With a less structured routine in the summer, it’s not uncommon for children to gain weight due to greater access to food and irregular eating patterns. Meal times may change daily depending on summer activities and kids may snack if they’re bored at home.
However, the break from school can provide an opportunity for children to be more physically active, as well as be more involved with preparing meals by participating in the grocery shopping, cooking, and attending family meals.
Keep meals and snacks on a schedule to prevent kids from grazing on food all day long. The kitchen may even be made off limits outside these times.
Each week, plan out the lunches and dinners as a family, factoring in the activities scheduled.
Focus on including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and protein while limiting access to less healthy options such as ice-cream and soda.
Limit screen time and enrol kids in organised campus to keep them busy during the day.
PACK A LUNCH
Use leftovers (cook extra portions) to pack for lunch the next day.
Avoid fruits that bruise easily. Pack grapes or cherries instead.
Place a frozen water bottle in the lunch bag to keep food cold until it’s time to eat.
PREPARE HEALTHY SUMMER SNACKS
Cool and delicious smoothies are as simple as mixing nonfat plain yogurt, a favourite, and ice in a blender. Tip: Try Greek yogurt for an added protein punch.
Most kids love fruit kabobs. Cut up a variety of fruits and place these on a wooden skewer. Tip: Try grilling the fruit.
Prepare fresh veggies to dip in hummus. Tip: Buy a vegetable tray for convenience.
String cheese with whole wheat crackers are always satisfying. Tip: Freeze string cheese to pack as a take along snack it it’s still cold and safe to eat.
Mix together dried fruit, nuts, high finer cereal, and yogurt-covered pretzels for a healthy trail mix. Tip: Make pre-portioned bags 0f 1/4 to 1/2 cup trail mix to manage the amount consumed.
On average, kids need to consume between 6-8 cups of liquid per day to stay well hydrated. Children are more prone to dehydration since they’re active and easily distracted from remembering to drink fluids regularly throughout the day. Outdoor activities in the summer heat can add to their needs.
Ideally, water will be the primary beverage to keep them hydrated, but other options may include 100% fruit juice (which can also be frozen popsicles) or water filled fruits like watermelon and grapes.
Always have drinks available to encourage regular consumption and teach kids to take a few sips every 15 to 20 minutes.
Buy fun, coloured water bottle for the family to encourage drinking throughout the day and remember to drink lots of water yourself to set a good example for your children to follow.
GRILL FRUITS AND VEGETABLES
Grilling vegetables actually enhances their flavor. Consider grilling up onions, corn on the cob, portabella mushrooms, or eggplant. Vegetables can either be marinated an hour before cooking (which will help them caramelize) or lightly brushed with olive oil, said, and pepper prior to cooking.
Grilling fruit allows some of the water inside to evaporate, which makes the fruit taste even sweeter. Bananas, mangos, apples, pears, and grapes are all fruits to try. Make our children part of the process and let them choose what to throw on the grill.
Originally from PRO Pulse July-August 2012
By Julie Tredway