Are you looking for ways to keep your family healthy this summer? Making healthy food choices is the first step in maintaining overall health and wellness. Studies show that a healthy diet reduces the risk of disease, obesity, and other health issues. Help your family stick to wholesome meals and snacks this summer by using these simple tips.
Spend Time Cooking Together
Healthy eating is a great way to keep your family in shape. Choosing to eat healthfully can also have positive benefits for your mental health; how we choose to eat, love, and deal with stress, depression, anxiety, and sadness impacts our mental health. One of the easiest ways to ensure your food is healthy is to prepare it yourself. Plan out some summer cooking sessions with your family to create nutritious meals together. You can pick up specialty kitchen tools for little ones and even find recipes that are easier for kids to tackle. Teaching your kids to cook is a great way to help them stay healthy now and as adults.
Scan Farmers Markets for Fresh Finds
For a fun way to find fresh, healthy foods, spend your weekends visiting some local farmers markets. By buying produce, baked goods, and other staples at farmers markets, you will help support your local economy as well as find some unique foods. To get kids in on the action, try creating some games for them to play at the market. Come up with a scavenger hunt to look for unusually shaped produce or herbs that are new to your household. Use these items to create tasty dishes that will help keep your family healthy.
Use Meal Prep to Stay on Track
Summer doesn’t always mean your schedule gets more relaxed. In fact, with all the road trips, holidays, and events, summers can be busier than any other time of year. One way you can keep your busy family on track with food is to meal prep. Most people find it helpful to set aside a few hours one day a week (typically Sunday) to put together all of their meals and snacks for the rest of the week. This keeps your fridge and pantry stocked with ready-to-go, good-for-you options that help everyone stay healthy when schedules get packed.
Grow Healthy Food Yourself
If you want to keep kids busy, learning, and eating healthy this summer, why not start a family garden? Using raised beds or containers, you can easily grow healthy food in your backyard or on your porch. Kids can help plant seeds, care for the garden, and harvest items when they are ready. Growing a garden can be a good stress reliever for kids and adults alike while helping children learn about the science of growing food.
Bring Your Own Food on Trips
Summer vacations and road trips typically leave your family eating tons of fast food. But you can put a stop to these unhealthy eating habits by packing your own meals and snacks. Bring a cooler full of simple travel-friendly foods to avoid depending on drive-throughs and diners during your trip. If you’ll be flying to your summer destinations, stashing food in your carry-on bag can save you from all the salt and sugar (and overpriced options) lurking in airports. Check TSA rules for what you can bring and be prepared to take food out during screenings.
Pay Attention to Hydration
As the temperatures rise, it’s more important than ever to make sure your family is staying hydrated. Dehydration can cause cramping, headaches, and even hunger for your family members. So pick up some reusable water bottles for you and the kids and keep them filled so you can drink throughout the day. Avoid sports drinks and juices, which seem healthy but can actually contain a day’s worth of sugar in a single serving.
Helping your family make healthy food choices doesn’t have to cause stress this summer. Some simple planning and a bit of creativity are all it takes to keep your family healthy, happy, and having fun all summer long.
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Barbara is a qualified nutritionist offering Health, Nutrition & Lifestyle Counseling. She gives Healthy weight loss advice and promotes the Mediterranean diet. She is the author of the Med Life Diet - creating healthy lifestyle habits and attitudes for life !