Just because it’s summertime doesn’t mean you should take a break from healthy eating! Summers mean more picnics, ballgames and festivals full of tempting (but less than healthful) foods. But you can have your ice cream, hot dogs and fried Oreos — in moderation — by following these suggestions.
Eat Sweets in Small Portions
Sweets and fried foods are fine, in small portions. Use this as an opportunity to show kids how to form a healthy relationship with food. Denying the “good stuff” can lead to poor, unhealthy food choices down the road. So a little treat here and there won’t do any harm.
Keep Them Active
If your kids indulge in a funnel cake or waffle and ice cream sundae once in a while, schedule more activities that help them burn off those extra calories. Also, encourage kids to share the treats so everyone gets a taste but no one overindulges.
Be a Good Role Model
Be a good role model. Eat healthier foods—and healthier versions of the foods everyone loves. For example, if your family loves enchiladas, swap out the tortillas for cabbage leaves for a healthier take or try this shareable recipe that serves six people.
Eat Nutritiously While Traveling
Driving to your vacation? Pack healthy snacks to eat along the way. Scope out restaurants on your route to check out their menu options. Download apps like Around Me, Feed, or Yelp to suggest alternatives to fast-food joints. Day-tripping? Pack a cooler and bags with healthy options like fresh veggies and fruits. Opt for trail mix, popcorn, single-serve fruit cups and applesauce, yogurt, low-fat cheese, and granola. Encourage your kids to pack their own snack bags.
Make It Fun
Create a game of I-Spy for healthy foods at the grocery store. Teach older kids how to read food labels, and show all the kids where to find the healthiest foods on the shelves.
Get Their Input
Get your kids involved with meal planning. When you go to the store, suggest they pick out a new type of produce (or one they love) to work into a recipe you can make together.
Drink Lots of Water
Go easy on high-calorie drinks such as fruit juices and sodas. Instead, encourage your kids to drink plenty of water. Add flavor to water by adding fresh fruits, cucumber or mint, or a little tart juice. Mix one-third fruit juice with two-thirds fizzy water. Check out these other suggestions to enliven water’s flavor.
Summertime often throws off the usual schedules, so meal planning may not run as smoothly as during the school year. These healthy summer survival guide recipes include healthy snacks and lunch ideas that kids love and tasty treats that won’t break the calorie bank.
Buy Fresh Produce
Add summer produce to your menu! Growing time means a wide variety of fresh fruits and vegetables at the grocery store, farmers market and garden. Take advantage of this bounty by introducing new—and keeping tried-and-true favorites—tastes into your meals. Try these roasted veggie recipes for fabulous flavor.
Have a kid who’s less than thrilled about vegetables or fruits? Try a smoothie instead. They’re perfect for hot days and make the best breakfasts before soccer camp. Different flavorful combos can cover some of your kiddo’s dairy, fruit, protein and fiber needs for the day.
Keep Healthy Snacks on Hand
Your kids might not love tomato soup, but pair a cold tomato (or avocado or carrot) soup with a salad for a light dinner on a hot, steamy summer night. Keep other easy snacks in your home like sliced or whole fresh fruits and veggies, cheese slices, string cheese, yogurt, turkey or chicken breast meat from the deli, hard-boiled eggs, pita wedges, graham crackers, granola bars and unsalted pretzels.
Summertime brings plenty of fun adventures and surprises. Incorporate summer flavors by choosing healthy, tasty foods rich in vitamins, protein and fiber. Pile plenty of color on everyone’s plates, stock up on healthy snacks that travel well, indulge occasionally in vacation treats and enjoy the season.
Photo Credit: Pexels.com
Article written by guest Dylan Foster for Healthwellwise.com