How to Stock the Kitchen for Summer Theresa July 6, 2016 Cooking, Lifestyle 28 Comments With summer in full swing, parents will unrelentlessly hear about one super important topic: the never-ending quest to feed kids snacks. Even the most energetic mom or dad can find the demands of a kid home for summer to be stressful. You can stock the kitchen with delicious, easy to prepare foods to keep the kids happy. To determine the best methods for stocking the kitchen, I tried out a variety of food. Check out these four simple steps you can follow to fill your kitchen with food for the kids. How to Stock the Kitchen for Summer 1.) Buy savory snacks. Having savory snacks in your house ensures that you can feel a little better about your kids snacking frequently. I try to keep my kids away from constantly eating sweets. The more they eat savory food, the more likely they are to eat food that has nutritional content. Even if every snack food that is savory isn’t fresh and nutritious, kids can beat the sugar rush that comes with sweet foods by appreciating more savory flavors. My family and I tried out a popcorn called G.H. Cretors that comes in some of the wildest, most unique flavors, such as chile jalapeno white cheddar, dill pickle, and extra virgin olive oil. My daughter Georgiana loved how the savory popcorn tasted! Check out her reaction to eating dill pickle flavored popcorn for the first time. You know how honest kids are, and you can see on her face how much she loves the taste! She convinced me to try dill pickle popcorn, and I ended up really liking it. Crackers are another snack that is simple to keep in the kitchen. I love how easy it is for kids to go to the cupboard and take out a box by themselves. Kids can get a little messy with crackers, but it’s good to teach them how to hold a hand-held vacuum to clean up the mess independently. We tried out a large selection of crackers called Good Thins. These are crackers made with sweet potato, rice, and chickpea! I tried many different flavors, and I loved the taste. The sweet potato cracker had a light flavor and texture that seemed very summery. I really liked the veggie blend, which was hard to put down because it was so good. Although spinach and garlic sounded like the flavor that would be the hardest to get kids to eat, this was another flavor that Georgiana loved! The best part about these crackers was that they had good nutritional content. I felt good about having my kids snack on these because I knew it wasn’t just empty calories. Each cracker had iron and other valuable vitamins that growing kids need. You can fix crackers up in many different ways. Add cheese with slices meat or with sliced fruits. Two of my favorite combinations are peanut butter with maple syrup and almond butter with grapes. The toppings are better on the less flavored crackers, like the sweet potato crackers or the original flavor. I liked the taste of these crackers so much I ate them without additional toppings, and so did my kids. Chips and dip is another simple snack to keep in the house. I love hummus and baba ganoush, but kids might like something more familiar to them, like salsa. Chips and a mild salsa will keep kids happy. My daughters love getting salsa when they visit Mexican restaurants. Giving them some at home is a sure way to keep them happy! I tried out Naked Infusions Salsa. A neat fact about the salsa is that it is certified organic and non-GMO verified. Since the ingredients sounded healthy, I felt okay about snacking on it. One thing I really liked about the salsa was that it came in mini salsa containers. This made portion control simple. Another reason I liked the miniature containers was that if the rest of the family didn’t want to snack on salsa, I didn’t waste a whole jar by opening it just for me. Another savory snack idea is beef jerky. Some of the pros of eating beef jerky are that it is high in protein and low in carbs. Beef jerky also has the iron and zinc that your body needs. Although you should also get in a lot of fresh vegetables and fruits in your diet, some meat here and there can help you feel strong and energetic. I tried out a variety of People’s Choice beef jerky. I loved how easy it was to stash a few strips of the jerky in my kids’ lunch box as I rushed to get them to camp on time. The classic flavors were some of my favorite. My family loved the original and teriyaki flavors! There were many unique flavors too, like lemon, orange honey teriyaki, and garlic ginger. Some of the jerky had a saucier texture than others, and some was more dry. I really enjoyed trying out such a wide variety of flavors. I discovered new flavors that I loved. Savory snacks are a good way get your kids some vitamins and nutrients, even in between meals! These four snacks – popcorn, crackers, salsa, and beef jerky – are essentials to keep in the kitchen when the kids are home for summer. You should stock your kitchen with these snacks because kids can easily get the snacks out by themselves. Since there isn’t much preparation necessary, you can help your kids be more independent in the kitchen when they get their snacks. 