– Guest post by Dylan Foster –
Summer is here, and the heat is on for parents looking to provide healthy meals for their kids over the summer break. With so many cookouts and pool parties around the corner, it can be a challenge to make sure your family is eating healthfully. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to ensure that everyone enjoys the season while keeping a healthy diet. Here are six tips for keeping your family happy and healthy during the summer season.
Take Advantage of the Summer Harvest
Nothing beats the taste of fruits and vegetables that are naturally grown. Take advantage of your local farmer’s market while you can, and stock up on some, all-natural fruits and veggies. With a little creativity, you can incorporate veggies into so many different meals. Slice up some zucchini and use them as bases for mini pizzas, or use some cabbage instead of tortillas to wrap your enchilada. Using fresh-grown veggies as substitutes for your next meal is not only a tasty idea but a healthy one as well.
Phase Out Red Meat at Your Next Barbecue
Nothing encapsulates summer better than grilling out some burgers in the backyard. While it’s hard to resist a tasty burger, you should be wary of how much red meat your family consumes this summer. Red meats are known to contain higher percentages of trans fats, which can raise cholesterol and lead to future health problems such as heart disease. To lessen red meat from your diet, try some alternative meats for your next burger. White meats such as chicken are much leaner, or you could even try some yummy options from the sea such as salmon or tilapia.
Make Summer the Season of Salads
Proteins have always been the quintessential ingredient of summer, but recently salads have started gaining serious ground as a competitor for meat-based meals. Everyone knows that salads contain more nutritious greens and also serve as a lighter meal, which makes it perfect for health-conscious families. Thanks to some kitchen creativity, salads are also packing diverse tastes and mouth-watering flavors. If you’re looked to inject some more greens in your family’s diet, try whipping some of these new delicious salad recipes.
Turn Fresh Fruits into Summer Smoothies
Everyone has a sweet tooth, and the summer heat makes us crave something to cool us down. Your first thought might be to grab a carton of ice cream for dessert, but you take one look at the nutrition facts on the back and shudder at the high sugar and fat content. The good news is that ice cream isn’t your only option for a cold sweet treat over summer-break. If you already have a blender, then fresh-fruit smoothies can be an absolute game-changer. Mix up various fruits such as bananas, berries, and strawberries along with some ice to create a cool tasty treat the whole family can enjoy.
As temperatures climb, your family will be looking for ways to beat the heat. One of the most essential ways to do this is by drinking plenty of water and staying hydrated. If you’re trying to keep your family healthy over the summer, you can also try having them drink water before serving their meals. Drinking a glass of water will make everyone feel fuller by the time they finish their meal, meaning they’ll be more content to eat less and won’t tack on extra calories.
Feel Fuller with Smaller Plates
Another way to help your family stick to healthier portion sizes is by using smaller plates and bowls for your meals. When your family fills up their plate, they will be eating less food. However, their minds will perceive that they’ve just finished a full plate, and will, therefore, feel stuffed after a meal. It’s a perfect little trick to curb everyone’s appetite.
While the summer packs plenty of tasty temptations, the warm, sunny weather also gives everyone a chance to get outside and be active. By cutting out a few carbs and fats out of meal-time, you can actually help increase your family’s overall health this summer.