Healthy Recipes to Help Beat the Summer Heat

pesto pasta

Summertime is for outdoor fun, relaxation and play—not so much for running the oven and laboring in the kitchen! It's also the best time of year to get fresh fruits and vegetables from your local farmer's market, grocery store or even your own back yard. 

For this reason, we've gathered a number of recipes to help keep you and your kids energized and cool throughout the day with easy-prep (zero to limited stove-top/oven use) snacks and meals that capitalize on nutrients from fresh fruit and veggie sources. 

Pudding (For Breakfast?—Yes, Please!)

When contemplating "healthy" recipes, the word "pudding" isn't likely to come to mind, but in this Lemon Raspberry Chia Pudding recipe by Super Healthy Kids, it's all about achieving the texture of this commonly-sweet treat without all of the added sugars. If you've never tried cooking with Chia Seeds (a great source of fiber), this is the perfect recipe to get you and your kids hooked! The tiny seeds become thick and jelly-like while sitting in the coconut milk overnight, and the Greek yogurt adds the protein your kids will need to stay energized throughout the day. 

The best thing about it is that it will save you tons of time in the morning. Mix and prep the day before, let it sit in the fridge overnight and you and your kids will have a fiber-rich, vitamin-packed treat ready to help you get your summer day started off right!  

Cute Fruit and Veggie Platters

Sometimes the summer heat alone can wipe out an appetite, and this can make it extra challenging to get a busy, picky or resistant young eater to take in their nutrients and fuel up for the day. Preparing a fun food platter that mixes a bit of creativity and play with simple, straight-forward ingredients (apples, grapes, carrots, cucumbers) is a lighthearted way to counteract a food-strike and support a healthy summer diet! 

Cute animals, plants and other animated figures are a few of the many creative ways you can cut and display these hard-to-resist platters. Click here or here for some of our favorite fruit arrangements, and here for some kid-friendly veggies and dip! 

Chilled (and Protein-Packed) Salad

For a little bit more substance without the richness of a full hot meal classic like pizza or hamburgers, this Chickpea Salad recipe is sure to keep your family full and happy while on the go in these hot summer months. Chickpeas are a great source of protein and require minimal prep since you can buy them in a can—simply drain, mix and chill to serve.

Some variation to the original recipe may be required (as you know your child's preferences best when it comes to ingredients like onions and tomatoes), but these adjustments are easy to accommodate when it comes to preparing this healthy single-dish summer meal. For example, we love avocado in our household, and the texture and flavor was an approved addition to the mix!

Popsicles—a POPular Classic

There's really nothing better than a fresh, fruit-filled popsicle on a summer afternoon. Once you have a set of popsicle molds, your family's "summer mode" can extend year-round as you try the endless variations of popsicle recipes out there (and surely a few mixes of your own!). 

Check out eight of our favorite DIY popsicle recipes for summer here at ACTIVE Kids! We also love these strawberry-coconut popsicles that use coconut milk for the cream base. You and your kids will have fun preparing, as well as eating, these sweet-tooth satisfying (and still nutritious) summer treats!

Pesto Pasta Salad

While frozen fruit treats have lots of appeal, we know we have some work to do when it comes to working in more veggies and substance come dinner time. Keeping in theme with the hot summer days, we found this acclaimed kid-pick for a veggie-filled pesto pasta here

This recipe can conveniently be served warm or chilled, and it's both nutritious and flavor-packed! With cauliflower, pasta and walnuts you'll be adding fiber and protein to your family's diet, and since many of the ingredients are blended into the pesto, it's a stress-free way to sneak some especially nutritious ingredients past picky eaters. When it comes to this easy-prep meal, make plenty, because it's the perfect recipe to refrigerate and return to for leftovers the following day.  

Frozen Banana Yogurt Pops

Finally, wrapping up a warm summer day with a little treat doesn't have to eat into your afternoon popsicle supply—the recipe we found here is simple, straightforward and delicious! It's made with three modest ingredients (two if you'd prefer!): bananas, yogurt and sprinkles (optional).

We love that you don't have to have popsicle molds to make them, and we think they're the perfect healthy snack to settle into a warm summer evening and relax as a family. Using yogurt gets rid of unnecessary added sugars, and if you substitute the sprinkles for nuts of some kind, you'll even get a bit of added protein to round out this kid-approved snack.

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