2.) Buy sweet, healthy snacks. Sweet snacks can be another way to get nutrients in your kids’ diets. Not every sweet snack has health benefits, but some do! I tried out a high protein frozen yogurt called Pro Yo. These frozen protein popsicles were perfect for hot summer days. I loved pulling one out after a long work out when my body really needed some extra protein. When my older daughter Samantha went on runs with me, she looked forward to having one of these treats afterwards. There was a wide variety of flavors that included blueberry pomegranate, banana vanilla, dutch chocolate, and vanilla bean. I loved the simple vanilla bean flavor. Samantha’s favorite flavor was the dutch chocolate flavor. Eating these was a simple way to get calories in when I didn’t feel like spending time preparing a healthy, fresh treat. Pro Yo made it easy to get nutrients in with no meal prep time at all. Another sweet, classic snack is popcorn. While you can buy savory popcorn from G.H. Cretors, their sweet popcorn is delicious too! The Chicago mix is a delightful mixture of caramel corn and cheddar cheese popcorn, so you can get savory and sweet. My kids were so excited when I put caramel corn popcorn in their lunchbox as a snack when they went to camp for the day. There was an amazing blueberry lemon flavored popcorn that I couldn’t get enough of when I wanted a sweet snack. One of the most delightful treats in summer is a a freezer bar. For a classic taste, buy Otter Pops freezer bars. I like the variety of flavors because it keeps my kids happy. They love getting to choose a new flavor each time they have one. Plus, there’s real fruit juice in each freezer bar. With a sweet flavor and cool refreshing taste, these were perfect for a day after swim practice. Another type I tried was Nature’s Hand organic freezer bars. The best part about these freezer bars was that they seemed to be one of the healthiest varieties. There’s no artificial flavors or ingredients, and there’s no high fructose corn syrup. I love feeding my kids snacks that are healthy, even if it’s a sweet snack. This was the perfect selection for my family. I grew up with Italian Ice always in my freezer. Growing up, I ate Italian Ice in small cups that you can still find in stores today. Now, I tried out a new variety, Wyler’s Italian Ice. I thought it was really neat to see Italian Ice in a freezer bar. This made it much simpler to eat on the go. My kids loved how simple freezer bars were to eat outside. With other snacks, when you make a mess, a lot of ants come. Freezer bars usually don’t get messy, so there’s not much clean up to do. Samantha tried out a different variety of freezer bars each night. Here’s a picture of her grabbing an Italian Ice to eat on the back porch after swim practice. You can see how much she loved the flavor! Sweets don’t have to be empty calories. Buy sweets that offer nutritious value and are not made with artificial flavors. The healthy sweets you purchase, the more your kids will get used to eating healthy. Even though not every sweet snack I purchase is healthy, my kids appreciate any sweets I bring home. 3.) Purchase breads. To properly stock your kitchen, you need a wide variety of breads. The best thing about bread is that you can use it to make many different recipes. When I purchase extra bread, I freeze it and defrost it as needed. It’s great to keep extra bread in the house so you always have the basics you need to make a meal. I tried out BFree foods, which are wheat and gluten free. I was excited to have so many different types of breads, bagels, wraps, and rolls! This was the perfect variety to keep the kids from getting hungry during the summer. I kept out one of each product and put the rest in the freezer. With the wraps, I started making enchiladas a regular weekday meal. My kids ended up loving the taste. I liked making something that sounded complicated, but was incredibly easy to throw together with a reasonable amount of prep time. The rolls were great for leftover ham and cheese sandwiches. This took care of many lunches. Everyone in the family loves sandwiches, so these were a great choice for everyone. My kids eat peanut butter and jelly all the time. The four loaves of bread really came in handy! I was relieved that my kids liked both varieties, including the brown seeded loaf. After a week of PB&J sandwiches, we got more creative and came up with new recipes. My daughters loved nutella and strawberry sandwiches. I liked that they were getting some fruit in with their sandwich! Having a wide variety of breads in the house was very useful. 4.) Stock up on cooking essentials. When you’re cooking for hungry kids all summer, you should double check that you have cooking essentials in your house. You can’t have a great cooked meal without butter or oil. I tried out Melt, an organic buttery spread, which I easily found in my neighborhood grocery store. Using an organic product made me more comfortable when I put it on my kids’ food. This product was the perfect ingredient to put on top of pancakes and for corn on the cob. I used the butter on several occasions. I thought it was really neat that there was an organic probiotic buttery spread. This product tasted like regular butter, and it delivers important nutrients that your body needs, like Omega-3. With such a large amount of butter in the house, I feel ready to cook every day of the summer. No one in my house noticed a difference in taste, either! The buttery spread had the same texture and taste that real butter has. I try to eliminate some of the bad fats from our diet, and this was the perfect way to keep the flavor without the unhealthy fats. Cooking oil is another ingredient you need in your kitchen all summer. North Prairie Family Farms produces extra virgin Canola Oil. The neat thing about this oil is that it is unrefined, European cold-pressed, and non-GMO verified. I loved that the oil comes from prairie