Cool Meals for the Warm Weather!
When school lets out, routine will fade away into the lazy days of summer. Packing lunches full of fruits, whole grains, and calcium give way to “quick bites” from the ice cream truck, pizza shop, or sandwich shop. The idea of a warm meal falls away and kids look towards popsicles, chips, and cookies. Summer months should give children an opportunity to relax and enjoy a little time outside of the rigidity of “classroom” rules though not run the risk of developing unhealthy eating habits.
Fresh fruits go hand in hand with summer. Encourage healthy eating by taking children on a day trip to a local “pick-your-own” farm. Kids will have a chance to try delicious fruits and exercise as they walk throughout the farm. Once the fruit is home, nannies and parents have the opportunity to try new recipes that encourage healthy eating. Making fruit salads, pure fruit juice, non-fat yogurt smoothies, and fresh fruit skewers, all picked from the farm, are great ways to make meals and snacks exciting and fun.
Another idea is to encourage kids to plant their own garden. They can decide what to grow, learn about caring for seeds, and ultimately picking their own fruits and vegetables. These “personal” farms don’t have to be planted in a large field. Local department and hardware stores sell seeds, the right dirt, and small pots to keep outside in a small area. Giving young children the “farm to table” experience is a fun way to promote healthy eating.
As meal time approaches, transition away from the stove and venture outside to the grill. Grilled chicken, fish, and vegetables are healthy choices for daily dining. There are a variety of fruits & vegetables that can be grilled. Do a “taste test.” Which do you like better, a grilled banana (use bananas that are not over ripe!) or “raw” banana, a grilled pineapple or a raw pineapple? Be mindful of young children near hot grills. Grilling outdoors leads to eating outdoors. Kids love the opportunity to eat outside; they may not realize they’re still on the same healthy eating plan.