While summertime goes hand-in-hand with hotdogs and ice cream, you should still be making an effort to keep your family on the healthy track despite occasional indulgences. While this can seem difficult to do when you’ve got copious barbecues scheduled with friends and family, travel on the books, and everyone’s schedule is different, it’s not impossible. Here are some ways you and your family can still have fun in the sun without completely derailing your healthy habits.
Build a Raised Vegetable Garden
You don’t need a green thumb to implement a vegetable garden in your backyard — especially when you’re building a raised model. The best part is many of the tasks (outside of the actual frame construction) can be conducted with your kids, so they’ll gain a sense of pride and accomplishment while being able to enjoy the fruits (rather, vegetables) of their labor. This can make it easier to get them to enjoy veggies because they were a part of the growing process.
Skip the grocery store and head to your local farmers market with your kids instead. There are several benefits of such an experience, including learning about and sampling new food, meeting the farmers and talking about the process of farming, becoming privy to what it means to eat in season, and perhaps the most obvious pro — eating healthier! Of course, it’s also important that your kiddos learn the importance of supporting the community, too.
Between fast food and gas station fare, it can be extremely difficult to eat healthfully while on the road. Reduce the temptation to subject you and your family to less-than-nutritious meals by pre-preparing and packing healthy eats — but get creative so that mealtime is still enjoyable. For example, avocado-egg salad sandwiches with pickled celery, hummus club sammies, avocado and tomato grilled cheese (they’re good cold, too!), DIY trail mix, popped popcorn with various seasonings, healthy protein muffins, etc. Of course, you’re going to want to go to a restaurant every once in a while, so download an app to help you find healthy suggestions in the area. Let your kids splurge on one thing in the meal, so say fries or ice cream, but not both.
Family meals are connected with making healthier food choices. With that in mind, even though everyone’s schedule is a bit erratic during the summer months, make an effort to sit around the table together and enjoy a nutritious meal. Of course, between camp, sleepovers, soccer practice, and your work schedule, this may not always be possible. Prevent your kids (or even spouse) from retreating to the kitchen to grab the first available thing to eat. Pre-prepare a meal that reheats well, and portion things out so that it’s easier for everyone to quickly warm something up. Pre-chop veggies and fruit so that it’s easily within reach come snack time.
Bring a Healthy Dish to Share
Meat-heavy barbecues with creamy sides can derail one’s diet and throw off regular eating habits, so if you’re invited to a meal, bring a healthy dish to share. There’s no reason why you have to rely on the boring veggie tray either. Whip up a salad using a variety of power ingredients (think avocados, grapefruit segments, shrimp, tomatoes, etc.) that pleases the palate as well as the eye. Keep the dressing on the side so it doesn’t become soggy in transit. You can also make a healthier version of a popular dish, such as chicken enchiladas in cabbage rolls. This meal combines protein from lean meat with delicious veggies.
Be sure to invest in the right cookware so that it’s easier to prep healthy meals. You may not think about it, but every pot and pan really does have a specific purpose. While you may spend a bit up front, quality cookware will heat better, last longer, and make your meals tastier by being properly cooked.
Just because your summer schedule is beyond hectic doesn’t mean your diet has to suffer. Take some steps, including planning meals and getting your hands on some quality cookware, to ensure you and your family are staying healthy all summer long.
By Dylan Foster of healthwellwise.com
Photo Credit: Pixabay