Are you ready for summer? Ready or not, it is here! The summer break and pool season officially begin this Memorial Day weekend!
For some people it makes no difference. But for parents with school-age kids (especially younger ones), it means a little (or a lot) more chaos than usual: kids playing and running in and out, always hungry and wanting a snack or a meal, occasional boredom rants, maybe a little whining when it comes to chore time, etc. It can seem like you're ALWAYS in the kitchen making food, serving food, and cleaning it up.
So what do you do?
Make a plan! Even if you don't have kids, these are great tips to incorporate into your daily routine!
5 Tips for Healthfully Surviving the Summer Break:
1. Plan & serve 3 nutritious meals a day + 2 snacks. You are not a 24-hour buffet service. Always include protein and a fruit or veggie with every meal, using different colors as much as possible. Capitalize on the bounty of fresh foods available during the summer to eat the rainbow every day.
2. Keep snacks simple and minimal. Always include a fruit and/or veggie and a protein: sliced fruit and nut butter, yogurt, cottage cheese or cubes of cheese; chopped veggies and hummus; hard-boiled eggs; a handful of pretzels, a handful of grapes, and a handful of nuts; or fruit/veggie smoothies and slushes.
3. Prepare snacks and lunches at night for the next day. If it's all portioned out beforehand, it will help keep everyone from overeating/making less-than-stellar food decisions.
4. Plan active time every day for yourself and with your kids. Get a workout in for yourself every day. Then with your kids, go for a nature walk, hike or a bike ride; swim; visit a museum; make an obstacle course; go to the park and play WITH your kids (not just sit and watch them); do relay races (like sack races, wheelbarrow races); hold a jump rope or hula hoop contest; plant a garden and work in it together. Use your imagination and let your kids help plan activities too!
5. Involve your children in meal planning, shopping and prep. This helps them be more likely to eat/try new foods. It is also a wonderful opportunity to talk to them about all the nutritional benefits of the different foods you are making together! Plus it helps them appreciate just how much time it takes to plan, shop, prepare, serve and clean up meals and snacks! (They will probably be more likely to keep them simple too!)
Summer doesn't last forever, and before you know it, those cute kids will be back in school. Utilize this precious time to build memories and healthy habits that your kids will carry with them throughout their lives!