Summer is half over and children everywhere are settled in to their summer vacation routine, but some parents are worried that these routines aren’t as healthy as they need to be. Without the more regimented schedule of the school year, kids may not be getting as much physical activity, sleep schedules are more erratic, and less supervised time can mean more snacking and less healthy snacks. If you are looking for ways to make sure your children have the healthiest summer possible, it’s not too late. Here are some tips to help make the last few weeks of summer healthier at home.
One of the ways eating habits can get off track during the summer months is when kids sleep in, stay up late, or have other schedule disruptions that make meal times erratic. We skip meals, we eat out, and we eat late. All of this contributes to more grazing or snacking during the day. It can also mean we are eating fast food more often and not paying as much attention to what we are giving our kids to fill their plates. Help keep healthy eating habits by keeping to a regular schedule of meals, even when the family schedule goes astray.
Help kids stay physical this summer by setting a good example. Try to get some active family time in every day, even just an after dinner walk or some family fun time in the pool. The summer heat may be keeping kids indoors, limiting their overall physical activity level. Take the time to experience fun family activities that will get everyone moving as often as you can.
Stock Up on Snacks
The best way to make sure your children choose healthy snacks is to stock up on the kind of snacks you want them to be eating. Stocking the fridge with carrot sticks, orange slices, string cheese made with skim milk, and other healthy options like raisins. Reaching for these kinds of snacks yourself will also help kids make healthy choices.
Hydration is important and giving kids easy access to healthy, hydrating beverages is also important to helping them have a healthy summer. Getting each child a fancy reusable water bottle is one way to make drinking more water a little more interesting. Other options like vegetable/fruit juice medleys and 100% fruit juice can keep kids away from high-calorie soft drinks.
Family Day at the Farmers Market or Produce Aisle at the Grocery Store
Bring kids to the farmers market or along on your grocery shopping trips and let them pick out some fruits and vegetables that they like. This can also be a great way to get kids to try something new. Getting them involved in the process of choosing and buying healthy food increases the likelihood that they will make healthier choices on their own.
Pack a Picnic
Whenever you are spending the day or even the evening away from home pack up your family’s meal and have a picnic. Bringing a healthy meal ensures your family will have healthy food to eat and there won’t be any temptation to grab a bite at a drive-thru because everyone is hungry.
- How to Help Kids Eat Healthy This Summer (fillyourplate.org)
- Getting Your Kids to Eat Healthy is as Easy as 1, 2, 3… (fillyourplate.org)
- What Your Kids Can Learn This Summer… From Cooking (fillyourplate.org)