As back to school nears, you may be less inclined to get your kids to eat healthfully. Many parents get to the end of their line come August, just ready for the little buggers to head on back to school that their eating habits are usually the last things on their minds.
This is why I wanted to share with you a great list from TheDietChannel.com on five ways to keep your kids healthy during the last days of summer:
- Make breakfast a must. Yes, breakfast is still one of the most important meals of the day! Studies show that eating breakfast provides important nutrients that children need for growth and development, helps them maintain a healthy weight as they get older, and helps them perform better in school according to a recent review of research published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association. So, just because they're not rushing off to school in the morning doesn't mean they don't need a wake up call!
- Plan a fruit-filled activity. Encourage kids to have fun eating and learning about healthful food. A family trip to a fruit farm, where children can pick their own fruits and veggies, or a local farmer's market, where kids are exposed to locally grown produce, teaches kids where their food comes from and encourages more adventurous food choices. Visit PickYourOwn.org to find a "pick your own farm" in your area.
- Stock up on healthful snacks. Snacking has gotten a bad rap from typical "snack foods" like fried chips, cookies, and sugary drinks that offer little nutrition. But eating the right types of snacks is a great way for kids to get important nutrients like calcium, magnesium, and vitamin C. Since kids are in and out doing summer activities, have plenty of healthful "grab-n-go" snacks on hand. Stock up on string cheese; low-fat yogurt; homemade fruit, nut, and cereal trail mix; whole grain granola bars; fresh fruit; frozen 100% fruit juice pops; 94% fat-free microwave popcorn; and sliced veggies and hummus.
- Think outside the kitchen. Grilling is a great way to cook up healthful, kid-approved dishes that don't include the usual hot dog and hamburger stand-bys (and keep your kitchen cool at the same time!)
- Don't let good food go bad. According to the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), foodborne illness increases during the summer thanks to warm, moist weather and more outdoor activities.