Summer is a perfect time to focus on getting healthy, especially for kids. Read this list for healthy ideas for your family that take little effort and can make a big difference.
5 Tips for a Healthy Family This Summer:
- Buy healthy food that’s in season. During the summer, there are plenty of healthy foods available in the store and at the farmer’s markets. Take advantage of this abundance of produce and give your kids fruit at meals and for snacks instead of packaged foods. Make salads a staple for lunch or dinner. Use fresh, cool vegetables that taste great on hot days such as cucumbers, celery, bell peppers, and spinach leaves. Mix it up and make summery green salads with fruit accents, such as spinach tossed with strawberries, blueberries, or grapes.
- Take advantage of the weather and get active. There is no better time to get free, fun physical activity than when the weather is nice. Encourage your child to play outdoor games like basketball or baseball with neighborhood friends. Take walks with them in the morning or evenings. Get a pool pass and use it weekly. Sign your kids up for sports like tennis, baseball, gymnastics, or swim lessons. Give them opportunities to get active around the yard by providing them with sports equipment or other outdoor games.
- Hydrate healthy. Encourage kids to drink plenty of water during the summer and limit the sugary beverages that you keep in the house. Sweetened electrolyte replacement drinks are not necessary for normal childhood activity. We get all the electrolytes and nutrients we need by eating three meals each day with two small snacks.
- Set goals to achieve before school starts again. Have the kids help you make a “Summer 2013 To-Do List” that includes fun activities to check off that also have a healthy twist. You could include activities like paddle-boating, riding bikes, eating outdoors, making homemade popsicles (using fruit purees), exploring new parks, making summer smoothies for breakfast, and growing vegetables in a garden.
- Have fun! Help your kids make the most out of summertime. Discourage them from getting lazy and sitting in front of the TV or computer. Don’t let them use boredom as an excuse. Instead, give them plenty of opportunities to play creatively with things like jump ropes, sidewalk chalk, sprinklers in the yard, or time at the park or pool. If they claim boredom despite these opportunities, offer them an alternative: house chores. Kids should thrive on free play and social interactions, and summertime is the perfect platform for that. If your child struggles in these areas, consider a making an appointment with a social worker who can help your child and/or involve them in a peer social group.
If you are looking for more support and education on how kids can get healthy this summer, make an appointment with one of our registered dietitians. We can help your child find joy in being healthy and make a difference this in their health this summer.