Summer snacking is so important for adolescents. Days are longer, they’re busier, and they often don’t want to take the time for long meals. Snacks are always an important focus for providing nutrition and nourishment for adolescents, but there are some specific considerations to focus on during the summer.
Summer Snack Considerations
Increased growth affects appetite
With improved sleep, lower stress, and more time outside, many adolescents experience increased growth over the summer. This means their appetite will probably reflect that! (Interestingly, while many kids’ appetites increase during growth, some kids eat less during a period of growth, relying on their energy stores to fuel development.)
Summer schedules can impact meal times
Many adolescents wake up later in the summer, and will skip eating until lunch time or when they’re “feeling hungry”. Having a “snack” vs “breakfast” within 30 minutes of waking can help adolescents stay nourished and meet their nutritional needs over the day, without getting overly hungry later in the day.
Staying up later also means adolescents likely need to eat between dinner and bedtime. Pre-bed snacks often help improve sleep and help adolescents meet their daily nutritional needs.
Hydration needs increase in hot weather
It can be hard staying hydrated throughout the summer. It can be difficult remembering to drink, and often water just isn’t enough when it’s super hot and kids are really active. Choosing hydrating snacks can help with that. This includes foods like fruit and frozen snacks, but it also includes salty foods that can help retain that fluid.
Summer Snack Ideas
Summer snacks ideally include a combination of two to three food groups that provide fat, protein, or fiber, along with fluid and or salt.
The following is just a short list of ideas. Have your adolescents come up with some of their own ideas of combinations that feel nourishing and satisfying, as well as hydrating!
Cereal and milk (add frozen or fresh peaches, berries, or other fruit for added hydration!)
Fruit smoothie with yogurt or nut butter
Snack bar and berries
Frozen bananas & peanut butter dip
Crackers, tomatoes, & chocolate
Tuna salad, potato chips and cucumber slices
Muffin and melon chunks
Roasted chickpeas & chocolate milk
Ice cream with nuts and berries
String cheese and strawberries
Beef jerky and grapes