A nutritionist’s tips for keeping kids healthy and satisfied all season long.
Summer is an important time to plan healthy snacks in advance. So many people are on the go, and it’s tempting to grab unhealthy foods for convenience. While it’s fine to visit the ice cream truck at the sports field once in a while, we shouldn’t make that the primary snack choice on a regular basis.
Keep these tips in mind when packing up healthy and portable snacks for the pool, sports game or road trip:
If your child is always begging to go to the ice-cream shop or truck, stock some healthier options in your freezer such as Chloe’s Fruit Pops, Edy’s Outshine Pops, or Yasso Greek Yogurt Pops (they don’t even taste like yogurt and most kids love them). These pops are all low fat, contain some protein and fiber, and don’t use artificial sweeteners. Summer is the best time for fruit! You can make fruit kebobs, fruit pops or even ice-cream out of bananas!
Kids need to have an adequate calorie intake, based on age, activity level and individual metabolism. Make sure these calories are nutrient dense: with adequate protein for muscle development, calcium for strong bones and fiber for their gastrointestinal system. Kids are drawn to the “white diet” of bagels, pasta and rice, but aim for a rainbow of color throughout the day for the best balance of different vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
If your summer also means a little more free time, have the kids participate in grocery shopping. Or, take them to a farmers market and let them fill up a basket of any fruits and veggies that look appealing to them. It’s a good opportunity to expose them to new foods they might love… and with luck your little taste-testing project will give you some brand new ideas for their school lunch box.
Summer is a great time for practicing mindfulness, and identifying hunger and fullness cues. We should be choosing “strategic snacks” that are healthy and spaced out during the day to control appetite and give ourselves essential nutrients. During the summer, you can help your child identify the difference between physical hunger and emotional eating — eating from stress or procrastinating homework, instead of eating from physical hunger.
You don’t need to make everything from scratch to be healthy – that’s not realistic or practical. There are plenty of healthy snacks that can be purchased for fast choices on the go:
- Hummus and veggie cups
- 0% Greek yogurt
- 100 calorie/individual bags of nuts
- Freeze-dried fruit
- Granola bars with protein and fiber
- String cheese, Laughing Cow or Baby Bell
- Individual bags of Skinny Pop popcorn or Pop Chips
- Squeezable applesauce pouches
- Individual olive cups
- Individual guacamole cups with vegetables
And For Parents Looking for Nutritional Guidance…
Navigating the nuances of nutrition, especially with a hectic lifestyle, can feel daunting. Many busy parents have successfully participated in my online GPS for Weight Loss program, which offers evidence-based, personalized advice that is easy to incorporate, no matter your lifestyle. The program’s 14 modules, 50 bite-sized videos, structured email support and bonus worksheets, guides and other materials cover everything you need to know to lose weight and keep it off. Visit gps.mykajabi.com/gps to learn more.