As we settle into the summer routine are your kids settling into a healthy summer snacking routine? David Egerdahl is a registered dietitian with UCHealth Memorial in Colorado Springs and say's without the structure of the school day it can be easy for kids to gravitate to unhealthy snacks. "Kids are pretty independent and when they are home and they are going to go after what they see as the most appealing food choice, so the challenge is getting stuff that is healthy that the kids will still go after in the summer months."
Popular foods like pizza, pizza flavored snacks, potato chips, sugary soda's and energy drinks are items you may not want to stock around the house. It’s easy for kids to go overboard on those kinds of items.
Instead Egerdahl says make a plan to provide your kids with healthy alternatives. "You want to try and get an idea of what kind of fruits and veggies your kids are willing to eat and willing to try, many of the season fruit and berries, grapes are in season stuff like that. It's always good to have a veggie tray prepared so the kids don’t have to cut things up. Have carrots sliced up already, celery, peanut butter to go with some of that, perhaps some guacamole. You can also get creative freezing grapes is a novelty trick instead of those sugary icy treats you can freeze grapes as a cold treat. You can mash up some bananas and put that in the freezer and get a banana ice cream that is more natural with less sugar. Use your imagination and put some thought into it and set up the environment for the kids to make the right decisions, and they will make them."
While it will take extra work to help make the easy snacking choice a health one, Egerdahl adds the payoff will be worth it and you will see a difference in your kids. "They will be more active and have more energy. They will be doing more things, rather than staying in the house and messing it up. Kids will get out and be active and feel the energy and that will set them up for a good school year if they can bring those healthy habits into the school year. They will do better in school, they will do better in sports, and they will do better in their extracurricular activities. Healthy eating makes kids perform better and gives them the energy to do the things they want to do, and that can really set kid up to flourish."
So remember if you take the time to provide your kids the opportunity to build healthy snacking habits when they are young, you’re likely setting up the foundation for a life of healthy eating habits and physical activity.