With school out, the kids are busy exploring and enjoying plenty of summer adventures. But whether they’re five years old or 12, they can’t run on adventure alone. That’s why we’ve rounded up an entire collection of tasty, simple, and (mostly) quick summer food ideas inspired by the flavor explosion of Mexican and Tex-Mex cuisine.
Kids will love the exciting and zingy colors and flavors. At the same time, parents will appreciate the simplicity of the ingredients and dish construction. You may even find some youngsters wanting to develop their own culinary skills and help out in the kitchen.
Get ready to satisfy tastebuds with these mouthwatering summer snacks for kids. Don’t worry — adults will love these snacks too!
Why Mexican and Tex-Mex Food Make Great Summer Snacks for Kids
Mexican and Tex-Mex recipes feature a lot of colorful, healthy fruit and vegetables that appeal to kids’ palettes. Many dishes are also tactile. In other words, kids can eat or build their food with their hands.
Summer is a time of abundance, with fresh produce available in supermarkets and local stores. You can also easily find condiments to take virtually any dish to the next level. (How about some watermelon with a squeeze of lime? Or sweet corn spruced up with butter and cotija cheese? Yum!)
In this guide, you’ll find everything from refreshing drinks to filling dishes to help keep the kids fueled with healthy food, no matter how big their next adventure is.
Tex-Mex Inspired Summer Drinks for Kids
There are lots of ways to keep the kids cool this summer with some sneaky ways to also make sure they’re enjoying healthier options. See if you can ditch the sodas in favor of these fresh, better-for-you ideas.
Watermelon Agua Fresca
Watermelon agua fresca (refreshing water) is a simple and tasty way to keep wee ones, tweens, and teens hydrated in a nutritious way. And it only takes about five minutes to make!
Blend the flesh of a seedless watermelon in a blender alongside one-fourth cup of lime juice. Pass the mixture through a fine-mesh strainer to remove any remaining pulp (unless you like it pulpy). You can also add a touch of sweetener like maple syrup, but it’s better to simply let the fruit’s sweetness shine through. Cool the liquid in the refrigerator or serve immediately in ice-filled glasses.
Feeling spicy? Rub a lime wedge on the rim of the glass and dunk in a bit of chili salt. You can substitute watermelon for other fruit waters, including pineapple, cucumber, mango, cantaloupe, or peach.
Short on time? Mix limeade frozen concentrate with cooled or carbonated water for a Mexican limonada or limeade.
Summer Frozen Fruit Drink Ideas for Kids
The website Live Eat Learn has an entire section dedicated to different types of popsicles you can make with creamy, fruity, and vegan options among the selections.
The classic fruit popsicle recipe remains the same. Blend some berries or your fruit of choice, add sweetener if required, plus water or milk. Some people add yogurt or coconut milk too. Pop the mixture into popsicle molds, freeze, and enjoy!
For another fun summer sipper, try these bright layered virgin strawberry and mango margaritas . Kids will love this mocktail’s bright red and yellow appearance, plus you can avoid all the sugar and calories of store-bought blends.
You’ll need a blender to make the strawberry and mango layers separately.
Blend the following together until you have a puree.
- 3 cups of frozen strawberries
- ½ cup of water
- 1 ½ cups of ice
- ⅓ cup of lime juice
- ¼ cup of orange juice
Two tablespoons of simple syrup
Set aside the strawberry puree and clean the blender. Put three cups of frozen mango in the blender, add identical amounts of water, ice, lime juice, orange juice, and syrup as above, and blend into a mango puree.
Add alternative layers of the strawberry and mango purees to margarita glasses for your mocktail.
Quick Tex-Mex Grab Snacks for Kids This Summer
A great way to turn your kids into Tex-Mex fans is to start with some basic sweet and tangy combinations.
Tajín is an incredibly popular Mexican seasoning . It’s a not not-too-spicy mix of lime, salt, and chili that comes pre-mixed and ready to slather over all sorts of fruit and vegetables. You could even add it to the mango and strawberry mocktail above.
Tajín’s flavor combines wonderfully with sweet and sour. Try it on slices of cucumber, orange, papaya, and pineapple, to name a few, creating buzzing healthy snacks for kids who might otherwise never look at healthier options.
Chili Cheese Chips Salad
Here’s a twist on the basic salad that’s bound to hook your kids in: chips salad! Fritos Chili Cheese salad mixes the famed chips with traditional salad ingredients like corn and red bell peppers for an innovative and tasty way to get the kids to eat vegetables.
Take 16 ounces of corn (about two cups), the same weight of diced red bell peppers, half a diced purple onion, and one pound of grated cheddar cheese (large holes on the grater) and put them in a bowl.
Break up the Fritos Chili Cheese chips of a 9-ounce bag into small pieces, then add to the bowl. Mix in half a cup of mayonnaise, stir, and serve immediately.
