Summer is a busy time for afterschool programs. Many programs host the children of working parents throughout the summer, providing care and entertainment during the hottest months of the year. While the warm summer weather provides children with plenty of opportunities to stay active and play outside, providing healthy snacks can be a bit trickier. The heat can lead to cravings for cold snacks like ice cream and popsicles, which are full of sugar and provide little in the way of nutrients.

Thankfully, there are other options for fun snacks that beat the heat! Fresh veggies provide the same cold and crunch that popsicles do while supplying children with the vitamins they need to keep up their energy. Add some cream cheese, and you have all the ingredients to make a fun summer snack, like these edible flowers from Snacktivities: 50 Edible Activities for Parents and Children. A snack and an art project, this activity is the perfect thing to try on a hot summer afternoon. Try it in your program today!

Ingredients:

  • ½ pound cherry tomatoes
  • ¾ cup low-fat cream cheese
  • 1 package of dry salad dressing mix (any flavor)
  • 1 cucumber
  • Fresh parsley sprigs
  • Scallions or green onions
  • Romaine lettuce

Utensils:

  • Knife and cutting board
  • Small spoon
  • Paper towels
  • Small mixing bowl and spoon
  • Pastry bag with a small star tip
  • Fork

Process:

  1. Cut off cherry tomato tops with the knife. Discard the tomato tops or add to the compost pile. Carefully scoop out the insides of the cherry tomatoes with a small spoon
  2. Place the empty tomatoes upside down on a double thickness of paper towels to drain
  3. Mix the cream cheese and dry salad dressing in a small bowl. Then, put the cheese mixture in a pastry bag fitted with a small star tip
  4. Squeeze the cheese mixture into the tomato cavities. Fill all the tomatoes
  5. Scrape the prongs of a fork straight down the sides of a cucumber to etch lines in the skin. Slice the cucumbers into 1/4 or 1/8 inch slices
  6. Arrange 3 or 4 cucumber slices on a serving plate. Place one tomato on top of each cucumber slice to look like the blossom of a flower
  7. Place the parsley sprigs in the cheese stuffed tomato to resemble the leaves of a flower
  8. Arrange several green onions or scallions on the serving plate with bottom sections together and tops fanning out to resemble the stems of flowers
  9. Set a tomato at the top of each scallion. Arrange the Romaine lettuce leaves near the scallions to look like leaves growing from a stem