Guest Blog: Healthy Eating during Summer by Dylan Foster
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Healthy Eating Tips to Keep Your Family Happy All Summer
When summer vacation comes along, family routines are quickly thrown off and unhealthy temptations are all too common. This makes it difficult to keep your family on a healthy eating plan through the summer. Fortunately, you can help your kids and yourself eat healthy during those long, hot days with some simple tips and tricks.
Why Eat Healthy?
According to the USDA, eating a healthy dietreduces your risk of developing chronic diseases and supports the maintenance of your body. Encouraging your family to eat healthy will help them avoid certain types of cancers, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes. Plus, reaching for fruits and veggies instead of high-calorie foods will help your family avoid issues with obesity.
On top of this, eating healthy has various mental health benefitsas well. For example, a diet high in omega-3 fatty acids can help reduce symptoms of depression and ADHD. Also, the nutrients in leafy greens have been found to fight insomnia and daytime fatigue. The state of our mental healthis highly dependent on how we approach life and how we cope with our emotions. Eating healthy and drinking plenty of water is key to adopting this healthy lifestyle.
Get Your Kids Involved in Meal Prep
Involving kidsin the cooking process is a great way to get them interested in new foods and encourage them to try new things. They're more likely to try the finished dish if they helped make it. While you're cooking, discuss with your children how different forms of protein or veggies help their bodies and brains function well. You can even grow a garden over the summer if you have the space. This will get kids excited about where their foods come from and they may be more adventurous when it comes to trying vegetables.
Find Healthy Alternatives to Junk Food
During the summer, your family is bound to crave some sugar and salt. Make sure you don't fall for temptations by having junk food close at hand. Instead, try out some online recipes for healthier alternatives you can make at home. Make frozen, dark-chocolate-covered banana pops instead of keeping ice cream in your freezer. Try making kale chips instead of buying potato chips. Add some fruit juice to sparkling water instead of offering your children soda.Cook Smartshas several more great ideas if you need inspiration.
Plan Ahead for Busy Days
Although it may seem like the long days of summer are endless, you’ll likely spend them driving your kids to various activities and entertaining them at home. Because of this, it can be difficult to find the time to prepare healthy meals every day. Plan ahead by making large portions ofoven-ready mealsthat you can just pull out of the freezer on busy days.
Have Quick Healthy Snacks on Hand
Pre-chop a bunch of fruit and veggies so you cangrab a snackfor your family whenever they start complaining of hunger. This will keep you from reaching for convenient, pre-packaged snacks. Try making hummus for a protein-packed veggie dip. Pre-cut fruit and keep it in a freezer bag so you can make delicious smoothies in minutes. Homemade trail mix is another great snack option that kids are sure to love.
Help Your Kids Learn About Nutrition
Aside from teaching your kids about nutrition while they’re helping you in the kitchen, the Internet is another great learning tool. There are plenty of sites offeringgames for kids, focused on healthy eating. You can also take your kids to farms or on factory tours so they can see where different types of foods come from and what goes into processed foods. These activities can teach them to make healthy choices on their own.
Keeping on track with healthy eating through the summer doesn't have to be a struggle. Find fun alternatives to junk food, keep healthy meals in easy reach, and teach your kids about nutrition. That way, your family can enjoy a long summer full of healthy energy and happiness.
Dylan Foster is a writer at healthwellwise.com. He enjoys writing about topics related to how our homes affect our health and happiness. When he isn’t writing for the website, he works as an office assistant and enjoys hiking local trails with his dog, Samson.