(BPT) – With family vacations, summer camps and road trips in full swing, it is time to organize shopping lists for snacks that will keep kids happy and healthy. With refrigeration not always available, you can still find nutritious snacks that will hold up in car rides and backpacks, says mom of two Marina Chaparro, a Miami-based registered dietitian and founder of Nutrichicos, specializing in children’s nutrition.
“Finding snacks that don’t need to be refrigerated can often be challenging during summer camps or family vacations. With a bit of creativity and planning, you can provide nourishing ready-to-eat snacks for kids,” says Chaparro. “But a lack of refrigeration does not mean you need to buy chips and cookies; you can still find nutritious and easy-to-carry snacks that don’t need to be refrigerated.”
Chaparro offers these tips to pack nutritious portable snacks that you do not need to keep cold:
GoGo squeeZ Pouches
“You’ll want to stock up on these shelf-stable, portable pouches that make it easy for kids to eat fruits and vegetables that won’t turn mushy in the sun or require a spoon,” says Chaparro.
Chaparro says she is especially excited about two new GoGo squeeZ products that provide unique benefits for young kids. Happy ImmuneZ contains zinc and vitamin B12 to support a child’s immune system, which is definitely something on parents’ minds as kids head off to camp and other group activities. Happy ImmuneZ also contains prebiotic fiber to help nourish the good bacteria in a child’s gut, which houses 70% of the body’s immune system.
Their other new product is Happy BrainZ that contains brain-supporting nutrients like iron and omega-3s, along with prebiotic fiber and vitamin C.
“I’m excited about these new products because they hit all the key nutrition points I emphasize as a pediatric dietitian and mom: iron, zinc, omega 3, B12, and prebiotic fiber,” Chaparro says. “Best of all, they are convenient and taste good!”
Peanut, almond, and other nut butters are ideal for shelf-stable, on-the-go snacks. Sunbutter, made from sunflower seeds, is a good option if your child needs to be nut-free due to allergies. These creamy protein-packed spreads are good as dips for whole-grain crackers, celery, or fruit, such as apple slices or bananas. “One of my favorite recipes that uses nut butters as a base is the easy-to-make Chocolate Chip Energy Bites (recipe below) — a great hearty, and nutritious snack that you can make with your kids,” Chaparro says.
“My rule for creating balanced and hearty snacks is FFP, or fat, fiber and protein,” says Chaparro. “This is an easy guide to remember for larger snacks, when your kid is hungrier or when there will be long stretches of time before a meal. Nut butters provide fat and protein, and you’ll be adding fiber with whole grains or fruits and vegetables.”
Chocolate Chip Energy Bites
1 cup old fashioned oats
1 tablespoon chia seeds
1 tablespoon ground flax seeds
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup chocolate almond butter
2 tablespoons honey
1/4 cup chopped pecans
1/4 cup chopped pistachios
- Place in a bowl the oats, chia seeds, ground flax seeds, and chocolate chips.
- Add the peanut butter, almond butter, and the honey.
- Cut up the pecans and the pistachios and add them to the bowl.
- Mix all the ingredients until everything is combined nicely and firm.
- Take a bowl with some water to wet your hands a little bit so you don’t get too sticky and begin forming small balls.
- Place balls in a baking tray or a cooking dish with parchment paper and take them to the freezer (or the refrigerator if you like a softer texture).
- Wait for approximately 2 hours and enjoy!
Package up different combinations of ingredients in reusable bags for on-the-go snacking, such as whole-grain cereal and dried fruit, raisins and peanuts or cashews, and a single-serve hummus container with baby carrots or whole-grain pita chips.
Chaparro also suggests buying cartons of single-serve, shelf-stable milk to combine with high-fiber, lower-sugar granola bars or even making your own trail mixes for road-trip friendly snacks.
For more information about the GoGo squeeZ line of snacks including the new products, visit www.gogosqueez.com.