Now that school-age kids are home for the summer, parents will hear throughout the day, “What’s to eat?” It can be a challenge to stock the fridge and cupboards with summertime snacks that are healthy, keep kids satisfied and fit into the family budget.

Summertime snacks don’t have to break the bank. The trick is to plan and take advantage of ad specials, coupons and seasonal items that help to stretch the food dollar.

Another way to save is to choose store brands of favorite snack foods. Private-label store brands save an average of 15 to 25 percent, with quality and nutrition comparable to the national brand.

Seasonal produce during the summer months is a bargain. Summer provides an abundance of seasonal fruits and vegetables, making it affordable to stock up on healthy snacks that kids will enjoy. And look for foods you frequently consume and purchase in bulk quantities. Portion into single-serve containers or resealable bags to save money.

Chill out this summer with these budget-friendly kids’ snacks:

• Frozen grapes – place washed grapes on tray and put in freezer. Serve frozen.

• Frozen fruit pops using bananas, berries, peaches or watermelon.

• Ice cream cones filled with yogurt and chopped fresh fruit.

• Peanut butter spread on celery, apples or graham crackers.

• String cheese with whole-grain crackers.

• Deli meat, cheese and lettuce rolled in a tortilla shell.

• Fruit smoothie – fresh or frozen fruit, yogurt, juice and ice.

• Trail mix – cereal, dried fruit, nuts and chocolate chips.

 

Tie-Dye Apple Slices

All you need:

• 1 (3 oz) pkg gelatin

• 4 whole apples, any variety, such as Granny Smith or Delicious

All you do:

Pour dry gelatin into a small bowl or shaker container. Use more than one color of gelatin to give apples a tie-dye look.

Cut each apple into 12 slices.

Dip the cut sides of each apple slice into gelatin. The colors will brighten as the gelatin picks up the apple's juice.

Serve immediately.

Tracey Shaffer, RD, LD, is a Hy-Vee dietitian at the Blue Springs location The information provided should not be construed as professional medical advice. Email her at tshaffer@hy-vee.com.