Summer vacation is here, and along with it, a whole new routine for families. This new summer routine may come with a little fear (What do I do with these kids ALL SUMMER LONG?!), but with the right strategies, it can also be full of family fun and healthy summer choices that carry through into the fall.
Keep kids active, healthy and engaged all summer long with these tips for eating healthy and moving more.
Whether you’re planning for kids to be home with a caregiver while you work through the summer, maintaining the school year day care routine or you’ll be staying home with the kiddos through vacation, summer vacation can be a great time to reinforce healthy eating choices.
- Keep healthy food choices on hand and within reach for everyone in the family – precut fruits and veggies, a fruit bowl, small containers of nuts, whole grain crackers, low-fat cheese sticks, turkey rolls and more not only make easy self-serve snacks – they can also mix and match into a well-rounded meal to grab on the go.
- Leave the work to your favorite local restaurants. Not only is eating out fun, but it’s easy to find Healthy Dining and Kids LiveWell choices that everyone can be happy about… all without heating up the kitchen on a hot summer day.
- Get kids involved with family meals and food. Task kids with planning, shopping for and cooking meals with your help for the week based on MyPlate recommendations (even restaurant meals!). Kids learn valuable skills and gain some control in meals while you, hopefully, get to spend more time on something you love.
Summer is loaded with opportunities for kids and parents alike to move more, but it can also be easy to fall into a less-active lifestyle. Head off the urge to laze away the days or evenings with fun ideas like these from SuperKids Nutrition:
- After every 30 minutes of chores, summer reading, or video games, take an activity break! Skip rope, do jumping jacks, or jog in place for 5 minutes to get your blood flowing.
- Bring the kids in the kitchen and teach them how to cook. For some family-friendly meal ideas, check out these quick dinner fixes.
- Hop scotch: Make use of your driveway, sidewalk or nearby pavement at a park and draw a game of hop scotch – make it as big as you can for more hopping!
- Soccer is great for families and friends! All you need is a ball and 4 cones to mark the two goals. Play in a low traffic street area (like a cul-de-sac), at a park, or in your grassy backyard.
- Grab your baseball glove and play some catch! Baseball is a great way to work out your arms and core. Not into baseball? Gather a group of friends and family for a game of whiffle ball.
- Grab as many friends as you can find, stand in a circle on the grass with one friend in the middle, and have a beach ball toss while the person in the middle tries to “capture” the ball. Alternate positions when the ball is captured, and keep going until everyone gets a turn in the middle.
- Have a water balloon toss! Fill up a bucket of water balloons and have your friends pair off into teams of two. Have each pair line up equal distance apart and toss the balloon to their teammate. Each time a teammate catches the balloon, he or she must take a step back to increase the distance between the players. Keep going until there is only one team left with an unbroken balloon!
- Meet at a park to play ultimate Frisbee, or try rollerblading on a paved trail.
- Bike to your favorite local restaurant for breakfast, lunch or dinner instead of driving. Or bike to your local farmer’s market.