Healthy munching

watermelon slices in the shape of hearts and stars

Holidays are all about letting go of strict rules and enjoying a break in routine, right? But that doesn’t mean your kids need to forgo all-things-healthy. It’s still possible to enjoy the festivities while maintaining basic healthy eating habits. Here are a few tips from Ballito dietician Claire McHugh.

Whether you’re out and about or just lazing by the pool, it is a good idea to try as best you can to maintain your children’s regular meal and snack times. And don’t forget to hydrate them! “It’s very easy to forget to drink when you’re out having fun, but it’s very important. Water is always the best choice, of course,” says Claire.

“If your children are anything like mine, they are total ‘snackaholics’. All the time spent in the fresh air over the summer holidays seems to increase their appetites and it is difficult to keep up! My advice is to stock up on a variety of healthy ‘child-approved’ snacks so that you are armed and ready!”

Claire suggests having a ‘snack station’ in your fridge, where there is something delicious yet nutritious always on hand. Include foods like chopped and sliced vegetables (peppers, cucumber, carrots and cherry tomatoes) with or without a delicious dip like guacamole or hummus, fresh fruit, cheese cubes, date balls and mini sausages.
“Smoothies with yogurt and any leftover fruit are a great snack either as a drink or frozen in a lolly mould. Freshly popped popcorn, oat crunchies, trail mixes, lean biltong and dried fruit are also great options to keep in the cupboard.”
And Claire says creating yummy snacks can also double up as a way to keep the kids busy. “Get them involved! A fun activity could be to make fruit rainbow skewers (blueberries, strawberry, melon, banana, green grape) or use a cookie cutter to make watermelon stars to freeze into lollies!”

Claire’s healthy treat shopping list . . .

All available at Lifestyle SuperSpar in Ballito

Here are a few simple recipes to try for happy, healthy holidays!

2 cans tinned fruit in natural juice

Empty tinned fruit into a freezer bag and freeze. On a hot day remove from freezer, thaw briefly and then blend until smooth. Serve immediately (makes 3 small cups).

You’ll need:
Ice-cream/lolly sticks
Star cookie cutter

Slice watermelon into 1cm thick slices, cut out stars with cookie cutter, insert lolly stick and place on a foil-lined baking sheet. Cover star-lollies with a second layer of foil and freeze until firm. Serve frozen.

Combine pineapple chunks, melon balls, grapes, strawberries and other firm fruit of your choice on kebab sticks to make a multicoloured treat!

Place bananas on the braai in their skins, turning regularly until they turn black. Remove from braai, slit open and sprinkle with a little brown sugar if required and serve as a sticky but delicious dessert.

5 strawberries
1 medium banana
1 cup low fat strawberry yogurt
½ cup low fat milk
½ cup apple or grape juice

Mix all ingredients and blend until smooth. Pour into ice-lolly moulds or mini paper cups, cover and freeze for at least five hours.

About Claire: Claire McHugh BSc Diet (RD) is a registered dietitian with a special interest in paediatrics. She is also a Ballito-based mom of two.