Health and wealth

By Tamera Thomas Published:

Children are getting out of school and some of them will no doubt talk about how bored they are within a couple of weeks. When my children were younger, one thing I noticed when school ended for the summer was my increased trips to the grocery store.


Because my kids were making food disappear like a David Copperfield magic act, but it was no illusion. Id think to myself, Didnt I just buy ? What happened to the ? This was certainly the case during those middle and high school years. Can you fill these folk up?

Families plan for all types of summer activities; healthy eating during the summer can be one of them, especially, during a time when everyone wants to enjoy the summer. So, what can parents do to keep those tween and teen stomachs satisfied nutritiously and economically? The answer is to plan, purchase and prepare your own meals and snacks.

Meal planning saves time and money. Include your children in the meal planning process; they know what they like and will probably appreciate having some input. Keep in mind that convenience foods usually cost more. I am still amazed that you can purchase pre-made peanut butter sandwiches in the refrigerator section of the local grocery store.

There are many recipes available, and it is cheaper to make your own dishes. Some young people enjoy learning how to cook; so let them prepare family meals too. Get creative! Think of new ways of preparing foods like pizza, burgers, wraps and other healthy snacks.

Keep a variety of fresh fruit and veggies on hand for snacking. Also, when you shop, compare the prices of the store brand and name brand food items of those summer favorites. Last but not least, dont forget your coupons!

Here are a few ideas you might like to try.

Ants on a Log

1 bunch of celery or carrots

1 jar peanut butter

1 box of raisins

Wash the celery and cut it into pieces about 4-5 inches long. Spread the peanut butter over the length of the celery and put raisins on top of the peanut butter.

Trail Mix

4 cups corn or wheat cereal squares

cup dried fruit

cup raisins

cup peanuts

cup chocolate chips

Put all ingredients into a large zippered type sandwich bag and shake to mix.

Chocolate Shake

4 cups cold low fat milk

1 small package reduced calorie instant chocolate pudding mix

cup ice cubes

Few drops of banana or mint flavoring (optional)

In a blender contain combine milk, pudding mix, and flavorings. Cover and blend until smooth. Add ice cubes; cover and blend. Let it stand 3 minutes to thicken slightly. Makes 5 8oz. serving. Try substituting other pudding flavors.

Grilled Cheese Topped Burgers

2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

cup mayonnaise

2 T ketchup

3 teaspoons red pepper sauce

12 frozen ground beef patties or 3 lbs ground beef

Bread or hamburger buns

Fire up the grill. In small bowl, mix all ingredients except patties. When the grill is ready, place patties on grill. Cover grill; cover over medium heat 4-8 minutes, turning once, until meet thermometer inserted in center of patty reads 160F. Next, carefully top each patty with about cup cheese mixture; cook covered 4 minutes long or until cheese is melted. Serve open-face on bread or bun.

If you have questions or need more information, contact me at the Franklin County Extension Office, 101 Lakeview Ct. The phone number is 695-9035 and my e-mail address is

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