Dietitian-approved delicious and nutritious snack ideas for moms and kids during the summer.
We’re deep into summer holidays now and as much as I love my kids and the holidays, routine is often lost and schedules are much more flexible. Gone is the structure of school, which helped frame meals and snacks. What I am left with is a few hungry and hyper kids who are vibrating with excitement at the thought of playing outside all day long! In preparation for the summer storm I have come up with my top five tips to keep cool (and sane) this summer holiday. Here are my top 5 tips:
We all know meal planning is the best way to keep family meal times stress-free, or as stress-free as possible, but it’s a strategy that often gets ignored. I am guilty of meal planning neglect – I admit it. There’s nothing worse than looking in the fridge and having zero clue what to prepare, and worse still, not having the ingredients to prepare anything! Meal times at my house are not perfect – we have had our share of “breakfast for supper” or thankfully enough ingredients to make one of these easy weeknight meals, but with the summer schedule filling up I have decided to make meal planning a priority. So get a calendar with me and start jotting down some ideas. Feel free to share your ideas on my Facebook page!
Keep a schedule:
The crazy thing about summer is that the hours can blend together. It’s easy to wake up in the morning only to blink and it turn into lunch time. Seriously where does the time go!? With kids at home this can be a recipe for disaster. It’s important to keep a meal and snack schedule so that kids (and adults) don’t become “h-angry”. Try to schedule eating times to align with recess and school lunch. This will help keep the kids fuelled throughout the day and will be a nice way to break it up.
Prep nutritious snacks:
Snacks, or as my youngest says “naaacks” are lifesavers. Although I’m a firm believer in structuring snack times so that it’s not a free-for-all, I always have a snack in my bag at all times. You never know when you’ll need one, right? And, let’s be honest–kids love snacks. With the kids at home, it’s important to be strategic. Make them in advance for easy grab-and-go snack options. I’m all about multitasking. One of my tricks for grocery shopping is to arrive at the store around snack time. Giving them a snack when we get to the grocery store keeps them occupied and allows me the “quiet time” to quickly grab what we need and go!
Get the kids involved:
You have just inherited little sous chefs for the summer – put them to work! School-aged kids are vocal about what they like, and don’t like. Get them involved in the meal process – from planning to prepping. Kids crave control and will thrive when given a task. Having them choose a side dish and help in the cooking will not only teach them important life skills, but is also a great strategy in helping kids accept and try new foods!
Summer time is fun time. Whether it is summer camps, vacations or park dates, treats tend to be abundant during the summer holidays. When it comes to the number of treats a kid should have per day, there is no set rule. Each family will be different in how they manage treat frequency, but as a parent it is still within your control what is offered and when. In my household, treat foods are offered randomly and are not associated with behaviour or bribery. Rewarding kids with dessert foods because they ate all their veggies clearly communicates that veggies are to be avoided and desserts are to be desired. Although this may work in the short term, in the long term this can lead to an unhealthy relationship with food. My favorite summertime treat is s’mores – because… chocolate!
Here’s to a great summer!