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During the summer my kids tend to snack a lot. I don't know if it's boredom or a summer growth spurt, but them seem to want to eat non-stop. So, keeping healthy snacks and food in the house is my main goal for the summer.
I try to keep fresh fruit and vegetables available as much as possible. My favorite places to get produce are from HEB or the local farmer’s market. I also try to make food fun, especially when serving vegetables and feeding a toddler.
My boys ate all kinds of vegetables when they were in the first stage of eating, but as they got older their love for vegetables went down the drain. Honestly, if it's not potatoes cooked in some sort of oil they won't eat it. So, sneaking vegetables in their food has become the best way to get them to eat the nutrients they need. My boys love Mac and cheese and spaghetti, so that is where I tend to sneak some veggies in. My favorite vegetable to sneak into their meals is butternut squash. This squash is an excellent source of Vitamin A, vital for healthy skin and eyes. It is also a good source of Vitamin C and fiber too, making it a great food to include in your family’s diet.
How to cook and serve Butternut Squash:
Cut the squash in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds. Place the squash with flesh side up. Bake at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for about 30 minutes or until soft. Once the squash is cooked, spoon out the flesh into a food processor. Add either your spaghetti sauce or ingredients for the cheese sauce and blitz until it reaches the sauce consistency of your preference.
Fruit, on the other hand is a winner at our household. I can buy any fruit and it will be gone within days. I don't always have time to go back to the store to purchase more fruit during the week, so I found some creative ways to make it last longer.
I invested in a good blender and juicer when I first became a mom and it has been my best friend. Strawberries and grapes make a great frozen snack. I wash them in vinegar water before bagging them up in Ziploc freezer bags.
Fruit salads are also a great way to make your fruit supply last, and they are simple to make. Gather the fruit of your preference, cut it up and add into a bowl and mix. Serve into a cup and drizzle with honey.
Fruit smoothies and homemade juices are a great refreshing drink and you can even sneak in some veggies. We are big watermelon eaters and eat it in so many ways and even drink it! Our favorite is watermelon agua fresca which is simple to make.
How to make Aqua Fresca:
All you need is chopped watermelon, water, lime juice, sweetener of your choice (optional), and ice cubes. Blend 6 cups of watermelon with juice of 1 1/2 lime and 3/4 cups water. Only add sweetener if the drink does not taste naturally sweet. Serve with ice cubes and enjoy. You can even get double use of this drink recipe by freezing the drink in individual cups and making popsicles for the kids to enjoy on hot summer days!
Gabriela is wife to husband, Aaron, and mom to four boys! She is a full-time mom, works as a substitute teacher, and owns her own cleaning business. She runs the Facebook group, I Only Make Boys, where she enjoys chronicling her boys' crazy adventures and sharing wisdom with other boymoms.