Top 10 Healthy Summer Foods for Children
Can kids eat healthfully, yet still enjoy their favorite summer foods?
3. Top Summer Food: Ice Cream
It's hard to resist ice cream. But premium ice creams have about 15 grams or
more fat per 1/2 cup serving.
- Sweet news here: Many well-known brands -- Dreyers/Edy's, Breyers, and
Haagen-Dazs -- are making super-creamy "light" and
"slow-churned" ice creams that cut lots of fat and calories. Read
labels carefully. Plain flavors like chocolate and vanilla have about 100
calories per half-cup, while other flavors are 120 to 130 calories -- even 250
calories per serving.
- Another option: "If kids get a Fudgsicle or Popsicle, they'll be
dodging lots of fat and sugar," Krieger says. In fact, Fudgsicles now come
in fat-free or low-fat, no sugar added versions. Popsicles are fat-free, even
sugar-free if you want. And both have built-in portion control, she adds.
- Make your own frozen fruit pops. Buy molds and sticks at a crafts store.
Pour in your favorite fruit juice (with fruit chunks, if you want), and freeze.
It's an easy yummy treat for a hot summer day.
4. Top Summer Food: Frozen Yogurt
Frozen yogurt sounds healthier than ice cream -- or maybe not. "You have
to read food labels to see," says Krieger. "Some have more sugar than
low-fat ice cream. Others are the equivalent of sherbet. It can be
With desserts, you don't want to go for empty calories -- and that's where
frozen yogurt fits in, says Bonnie Taub-Dix, MA, RD, a New York City dietitian
and also an ADA spokeswoman. "Go for foods that are valuable and taste good
at the same time."
- How about frozen yogurt pie? Crunch up graham crackers (or buy a graham
cracker pie shell), spoon frozen yogurt into it, top with fresh strawberries or
raspberries, then freeze.
- Fruit and yogurt parfait, topped with granola, is another easy dessert. Or,
spoon frozen yogurt between two low-fat cookies. You could also make a
smoothie, using fresh blueberries, grapes, and strawberries.
5. Top Summer Food: Waffles & Pancakes
This classic breakfast food is fun for kids. It's made easier with frozen,
whole grain, reduced-fat products. The toppings boost the nutrition: natural
applesauce, blueberries, sliced banana and strawberries, and a little light
syrup, Zied suggests.
- Another classic: Scrambled eggs mixed with low-fat shredded cheddar,
tomatoes, asparagus, mushrooms (or whatever veggies your kids like).
- Scrambled-eggs-in-a-cup: Take a slice of whole wheat bread, break it up
into a cup, top with the cooked egg mixture. You're good to go!
6. Top Summer Food: Marshmallows
What's cool about marshmallows? "Even kids with food allergies can eat
them," Krieger says. "Give one to a child who can't eat a chocolate
chip cookie and you're sure to get a smile."
- Four large marshmallows have 90 calories -- mostly sugar. To give 'em a
nutrition boost, try skewering marshmallows with strawberries and other fruit.
- Of course, toasted marshmallows and S'mores are American standards. If your
kids haven't discovered these classic treats, it's time! Just toast a
marshmallow over a grill or campfire, place it over a chunk of chocolate. Put
it between two graham crackers (a good source of whole grains).