20 Jul How to Keep Your Kids Healthy Over the Long Summer Months
With school out, it’s easy to slip into vacation mode. It’s easy to let the kids sleep in, chase after ice cream trucks and lounge around the house all day. After all, it’s summer!
Letting them indulge every now and then is perfectly fine, but do not let it become a bad habit. Practice keeping healthy habits all summer long.
Healthy Habits for a Fun Summer
It’s no secret that healthy eating is essential to your child’s growth and development. Eating a balanced diet leads to sharpened minds, higher energy levels and manage weight. Not only that, everything we do, from what we eat and drink to how much we sleep, from how we love to how we cope with stress and sadness has a profound impact on mental health. Though it can be a challenge, keeping strict healthy habits stabilizes moods, decreases the risk of depression and anxiety and boosts confidence.
Depending on their age, each child has their own nutrition needs. However, as a general rule, their diet should consist primarily of fruits and veggies, lean proteins, whole grains and dairy. Check KidsHealth’s guide on what their plate should generally look like at every meal.
Stock Your Home With Healthy Foods
Summer is the time for ice cream by the pool and building s’mores over a campfire. It’s also all too easy for your child to get bored at home and head straight for the snack cabinet. Telling them they can’t have chips or chocolate almost never seems to work and can even backfire, reports Psychology Today. Instead, your best bet is to provide them with plenty of healthy alternatives. Keep plenty of fruits and veggies on hand, you can even try preparing some tasty hummus or tzatziki for them to dip it in.
For younger children who can get their own snacks but may not be ready for knives, pre-cut their healthy meals and place them in an easily accessible spot. The less work they have to do, the more likely they will reach for it.
Enlist Their Help
One of the best ways to get kids to eat healthier is to have them help out in the meal prep. The more involved they are, the more likely they will be to eat what you make. This is even true of picky eaters.
Have them help create the menu with you and bring them to the grocery store. Even better, swing by a local farmers market and pick out the latest seasonal fruits and veggies together. Once home, make them your sous chef. Give them whatever task you feel comfortable giving them. They will feel pride at just being able to help out and will be super excited to eat what you made together.
Keep Them Active
Without school as a part of the routine, summer days can quickly become lazy days. Do not let your kid become a couch potato. Make sure you limit screen time, most experts recommend capping it off at two hours max a day. This applies to educational content, too.
Instead, encourage them to get outside. Help them get involved in a sport or take them to the local pool. Even better if you guys can do an activity together such as a bike ride or an evening walk with the whole family.
Good Habits Last
Though it can often feel like an uphill battle, sticking to healthy habits is well worth the reward. The lessons kids learn now will follow them into adulthood. Plus, when they feel better physically and mentally, they will have a better summer.