a variety of delicious flavors now. Hummus is also readily available in individual servings, making it even easier to grab this snack and go. Plus, a study published in the Journal of Nutrition and Food Sciences found that people who snack on hummus have a 53 percent less chance of being obese and are 51 percent less likely to have high blood sugar than those who don’t eat hummus.
- Cut Up Veggies – Similarly to fruit salad, keep a variety of veggies on hand and before leaving for the pool, cut them up and create individual servings of mixed veggies. During the summer, you can find fresh produce at your local farmer’s market and they are so delicious! Try colorful peppers, carrots, cucumbers and cherry tomatoes.
- Pasta Salad – Want to give your veggies a little more bulk and fill you up? Dice them up and add them to a small bowl of cooked, rinsed and cooled pasta. Toss on a light vinaigrette and you’ve got a refreshing snack that will definitely ward off hunger. Remember not to overcook the pasta so it doesn’t get mushy and look for spiral or wagon wheel shapes. If you want a bit of protein, you can add some chickpeas or diced hard cheese as well.