School's-out nutrition tips
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by Jeni Tackett, Registered Dietitian, Trinity Medical Center
Summer break presents some new challenges for healthy eating. Summer means more time to play outside but can also result in bad eating habits for children. The rate of childhood obesity is increasing and children can gain weight quickly over summer break. Set your family up for healthy eating all summer long.
Here are 5 tips for healthy eating this summer:
- Do not fall prey to convenience foods. If you have kids at home in the summer while you’re working, it may be tempting to buy poptarts, lunchables, and other easy-to-grab foods. Resist the urge! Buy high fiber cereals that kids like (my children love Cheerios and Wheaties). Cut watermelon into cubes and keep at the front of the refrigerator (what kid doesn’t love watermelon?)
- Avoid the concession stand trap. You may find yourself at the ball fields or swimming pool a lot this summer. Plan ahead so that you don’t eat concession stand food all day. Bring a small cooler with sandwiches, fruits, and veggies. Give your kids a set amount of money to use at the concession stand. Then the child has to budget his or her money and limit the unhealthy snacks for the day.
- Push water. It’s easy to grab pop when you’re out and about in the summer. Instead, talk to your children about the importance of drinking water instead of soda pop. Having pop occasionally as a treat is ok, but the extra calories from pop are affecting the health of all Americans.
- Plan your eating on vacation Do not set out on a long car trip without healthy foods in your car. Children are destined to get hungry on the road (parents too), so pack a cooler with grapes, cheese, sandwiches, and baby carrots. Buy foods you know your family likes. You will have to eat out at times, but you can arm your family with healthy foods along the way.
- Make late night snacking healthy. Kids stay up later in the summer and can start the bad habit of eating unhealthy snacks at night. Ice cream is a popular food in the summer time, but don’t get in the habit of having a big bowl of ice cream every evening while you watch TV. Buy fudgescicles or small ice cream cups to control portions. Having a fresh fruit like strawberries is an even better choice.
Make a big splash this summer with healthy choices for you and your family.
|Jeni Tackett is a registered dietitian at Trinity Medical Center and the Two Rivers YMCA. Jeni majored in Nutrition and Dietetics at East Carolina University in Greenville, North Caroline. She lives East Moline with her husband, Nathan and their two children, Noah and Lily and two dogs. Jack
and Lola.For a listing of all of Jeni’s blog posts on MVHNews, click here.