Eating healthy can often get overlooked in the summer when kids are out of school and free to snack throughout the day. Busy parents often resort to fast food and sandwiches in order to avoid heating up the oven on a hot evening. However, eating well doesn’t have to be a stressful or a time-consuming endeavor. Summertime is the best time to overhaul your menu since there is an abundance of delicious and healthy seasonal fruits and vegetables. The key is to plan a health-conscious menu and stick to it throughout the week so you won’t be tempted to grab a bucket of chicken or a bag of burgers on the way home from work.
Having healthy snack options available is a good idea. When things are easily accessible, kids are more likely to grab them from the fridge or pantry, including pre-cut fruits, individual string cheese, trail mix or nuts.
Keep reading for some great tips on how to help your family eat healthy this summer.
Go to your local farmer’s market for the best fresh fruits and vegetables, eggs, honey, and meats this summer. These offerings are often organic and pesticide-free, meaning you’ll get all the health benefits of fresh foods plus peace of mind that your family will be supporting local farmers. Look for seasonal items such as tomatoes, corn on the cob, peppers, and apples, and research healthy meals that will utilize those ingredients.
Make a Snack Drawer
Your kids will love having their own snack drawer in the fridge where they can easily access healthy drinks, string cheese, pre-cut fruit, veggies and dip. Having these items at home in an easy to grab drawer will help them make healthier choices; leaving the chips, cookies, and soda out of the cart when you go grocery shopping.
Rather than buying popsicles -- which are essentially just sugar-water -- invest in popsicle molds and make your own using 100% fruit juice. If your kids don’t like vegetables, look for ways to add them into a meal where they won’t be as noticeable. You can finely chop vegetables and add into a meatloaf or mash cauliflower instead of potatoes as a side. Getting creative in the kitchen will help your family find ways to eat healthfully that won’t break the bank.
Make It Fun
We all deal with stress and anxiety now and then, and the things we eat and drink are just as important for our mental health. Making meals together as a family can be fun and a great way to bond and relax. Create relish trays full of fresh foods, dips or hummus for dinner rather than cooking a hot and heavy meal. Make turkey wraps and have a picnic in the living room. Mixing your meals with ways to relax can help boost your mental health and help you feel more fulfilled and joyful. For more on how you can focus on your mental health in a positive way, click here.
Helping your family eat healthy this summer is a great way to teach them to make better choices. Healthy habits can last a lifetime. Half the battle is knowing how to stock your fridge and pantry. Make a list and stick to it when you go shopping to avoid impulse purchases. With a good plan intact, you and your loved ones can have a fun and healthy summer.
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