School is almost out for the summer, and, honestly, I’m not really looking forward to that. Yes, I will love having all three of my kids home, but I keep thinking about two things:
- I’m going to be refereeing a whole lot more!
- My grocery bill is going to skyrocket in two weeks.
What is it about kids being home all day that makes them so hungry? Sure, I’m the dietitian, and I should be providing the answers, not asking the questions. I think we can all agree that it’s tough being asked for something to eat all day, so here are a few things I plan to work on this summer to help my own children eat right while they’re home.
As with adults, when we are bored we tend to want to eat more—kids are no exception. So still trying to have routine or schedule during the summer can help alleviate the feeling of always being “hungry.” (Note: I do believe there’s nothing wrong with kids being bored and having to figure out things to do for themselves. However, a daily routine will still help keep them from boredom snacking.)
Having a snack drawer in the fridge and in the cabinets will allow the kids to go help themselves. However, you’ll have to make sure the snacks are ready to go, so here are tips for having the food prepared and portioned out.
For the fridge:
- Cut up strawberries, watermelon, cucumber, celery, peppers
- Blueberries, grapes, baby carrots, pea pods, grape/cherry tomatoes
- Fruit cups of peaches, pears, applesauce, mandarin oranges
- Hard boiled eggs, string cheese, sliced cheese, Greek yogurt, hummus, single-serving containers of natural peanut/almond butter
For the cabinet/drawer:
- 100 calorie packs of nuts
- Single-portion baggies of cheese its, pretzels, goldfish crackers, animal crackers, vanilla wafers, trail mix
- Single-serving containers of peanut butter
- Suckable applesauce, applesauce cups, fruit cups
Having the kids “play” with their food takes time for the kids and also can get them exposed to new foods.
- Try having kid’s string fruit and cheese onto a stick or necklace. No more candy necklaces required.
- Make watermelon popsicles, with slices of watermelon and popsicle sticks.
- Create playful scenes with vegetables. Check out com for more information—such a cute idea!
- Have your child help an adult make fruit ice cream, popsicles and smoothies.
- Make a meal on a stick, such as pizza kabobs with pita, mozzarella cheese, pepperoni, vegetables and pizza sauce.
Help your children incorporate physical activity into their daily routine. Keeping kids active will help keep their minds off food and prevent weight gain over the summer. My personal goal is for the kids to have a set number of minutes of activity before they can have screen time. Now, realistically, I know this is not going to work every day, but it’s certainly something to work toward and on. As my motto goes, progress not perfection.
Hydration is often overlooked on a day at home and more thought about when out and about. However, this is one of the most important things for both kids and ourselves during the summer. Plain water is most certainly the best option, but with all these great fruits and vegetables coming in, experiment with fruit infusing waters.