Summer play dates can sometimes be a bit of a bummer for parents. Set aside the mental picture of a rowdy household and kiddie fights–because that can easily be fixed. Instead, think about the worse scenario: neglected and inattentive mealtimes and a whole lot of power struggles on the table, which could very well challenge your effort in sustaining a well-balanced nutrition and in disciplining the eating habits of your kid.

Say your kid doesn’t really want to eat much for lunch because he’s so excited about or engaged in playing that he wants to finish food at once? We’ve all been there. Take it easy on yourself, though. You can, in fact, make these summer play dates trouble-free and equally fun for you, by serving these healthy, mouthwatering finger foods in playtimes.

chef_mom_finger_foods_oatmeal_drops.jpgOATMEAL DROPS

Oats are loaded with nutrients, such as fiber, zinc, copper, magnesium vitamin E, selenium, iron, protein, and manganese, while the peanut butter ingredient brings iron and copper, also high amounts of protein, and Vitamins E and B3.These no-bake oatmeal cookies are sheer delights to the senses. Apart from the yummy goodness your kids are sure to enjoy, the fact that these cookies are no-bake means that your kids can help out with the preparation. Teaching kids to cook at an early age puts them in the right direction when it comes to being able to support themselves and live independently in the future.


(Photo by David Hanson; styling by Elaine Lim)

chef_mom_finger_foods_tofu_fries.jpgTOFU FRIES

The common misconception is that all fried foods are unhealthy–our favorite French fries for example. But, wait, did you know that you can trick your fried foods with some healthier alternatives? According to many chefs, nutritionists, and dietitians, frying becomes unhealthy when the ingredients and type of oil you used are unhealthy. Some healthy oils we suggest are canola oil, olive oil, and peanut oil, among other. What about the potato? Though potatoes are healthy, you may want to give tofu fries a try as well. Raw tofu boasts of several nutrients, such as iron, protein, calcium, phosphorus, manganese, and magnesium, among other things.

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(Photo by Patrick Martires; styling by Elaine Lim)

chef_mom_finger_foods_mixed_nuts_popcorn.jpgMIXED NUTS AND POPCORN

These crunchy mixed nuts and popcorn can also be served as snacks for kids, although some would prefer to have it on parties. Another power-packed snack, nuts are said to be among the best plant sources of protein and also rich in antioxidants, fiber, and phytonutrients. Popcorn is a good whole grain alternative that provides fiber, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals too. Apart from its health benefits, though, there's the inevitable association with movies! Bring out a time-honored classic like Lady and the Tramp or a modern-day animated flick like Kung Fu Panda and enjoy!


(Photo by David Hanson; styling by Becky Kho)


Instead of buying a bag of commercialized chips, why not make your own potato chips, complete with herbed dip? Again, you can opt for healthier cooking oil here.

chef_mom_finger_foods_squid_and_chips.jpgSQUID AND CHIPS

Are the children even squid-lovers? If so, then a squid and chips platter is perfectly healthy afternoon munchies. The chips, though, are not the usual junk foods you see much in the market; these are homemade potato chips instead. Among the nutritional values of a squid are protein, fiber, carbohydrate, calories, Selenium, iodine, Vitamin B12, and Riboflavin. Not completely sold on squid as your seafood of choice? You can also try fried shrimp balls with chives and cilantro or parmesan prawns.


(Photo by Ocs Alvarez)

chef_mom_finger_foods_apple_slices.jpgFRUITS & VEGGIES: THE ORIGINAL FINGER FOODS

Of course, why forget the so-called original finger foods, such as fruits and veggies cut into chunks or sticks? Examples of fruity finger foods are apple, peach, papaya, banana, or pear slices, along with rich, creamy dips. For veggies that can be served cooked or raw are carrot, sweet potato, or cucumber sticks. Cheese chunks, toast sticks, and mini-muffins are similarly healthy options, too. 


(Photo source:

Best served with cold, fresh juices, these finger foods will surely make your kids drop their toys and pick up a stick or two of these healthy snacks, or even more. If you’re a little worried of the preparation and cooking, rest assured it won’t take much of your time in the kitchen. And once served, you can head on over to your own hut, and take time out for yourself. Find your center, and be creative. Or you can just sit back and relax and watch kids devour these delish picks until that round platter of yours turns empty.

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