Today I am hosting Brandon Butler, one of our regular guest bloggers. He’s sharing four great ways to encourage healthy eating this summer.
How Your Family Can Eat Healthy All Summer Long
Think you don’t have an influence on what your kids eat? Think again.
Research suggests that parents have a significant impact on what kids eat — particularly in their early years. While the best solution is to nip bad habits in the bud, it’s never too late to institute a healthy regimen.
Summer can present multiple temptations, but you can still enjoy the season without sacrificing your family’s health.
- Be Mindful Of Snacking
Despite the fact that it’s a debatable topic amongst pros in the health industry, mindless (and unhealthy) snacking can upend healthy eating habits. Aside from weight gain and the possibility of consuming an unbalanced diet, other risks include memory and learning problems, increased risk of dementia, inability to control appetite, chemical changes that lead to depression, and the risk of uncontrollable cravings.
However, between road trips and summer activities, craving a snack is not out of the realm of possibilities. With that in mind, opt for healthy alternatives, such as a gut-healthy guac (with yogurt or sauerkraut), chopped veggies and hummus, fresh (or grilled) fruit kabobs, whole grain crackers and string cheese, low-fat yogurt, etc.
- Create Healthier Versions Of Summer Favorites
Everyone loves a grilled burger and ice cream cone come summertime, but there’s no doubt that the calories can add up quickly when consuming such warm-weather delicacies. Instead of denying yourself—and your family—these culinary pastimes, opt for making healthier alternatives.
If unconventional recipes such as sweet potato salad aren’t your thing, consider small changes, such as swapping out highly-caloric mayonnaise, fatty ground chuck, kettle chips, and full-fat ice cream with lower-calorie versions — but don’t’ be afraid to treat yourself and your loved ones once in a while. Experts agree that occasional splurges prevent a decrease in metabolic rate, prevent binges, and help maintain a healthy lifestyle for the long term.
- Head To The Farmers Market
Aside from the visual stimuli that are incomparable to a grocery store, taking your kids to the farmers market teaches them what real food is, the importance of seasonality, and what goes into a meal.
Allow your kids to choose specific fruits and vegetables that appeal to them visually and taste-wise so that they can get excited about eating healthy foods. Talk about the origin of the produce, different preparation methods, and how such foods help in their daily activities, from sports to sleeping to functioning at school.
- Cook Together
Not only is cooking an important life skill every youngster should know, it’s also a fun family activity to do together. Combine the two previous points (healthy food alternatives and the farmers market) to teach your kids how to make healthier preparations of their favorite dishes while speaking to them about the difference between the original and your newfound creations.
Cooking is also a good opportunity to point out the importance of eating whole, quality foods versus goods that come out of a can or a box in the frozen section of the grocery store. Give your kids age-appropriate tasks to complete during the prep and/or cooking process so that they have a sense of satisfaction when the meal is served.
Eating is only half the battle. Staying active with your family is a key component to staying healthy, too. There are copious ways to have fun with the family, including day trips, walking in your neighborhood after dinner, dancing, riding bikes, hiking, strolling around the zoo, going for a picnic, and simply horsing around in the backyard by camping out or playing kick ball.