The idea of snacking can be divisive. Some think you should ban it to avoid overeating, and others consider it essential to keeping your metabolism running consistently throughout the day. If you have kids, you probably consider snacks crucial to a smooth-running day! I personally need snacks to keep my energy levels up between meals, and my toddler son needs them to fuel up between enthusiastic playing, running, and climbing sessions. To avoid falling for salty, fatty snacks (which are so easy to reach for), I try to always have fresh fruits, vegetables, and cheese in the fridge so I can assemble healthy bites as quickly as possible. The snacks I like to make are not only beautiful to look at, attracting the curiosity and interest of little ones, but also nutritious, effectively appeasing hunger pangs without leading to overindulgence.
The following healthy snack ideas don’t require any cooking, making them especially handy for hot summer days, and they won’t keep you in the kitchen for too long. Some chopping is involved, but then it’s just a matter of assembling the bites, which the kids will love helping you do. Each bite features a main fruit or vegetable, a Cheese, a protein, and some flavorings. If you want to take a shortcut, you can skip the flavorings altogether, but they add a delightful complexity and a certain sophistication to the snacks. Each snack idea is great for calming appetites on a busy weeknight while you prepare dinner, but you can also make several of the bites to create gorgeous spreads for brunch, cocktail parties, or special events, such as baby showers. In short, they’re versatile, healthy bites you’ll want to serve all summer long.
- Blueberries + Ricotta + Almonds + Honey
Halve mini-pitas. Spoon some Ricotta over each piece, top with blueberries and almonds, and drizzle with honey. As an alternative, you could also fill the mini-pitas with the ingredients instead.
- Apple + Ricotta + Chicken + Walnuts
Slice an apple thinly. Core the pieces that need it. Spoon some Ricotta over each slice, then add chopped roasted chicken. Top with a walnut half.
- Spinach + Ricotta + Bacon + Pumpkin Seeds
Transfer some Ricotta in a small bowl. Chop a handful of baby spinach very finely, then mix it in. Spoon the mixture into edible crispy shells or over crackers, then add a piece of cooked bacon and sprinkle with toasted pumpkin seeds.
- Avocado + Chickpeas + Feta + Sunflower Seeds
Smash the avocado with a fork and squeeze in some lemon juice so it doesn’t brown. Spread over slices of toasted baguette, then top with cooked chickpeas (make sure to rinse canned chickpeas thoroughly before using). Sprinkle with crumbled Feta and sunflower seeds.
- Cucumber + Feta + Walnuts + Basil
Slice a cucumber into thick rounds. Top with cubes of Feta cheese. Sprinkle with chopped walnuts and fresh basil.
- Cherry Tomatoes + Feta + Corn + Coriander
Sprinkle crumbled Feta on tortilla chips. Top with a halved cherry tomato. Add a spoonful of cooked corn kernels over each tortilla chip, then finish with fresh coriander leaves.
- Dates + Mascarpone + Prosciutto + Lemon Zest
Cut open each date to remove the pit. Fill each date with Mascarpone Cheese. Sprinkle with finely grated lemon zest, then wrap each date in prosciutto.
- Strawberries + Mascarpone + Maple Syrup + Thyme
Dice the strawberries. Spread some Mascarpone Cheese over salted crackers. Top with diced strawberries. Drizzle with maple syrup and finish with fresh thyme leaves.
- Mushrooms + Mascarpone + Pesto + Toasted Panko
Remove the mushroom stems and place the caps upside down on a serving plate. In a small bowl, mix some Mascarpone with a spoonful or two of pesto. Fill each mushroom cap with the Mascarpone-pesto mixture, then sprinkle with toasted panko crumbs.
- Melon + Bocconcini + Ham + Mint
Cut the melon into cubes (any melon variety will do). Top each cube with a strip of smoked ham, then add a leaf of fresh mint. Finish with a Bocconcini pearl and secure with a toothpick to serve.
- Zucchini + Bocconcini + Hazelnuts + Lemon Zest
Cut the zucchini into thick rounds and grill lightly, if desired. Let cool, then top each round with a halved Bocconcini. Finish with chopped hazelnuts and finely grated lemon zest.
- Figs + Bocconcini + Pistachio + Olive Oil
Halve fresh or dried figs, then use your finger to lightly press into the center of each fig, so to create a shallow indentation. Grind the pistachios, then roll Bocconcini pearls into the nuts. Press one pearl into each fig, then sprinkle with more ground pistachios. Finish with a drizzle of aromatic extra-virgin olive oil.