Summer can provide everything you and your family need for a healthful time— more fresh produce, more physical activity, and more rest. Here are some tips on making a game plan to ensure your kids have a happy and healthy summer vacation.
Make sure that your kids remain on a good meal routine with three square meals and two small snacks between meals. At a young age, children can help prepare meals in the kitchen and assist parents in picking out good-tasting and nutritious foods at the supermarket. Try This > Take a piece of paper and divide it into seven columns (one for each day of the week). Help your child mark each day with the number of fruits and vegetable eaten that day. You can use markers, crayons, or colorful stickers.
Snacks are just as important as meals in ensuring healthy kids. Portion snacks that you buy in bulk into baggies or plastic containers so they are ready to go for the week. If your children are old enough to help themselves to food and snacks, it is best not to keep unhealthy foods in the house. Try This > Have a nonperishable “snack box” in the car. Fill it with high-fiber, healthful granola bars, trail mix, dried fruit, boxes of raisins, nuts, water, and whole-grain crackers in proper portions. Each morning, take at least one piece of fresh fruit along to eat with the snack-box item.
8 Summer Snacks Your Kids Will Love
- Dried cereal with seeds, nuts, or dried fruit
- Yogurt with fruit and granola
- Half a sandwich and a piece of fruit
- Hummus with vegetables
- High-fiber cereal bar with a piece of fruit
- String cheese and crackers
- Graham crackers with peanut butter
- Popcorn and peanut mixture
- Trail mix
Visit a Farmer’s Market
Visiting a farmer’s market can be a great field trip for the entire family. Fruits and vegetables are at the peak of nutrient density when in season, so buying straight from the farm ensures that your family gets the most nutrition for your dollar. Farmers love to share their stories and growing practices too. Encourage your children to ask questions and sample new products as it’s a great way for them to learn about food. Have them pick out one new fruit and vegetable each time you go.
Traveling Nutrition Strategies
If traveling on a family vacation, be sure to plan ahead your meals and snacks just like you would during normal weeks. Two weeks prior to travel plan your in-flight snacks, breakfast, lunch, or dinner when traveling. A week prior to traveling pack your travel nutrition kit. Be sure to include a water bottle, sandwich or portable meal, fruits (fresh, dried, or juice), sports bars, crackers, dry cereal, and/or bagels. The single most important step in eating well when traveling is to take control of your food choices.
Alyson Dykstra, R.D L.D. CPT