Tex-Mex Twist on Classic Chicken Snack
With just five ingredients, Rachel Cooks’ Taco Chickens Tenders are perfect for a busy kitchen and hungry tums. You’ll need:
- One cup of flour
- Two pounds of chicken breasts cut into equally-sized strips
- Two eggs, beaten
- One tablespoon of taco seasoning
1 ½ cups of crushed tortilla chips
Mix the flour with half the taco seasoning and keep in a bowl. Beat the eggs and keep them in a separate bowl. Mix the tortilla chips and the remaining half of the taco seasoning in a third bowl.
Grease a large sheet pan and preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
Cover a slice of chicken breast in the flour and taco seasoning mix. Next, dab it in the egg mix then coat it in the tortilla chip mix before placing it on the baking sheet. Repeat until all the chicken breast strips are covered.
Bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes or until thoroughly cooked. Serve alongside dips like salsa verde or guacamole to boost the taste experience.
Nacho Style Mac and Cheese
Love nachos? Love mac and cheese? Dax Phillips’ recipe on the Simple Comfort Food website is a sure-fire winner for adults and children alike.
Whole Wheat Taco Cups
Nothing says Mexican food quite like a taco. While you can certainly make regular tacos filled with nutritious ingredients, you can make them more kid-appealing by turning them into cute cups.
Mel’s Kitchen Cafe has an excellent method for turning tortillas into taco cups. These taco cups are as versatile as they are delicious, and kids love being able to fill them with ingredients they choose and walk around with this complete snack in their hands.
You can make meat fillings with shredded chicken or ground turkey or go plant-based with a faux meat substitute, tempeh, or mushrooms. Top them off with guacamole, slices of avocado, tomato, or whatever suits your fancy. There are also gluten-free taco cups and even creamy tortilla dessert cups.
When it comes to Mexican summer snacks for kids, it doesn’t get much easier than quesadillas. These cheese-filled tortillas will brighten up any snack, lunch, or picnic dinner spread.
In its most basic form, simply throw some grated cheese into a flour or corn tortilla. You can also add black or pinto beans for added protein along with any thinly-sliced veggies you can squeeze in. (Perhaps bell peppers, tomato, zucchini, yellow squash, onions, or mushrooms?)
Fold into a half moon shape and then cook on a lightly oiled or buttered skillet for a few minutes until the cheese has melted. All that’s left to do is to cut it into wedges and serve. To make it more appealing to little ones, consider making cute little “faces” or other designs on the finished quesadilla.
Versatile Mexican Pinwheels
Healthy and tasty snacks that are easy to prepare are a lifesaver during summer vacations. These Mexican pinwheels offer a creamy, fresh, chicken-based recipe that mixes the flavors of Mexico and the best of the southwest. Feel free to adjust the ingredients to your children’s preferences.
Mix garlic, taco seasoning, cheddar cheese, green onion, lime juice, salsa, and cream cheese in a bowl, to which you then add cooked chicken strips.
Spread the mixture on your tortilla of choice and roll it up tightly. Serve as a wrap or cut into small pinwheels that kids will love to munch while on the move.
Sweet Little Tex-Mex Treats for the Wee Ones
Is there room for dessert? While some adults may pass after all that delicious food, most kids will be interested in something “dulce” for dessert. It doesn’t have to be loaded with sugar to be a hit. The fruit popsicles we mentioned earlier are a healthy crowd pleaser. Here are a couple of twists on some classics.
Baked (Not Fried) Churros
Traditional churros are deep-fried and slathered in sugar and cinnamon. Baking them reduces the oil and grease but still brings the sweet glory that kids love. The ingredients for churros are commonly found in most pantries: butter, brown and granulated sugar, flour, eggs, sugar, cinnamon, salt, and vanilla extract.
This recipe takes a little more time than some of the other recipes on our list, but they’ll be worth the effort. Delicious!
Dulce de Leche
Dulce de leche (literally “candy of milk”) is a classic Mexican dessert that only takes one ingredient: condensed milk. While this sweet sauce isn’t low in sugar, it’s certainly worth considering as a special treat for the long days of summer. Drizzle it over coconut sorbet or as a dipping sauce for baked churros or those fruit popsicles mentioned earlier. The kids (and grown-ups) will love it.
The Best Tex-Mex Snacks for Kids (and Adults) This Summer
There you have it! Lone Star residents have always known that Mexican and Texan foods combine brilliantly. Chefs and cooks produce wonderfully inventive and creative recipes that leave the taste buds tingling and the body craving more.
We’ve covered rousingly refreshing drinks, lip-smacking snacks, and delicious desserts. Take these ideas and run with them and make your own versions to suit your family and friends.
Tex-Mex can be quick, delicious, nutritious, and a fantastic way to keep youngsters well fed and full of energy throughout vacation. Supermarkets and stores often stock excellent shortcuts like seasonings, too, to help keep you ahead of the game.
And don’t forget that the best part about food is sharing. So if you come up with a great recipe, let the world know your Tex-Mex invention, and who knows? Maybe your dish will be the next in the long line of famous Tex-Mex classics .
Brought to you by amigoenergy
All images licensed from Adobe Stock.