Summers mean different things to different people. As the adults gear up with cool clothing and head gears to safeguard themselves, the children get excited to catch up on some outdoor fun or a simple lazy day at the pool. However, with the temperatures soaring these outdoor plans get altered to a lazy day at home.
As children wait for the fury of the Sun God to subside, they tend to flop on the couch with a cartoon show, bowlful of ready-to-eat snacks, and aerated drinks for company. Even the occasional spurt of outdoor play could result in a mad dash towards the refrigerator for fuel up with some sugary drinks. Come summer, households stock up on ice-creams, fried snacks and even artificially flavored juice mixes.
Healthy eating goes for a toss.
Pediatricians across the city dread the summers as the potential time when all the best nutritional efforts undertaken throughout the year may go down the drain. This vicious cycle of poor eating, lazing around to escape summertime heat and snacking on calorific food could sow the seeds of potential lifestyle disorders such as obesity, diabetes etc among the children in the future.
But experts list out 8 points to ensure children (and even adults in the house) eat healthy during summers.
Go slow on fast foods
Planning to have an outdoors day? Then resist the urge to take refuge in the seemingly welcoming environs of a mall or a fast food joint conveniently placed by the roadside. Instead, pack up some lean meat sandwiches, high protein peanut butter, cooling fruits like watermelons, fresh and juicy veggies for a quick healthy snack.
Quench the thirst in a low calorie way
Low on energy and high on thirst after a heavy round in the playground? Opt for coconut water, chilled cut slices of watermelon, a big jug of chilled water or simply homemade lemonade/gingerale that is low on sugar.
Is summer camp nutrition wise?
As you enroll your child in summer camps promising exciting activities, don’t forget to check out if they offer healthy meals to go along with it.
Stick to the schedule
Yes parents, this is most tough of all the points. You may want to sit back and relax during summers but let this not affect your child’s snacks and meal schedule. Befriend easy to make sandwiches, whole wheat rolls, low fat milkshakes as quick and healthy pick-me-up snacks for the kids as they come panting to you!
Ration nutrition negative events
Is there is a kids-themed activity in town? Is the cinema screening a kid-friendly flick? Or is it a food festival with lots of interesting games? Although all of the above options sound good, they are also the venues which serve nutrition negative foodstuff such as candies, chips, beverages among others. So does it mean avoid them? No, but ration such outings. A 2-week healthy eating could be rewarded with a movie and cheese popcorn.
Make children an ally in healthy eating
Children are pretty smart in grasping concepts. So why not trust their health to them? Explain the concept of beneficial and harmful nutrients. Make it fun for them, organize a nutrition guess game where the child has to pick healthy foods among a line up.
Yes, children can be granted cheat days too! Earmark a weekend for fun, frolic, their favourite foods from a popular restaurant. With a goal in mind, they could put on their best behaviour, nutrition wise!
Exercise, exercise, exercise
Given the sun makes outdoor play less interesting, but the evenings could be used for some outdoor activities. Are they getting bored at home in the day? Switch on an activity intensive video game. Best still, you could be their competitor helping you to shrug off heat induced laziness.