By Nutritionist Blogger Jeni Tackett, RD, LD
I have 2 wonderful children, but like all kids, it’s easy for them to slide into some bad habits during the summer, whether traveling on road trips, attending baseball games or reaching for the high-calorie sports drinks on hot days.
Here are ways my family overcomes nutrition challenges every summer:
• Avoid concession stand food. Pack healthy meals and snacks for long days at the pool, park, or sports fields. Cut up melon, pack hummus and carrots, and make sandwiches with whole wheat bread and lean meats or peanut butter.
You and your family will feel so much better if you avoid the processed meats and cheese products from the concession stand!
• Drink water first. Sports drinks like Gatorade and Powerade are very popular during the summer. Sports drinks were designed for individuals exercising or working in the heat for over an hour.
If you are sitting in your air conditioned house in the summer, you don’t need to be guzzling sugary sports beverages.
For adults or children playing sports or exercising outside, a sports drink with sugar and electrolytes is only needed after an hour of exercise with moderate intensity (not walking slowly down the bike path).
• Stock your house with healthy foods. Don’t use summertime as an excuse to buy junk foods. Kids can go from a healthy weight at the end of the school year to being overweight in just one summer!
Cut up fruits and vegetables that you and your children enjoy. Make healthy eating easy, and do not fall into the trap of buying convenience junk foods like Pop-Tarts, cookies, candy, and chips.
• Make a list. Write down healthy lunch and snack ideas for older children who are home on their own. And if you have a sitter, make a list for her/him.
• Cool it on road trips. Summer means vacation time for many families. Don’t hit the road without packing healthy snacks for the trip. Pack a cooler with grapes, low fat string cheese, whole wheat crackers, water bottles, and baby carrots.
When you need to take a break, you can stop at rest areas and enjoy a healthy snack and a walk. Instead of spending money on chips and candy bars at the convenience store, you can fuel your family with healthy foods.
|Meet Jeni Tackett, Let’s Move Quad Cities Nutrition Blogger. Jeni is a registered and licensed dietitian for Rock Valley Health. Jeni counsels her clients on weight loss and nutrition. You can read Jeni’s bio and other blog posts by clicking here.|