Summer Foods for Healthy Kids
School is out and summer is in full swing. These are the days of lazy mornings, water fun and all day kitchen access~~What, not your ideal summer schedule? I get it. It can seem when kids are home all day that our good intentions toward food can slide like the one at the playground.
No worries! With a little bit of planning and some strategic conversations, we can guide our kids to keep up those healthy habits even with the less structure of summer.
1. Get Kids Involved.
The slower days of summer are a great time to get kids involved in meal planning and picking produce. At our house I make the week's menu and grocery list on Sunday nights. Ask kids what they would like to eat. For readers, flip through a cookbook or recipe website together and find some new things to try. For all ages, a trip to the farmer's market is a great way to find some new favorites or revisit some old friends.
My kids love melons. In my opinion, they only taste good in summer so we keep one around during warm weather. I am seeing more unique varieties. Last year we loved the Kiss Melon. Oh, and the name gets kids' attention too! Start where you are and add a serving of fruit or veggie to each meal. Why not have fruit for dessert in the summer time? Get creative with fruit or veggie designs on the plate. Let the kids make their own dinner plate art. Who says you cannot play with your food?
2. Grow Something Together. Did you know you can grow lettuce, herbs and even a bean plant in a small pot on a window sill? It's a proven fact, kids eat what they grow. I love our Tower Garden for this reason. They help me look through the seed catalog, plant seeds and harvest. Makes this mama's heart super proud to see them pick tomatoes and cucumbers from the vine and eat them right in the yard! Click to learn more about Tower Garden.
3. Reward What You Want More Of.
We know, it's the oldest parenting trick in the books. Well maybe right after, "Because I told you so". LOL! But seriously, we know kids love an "atta-boy" and some recognition. Big people do too! If you're like me, you love a sticker chart, checklist, or family project. I love this one by the Healthy Living Revolution. You can get the free download from my contact page. They have age appropriate sticker charts, certificates of completion and even coloring pages to get kids minds on eating fruits and veggies.
4. Don't Try to be Perfect.
Summer should be about fun. Not a bunch of rules and "eat this, not that". Just strive to get more fruits and veggies in. Have fun with your food. The thing that relieves so much mommy guilt in the kitchen are our fruit and veggie chewables. Hubby and I order the capsules and the kids get their's for FREE. It's not a substitute for healthy eating, but it sure does fill in the gaps! And, we have seen our cravings for produce really improve! My hubby would have never touched pineapple before this! Amazing.
I'll be posting some more ideas throughout the summer. In the meantime, I'd love to hear from you! What are some things that are working for your family? What seems to be a struggle? I bet one of us in this Forkfighter tribe has dealt with that and has an idea to share!