How to Help Kids Eat Healthy this Summer

Fresh vegetables are important components of a...

Follow these easy steps to help incorporate healthy foods into your child’s diet this summer. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Summer means camp, swimming, and lots of unsupervised meals.  During the school year, what kids eat is more controlled.  They eat breakfast at home or school, lunch at school, and dinner with their families.  School lunches are designed to be nutritious and well-balanced but even when kids bring their lunches; parents know what they are taking.  All these factors mean it is easier to make sure that children are eating the right amount of healthy food while school is in session.  But when summer comes, it can be more difficult to stay on top of your child’s diet.

Make sure your child is getting the right amount of the right foods this summer by following these easy how to steps.

1.     Meal Planning

Don’t let summer be completely carefree.  You can keep your kids eating healthy all year long by making meal planning a priority.  Planning ahead means you will always have what you need to make healthy meals and that you can stock your kitchen with healthy lunches and snacks.

2.     Easy Options

Whether your children will be at home all day or out and about at camp or with a caregiver, make eating healthy as easy as possible.  Consider how easy a food is to eat while on the go, how much prep time it takes, and whether or not it can sit in a lunch bag all day without refrigeration.  Keep summer simple by making eating healthy easier.

3.     Likability

One mistake parents often make is trying to get their children to eat healthy foods because they are healthy.  But the reality is, if your child doesn’t like something, they aren’t going to eat it.  If they are at day camp, they are going to trade it away.  If they are at home, they are going to skip it and eat something they like.  Rather than picking food solely because it is healthy, focus on finding healthy options that your child likes.

4.     Bring vs. Buy

Another hazard of summer is our tendency to eat out.  Whether you are at the ballpark watching your favorite team or simply looking for a cool place for your child to play, bringing your food from home rather than eating fast food is your best bet.  Swapping carrot sticks for French fries will help you keep your child’s healthy eating habits going strong all summer long.

5.     Grill

A great way to help everyone in the family eat healthier is to make most of your evening meals outside.  Grilling meat not only gives it great flavor but is a healthy way to fill your diet with protein.  Chicken, beef, pork, and even fish are great when cooked on the grill.  Toss some veggies with a little olive oil and grill them too for a great dinner everyone in the family will love.

When it comes to helping kids eating healthy all summer, the keys are to plan ahead, pick things they like, and pay attention to what they are eating.

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