Today’s article is a guest post from my friend Jennifer McGregor. It’s a great read with helpful resources. Big shout out to Jennifer!!!
Summer is a time that kids look forward to all year: no school, staying up late, sleeping in, hanging out at the pool — all the fun stuff. Summer is also when there is an abundance of fresh and delicious options. Take advantage of all the produce available and follow this guide to help you put together a healthier diet.
Include Your Kids
One way to encourage healthy eating among your family over the summer is to include your kids in the planning and grocery shopping, which can also be educational.
Take your children with you to the store or farmers market and have them help you select items and cross them off your grocery list. As you choose each fruit and vegetable, quiz them on it and allow them to observe the texture, size, and weight. Discuss with them how you will use each item in that week’s meal plan, and ask if they have any ideas. You can even have your kids help you prepare meals. There is no better way to get your child involved in healthy eating than to let them get involved. When your kids are invested in meal planning and cooking, they’re likely to try and enjoy new healthy foods, as per Shelf Cooking.
Healthy snacks will increase energy levels and reduce boredom. One way to truly include your kids is to make a kids’ snack garden with them. Involve your kids from the beginning. Ask them what vegetables they would like to grow, work with them to get the ground ready, let them plant the seeds, and explain to them their responsibilities in taking care of their garden. You want to explain things as much as possible, so they can learn as much as they can.
Once the produce is harvested, the kids can not only help with the cooking, but they’ll even have the first bite too. This is a great way for kids to learn and be more comfortable with vegetables while allowing you to spend a ton of quality time with them over the summer break.
Switch It Up
Another way to ensure your family eats healthy is to make it fun by switching it up a little. For instance, if enchiladas are on your agenda for the night, try swapping out the tortillas for cabbage leaves. That way, you still get the best parts of the enchiladas while cutting back on carbs and adding a vegetable.
If your kids love the classic french fries and ketchup combo, opt for a crispy herbed tomato gratin as a meal’s side item. Light bread crumbs mimic the texture of fries — this dish has a ton of flavor and is a much healthier option.
Have Fruit for Dessert
It’s OK to have dessert with every dinner. Just make sure it’s healthy! Instead of promising ice cream and cake every night, designate those for special occasions and get creative with summer fruits. Watermelon is full of nutrition and it’s great for hydration during the hot summer days. It’s also good by itself or when combined with pretty much any other fruit. If you want to go for a flashier dessert, easily prepare rainbow fruit skewers. They’ll be fun and satisfying for everyone. Breakfast meals are a great start to the day, as well as another opportunity to take advantage of summer fruits. For example, add strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, or cherries to your oatmeal, cereal, and pancakes and taste the goodness.
Summer is the best time of year when it comes to fresh produce and healthy eating options. Embrace the season and take advantage of all it has to offer. Plan your meals, include your kids, switch things up, and utilize fruit in your desserts and breakfast meals.
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