Kid Friendly Foods for Summertime Snacking
By Wendy Munroe
Summer brings so many wonderful succulent delights that our kids thrive on the moment when the heat of the day has worn them out and they can take a simple yet rewarding snack break. The most gratifying snacks of course are those that little hands have harvested, fighting through nettles to obtain the plump, lovable blueberries or raspberries before the songbirds swoosh in and devour them.
Throughout July and August we are spoiled with an amazing selection of fruits and vegetables. We engage in our gardens, farm to table boxes and farmers markets all overflowing with variety upon variety, robust with nutrients and exciting new sensations. We see examples of this in the lovely stone fruits: plums, peaches, apricots, nectarines, and the combined versions like pluots and apriums. We delight in all of their amazing possibilities, as there is never a drought for healthy food choices.
Here are a few of my personal favorites for kid-friendly eating this summer—All simple, convenient, healthy, organic, and above all scrumptious!
Watermelon tops the list as you can scoop, wedge, slurp and —a fun after-eating activity that my boys enjoy the most—carve out a manor for their toy figures to play in!
Watermelons have hit a more savory twist recently with recipes combining Feta, olives, mint, and red onions, or frozen in granitas, pureed into soups, and juiced with spirits. It is a fruit of great hydration, high in vitamin A and vitamin C, perfect for growing bodies. We love the recipe on familyfun.go.com, as they even give a glow in the dark version for your watermelon manor.
Who can live without raspberries and blueberries, rich in potassium, calcium, vitamins A and C? They need very little to showcase; we splurge with a little vanilla crème fraiche or a luxurious pairing with chocolate in any form. The most straightforward interpretation we love comes from Nigel Slater’s RIPE, A cook in the orchard. In this “quick raspberry tart” he uses puff pastry, heavy crème and fresh raspberries. We like to intermix blueberries into our version and watch it delight us for breakfast, a late afternoon snack or dessert.
As always Kale chips rank high at any time of the year. We recommend the most simple foolproof version: Lacinato kale, olive oil, and sea salt. We de-vein the kale ribs and keep the pieces large as they shrink quite a bit. Lacinato kale or Dinosaur Kale remains lovely in its color and has the most flavors. We mix one bunch of kale with 1-2 teaspoons of olive oil, sprinkle salt and place on baking sheet in the oven at 250 degrees for 25 minutes. Lacinato kale chips remain in the bowl for maybe five minutes, as they are eaten so fast we can never have enough on hand. They are very high in calcium, fiber, iron, manganese and Vitamin A and C.
Hands On Eating
Good Fish, the amazing sustainable seafood cookbook from Becky Selengut is the catalyst for the next fun food. In her Dungeness crab section she offers up a recipe for newspaper crab with three sauces, soy caramel, avocado herb and lemon panko sauce. All three are extraordinary in flavor and fantastically easy to make. Kids love having choices when it comes to dipping, and anytime you get to spread newspaper out and get your hands involved in eating it becomes invigorating (btw, Becky is so right… we all fight to shamelessly lick the soy caramel bowl)! We love to put our own twist on the meal, my son enjoys skewering peppers of all colors with chard into his dipping mix, and we love adding fresh corn on the cob to the paper. After we have all eaten we roll it up and put it in the compost and off we go to the rest of our day or evening. It is a wonderful picnic opportunity all summer long, as well as an indoor delight when the weather turns.