farmers, because it is neat to be able to trace the bottle back to the farmers who made it. You can even scan your QR code to see who exactly made the oil you’re eating. This is a neat learning opportunity for kids, who can discover more about the process of how Canola is grown. I cooked pancakes with this Canola oil, and I really liked the flavor. It wasn’t overbearing, and it tasted fresh. The flavor was excellent. I thought the small bottles were the perfect to cook with because they were so lightweight and simple to use to drizzle oil into the pan. After trying out all of these varieties of foods, I am so excited to have a fully stocked kitchen for the summer! My kids appreciate being able to always go into the kitchen and find something they like. They are also really happy that there’s always bread for a lunch time sandwich. There’s sweets and savory treats and pretty much anything a kid could want to eat in the summer! What do you stock your kitchen with in the summer? Share in the comments! For more healthy eating ideas, follow Theresa’s Reviews on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Flipboard and Youtube. Disclosure I received a free item, but it in no way influenced my opinion! 28 Responses Ellen Oliveira July 6, 2016 These are some great items. I gotta check out that butter.. we love butter in our house. Reply Shann July 6, 2016 So many great options! We love those crackers in our house too. I also think my boys would love the Dill pickle popcorn! Thanks for all the suggestions. Now, to stock up! Reply Jolina - The Unlikely Baker July 7, 2016 This is a great list! We are obsessed with GH Cretors. Salty and sweet – unbeatable combo! Reply CourtneyLynne July 7, 2016 Having the right snacks really is key! Now that my daughter is older, I swear all she does is eat all summer long! Reply Bree July 7, 2016 We are huge popcorn, cracker and yogurt snackers, so we’ll definitely have to check out some of these brands. Those Italian Ice pops looked really refreshing too! Reply Hanna July 7, 2016 I hate cooking during summer. Great list of items! Reply Mélina July 7, 2016 During the summer I almost have nothing in my kitchen because I’m always out somewhere. So every afternoon we basically go to the fields next to us and take some fruits to eat! Reply Desteny July 7, 2016 My kid turns 1 at the end of the month and I already struggle trying to come up with snacks! I’m sure it only gets worse. Great tips! Reply Elena July 7, 2016 very useful post and loved the video! I also loved popcorn,especially salted and sweet ones <3 Reply Vickie@Vickie's Kitchen and Garden July 7, 2016 Great ideas for kids snacks. They play hard in the summer and it seems as though they are always hungry! Have a great day. Reply nallely July 7, 2016 hello! great options for snacks i think im going to get them for my self Reply Andrea July 8, 2016 and lots of pasta for all those pasta salads this summer! Reply Christine - Jar Of Lemons July 8, 2016 Love good thins! All of these snacks look amazing! Reply Carol Maskus July 8, 2016 Loved Otter Pops. One of those few sweet snacks my mom let me have. Reply Cynthia Coleman July 8, 2016 These are some great items, but do you have any more suggestions for diabetic and other special diets? Reply theresa July 8, 2016 Hi Cynthia, I really don’t have expertise in that area since I don’t have any special diet requirements. I wouldn’t want to give out wrong information! Best, Theresa Reply Maria July 8, 2016 Great tips for summer. Although I don’t have young kids at home I did find the probiotic butter spread interesting and will look for it in my grocery store. Reply Amy Jones July 8, 2016 Amazing list for snacks! Reply sabrina Barbante July 8, 2016 I’m not a fan of snaks, I wasn’t used to it when I was a kid ans so I grew up doing without 🙂 but your kids looks so grateful and happy. This must be a good strategy when it’s summer and they are home. When I was a little girl my parents and grand parents prepared me… an HUGE slice of home made integral bread with tomatoes and olive oil (Ehm… yes, I’m desperately Italian). Try with it also 😉 Reply Jennifer DeFrates/Heaven Not Harvard July 9, 2016 I LOVE popcorn and dill pickle potato chips are my favorite, so I might be down for some dill pickle popcorn! Thanks for sharing! Reply Sheila July 9, 2016 I am going to look for that MELT. Another snack we found are from Sam’s Club and they are the organic fruit snacks. Delish 🙂 Reply girl stuff July 10, 2016 Good thins are so good!!! I like having all the stuff available for “fancy-pants” lunchables: pre-sliced cheese or those little Babybel cheese rounds, crackers, grapes, turkey pepperoni, peanut butter, pre-cut carrots and celery. Everyone can grab whatever they want to make a snack plate and it’s a healthy combo. For whatever reason, Rice Chex mixed with Cheerios is also super popular around here. Reply Sun July 10, 2016 Looking at your post made me so hungry lol !! lucky for your babies you are fully stocked Reply chaza July 10, 2016 Great ideas. I love those thin crackers. Thanks for sharing. http://www.hugshomemade.com Reply Ruthie Ridley July 11, 2016 Great tips! SERIOUSLY!!!! Reply Erika Ravnsborg July 11, 2016 Oh yummy. You have good suggestions here especially the popcorn. I love popcorn Reply rowena supan sembrano July 12, 2016 this post gave me a great idea for my kitchen… Reply Stacy July 14, 2016 These are all awesome suggestions, but I can’t get past the fact that dill pickle popcorn exists!!! 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