As school lets out and summer begins, family trips, camp and lots of free time can mean a more lax eating schedule and menu for kids. How can parents keep them on track during carefree summer activities?
CEO of Funky Monkey Snacks Matt Herzog shares some of his tips:
- Don’t forget breakfast! It’s easy to forget about this meal when kids get up during the summer and head outside to play immediately. Have quick options on hand, such as oatmeal, yogurt, non-sugary cereal or whole grain toast with peanut butter.
- Try to stay on a schedule. Even though the regimented hours of school are no longer present, try to serve meals at approximately the same time they would have been eaten during the school year. This helps prevent unnecessary snacking and allows the family to plan ahead and spend mealtimes together. This also means that it’s good to still have a set bedtime, even if a bit later, so that everyone is getting plenty of rest.
- When traveling with children, make sure to pack plenty of healthy snacks to have on hand in case you get stuck in traffic, at the airport or someplace where healthy eating options are limited. Pre-cut vegetables, whole grain crackers or homemade trail mix will do the trick.
- Buy personalized water bottles for each child (with their favorite character, sports team, color, etc). This show of personality will help each child want to drink more water – a must for hot summer days. Plus, the individuality will prevent mix-ups about which bottle belongs to which child.
- Limit screen time and find fun activities outside. Movies, television, iPads and video games are all fun, but take advantage of the weather! Start a family garden and let your children choose what to plant so they are invested in helping it grow. Take walks, find hiking trails, bike to get frozen yogurt. Go to the beach and bring the Frisbee.