Summer is here, the school year is coming to completion and schedules are blown to pieces. With vacations, camps and summer school it can be hard to make sure the kids are getting enough good things to eat each day.
This summer, get healthy, stay healthy and teach long lasting eating habits with a few helpful tips for nutritious snack that match the spirit of summer.
Make it Healthy Choosing healthy foods is not difficult when you plan in advance. Make it a routine to have a prepared list of healthy food choices when going to the grocery store.
Unless necessary, don’t bring the kids along with you. Kids often misbehave when they are not getting what they want and can make you pick foods you would not otherwise choose.
Also, stick to the outside isles of grocery store, where you can pick from the healthier perishable foods available like fruits, vegetable, meats and cheese.
Make it fun: Kids will eat it if it’s fun. That’s why kid’s foods are packaged in colourful, cartoon-like boxes.
For a change, try using wooden skewers to make fruit and vegetable kebabs; pineapple, banana, and grapes are all perfect. Be sure to cut the sharp point off the skewer with a pair of sharp scissors before serving.
Freeze grapes, banana slices, blueberries or raspberries to make a fun fruit cup or send it frozen with them for a snack that will be thawed perfectly by snack time. Just add a Popsicle stick to each of these, freeze and voila – frozen yogurt-sickle or banana-sicle! Steer clear of children’s yogurt that has added sugar.
Make it healthy calories
Sending a child off to school or other activities with a soda, Sunny-D or other ‘juice’ box type beverage is adding unhealthy and unnecessary calories that have very little, if any, nutritional value, not to mention making your child a dentist’s best friend.
Instead send them off with a fun frozen bottled water or juice that is labelled 100 per cent juice. The bottle can keep other foods cold and should be ready to drink in a few hours. Just remember that the majority of fluids should be water. If you choose sport drinks, dilute to 50 per cent with water because of the high electrolyte and sugar content. Always have the children bring home their bottles for cleaning and re-use.
Get kids involved: Participation in the preparation of the snacks is a sure way to ensure kids are going to eat what is made. It can also help instil long lasting respect for the time, effort and thought that goes into preparing meals.
Spreading peanut butter or almond butter on sliced apples or celery topped with raisins will have them excited and licking their fingers.
Try half a whole grain English muffin with peanut butter and honey, or a slice of their favourite cheese (not processed) with a tomato slice or cucumbers with a drizzle of ranch dressing.
Or have the kids add the ingredients while the parents blend a fruit smoothie with low fat milk, yogurt, and their favourite frozen fruit. Sweeten with honey if necessary. A juicer is also a great way to mix fruits and vegetables into delicious, healthy liquid snacks packed with vitamins and nutrients.