Make Summer Snacking FUN!
Summertime is a great time to hit the “reset” button on unhealthy habits picked up during the school year! Getting kids to enjoy healthy foods requires practice and lots of patience. And nothing speeds the process along faster than when it’s fun! Engage your child in hands-on “snack-tivities”, and let them make their own snacks!
Keep a snacking schedule
“I’m bored!” Unless you’re Mary Poppins, keeping our kids entertained 24/7 is impossible. And while it’s tempting to give in to frequent requests for snacks and treats, eating to cure boredom is habit-forming! Instead, provide structure and organization by creating a daily snack schedule, and teach them healthy habits, such as moderation and self-control!
Make it a hands-on experience!
Looking for something fun to do outdoors with your kids? Take them berry picking! Aside from being a fun family bonding experience, picking berries – or any fruit – empowers children with a sense of accomplishment. Building positive associations with healthy foods helps build acceptance – and healthy habits that last!
Avoid the concession digression
Getting out and enjoying the dog days of summer usually involves trips to the beach, the pool, the park – etc.! Concession and vending snacks are often high in price, and low in nutrition! Pack a nutritional punch by planning and packing snacks “to go” – and save your money for gas!
Stock up on fresh fruit
Take advantage of the most bountiful time of the year! Peaches, berries and melons are at their peak! From fruit salads to smoothies, fruit is a must-have staple for healthy summer snacking. And don’t forget – you can freeze fresh fruit, too!
Summer Days & Crudités
Getting kids to eat their veggies has always been a challenge. But don’t give up! Summer is an excellent time to revisit this important stage of healthy habit building by presenting kids with a variety of colorful seasonal vegetables. Try filling a muffin tin with a variety of fresh veggies, and a couple healthy dips like hummus or low fat ranch. Make it fun, and they will come!
Whole grain pastas
A cup of whole grain pasta salad can be a nutritious and easy snack, and with a little creativity – it can be lots of fun, too! Have a batch of cooked pasta on hand, and let your kids “make-their-own”! Fresh veggies, cheeses, fruit and nuts are just some of the ingredients that will make this a “win-win” snack!
Looking for an alternative to full fat ice cream or sugar-laden frozen ices? Engage your kids in a super fun “snack-tivity” with freezer fruit pops! Use cookie cutters to cut out fun shapes from a 1-inch-thick slice of seedless watermelon, insert a popsicle stick into the bottom and place on tin foil and pop it in the freezer!
Be Picky With Processed Snacks
There is a huge assortment of “grab-and-go” snacks available on the market today. While a convenient option to homemade snacks, processed snacks are often high in sugar, salt and fat! When stocking up, check the label! Aim for snacks that contain less than 20% daily value for sodium and fat, and less than 7 grams of sugar per serving!
It’s important to keep our children hydrated during the hot summer months, but instead of reaching for the faucet, our kids reach for the fridge. Too many sweetened beverages not only fail to properly hydrate our kids, but add a lot of empty calories that add up! Limit sweet drinks to 6-8 oz./day, and point them to the best source: Water!
A lifelong advocate for the prevention of childhood obesity and mom of three, Deirdre Pizzoferrato has dedicated much of her career to counseling children and families on healthy habit building. As founder of Beanstalk Express, she provides families with information and resources to develop and maintain healthy habits in the home. She has empowered parents and caregivers with the necessary knowledge to prevent their child from becoming another statistic of childhood obesity.
Through fun revolutionary products, programs and services, Deirdre continues to teach parents to guide their children along the path of healthy habit building during critical periods including infancy, toddlerhood and preschool. Deirdre is a Registered Dietitian Certified in Child and Adolescent Weight Management.