Summertime Nutrition Tips
The kids are home, family-time is at its best, but is your child's nutrition at its prime?
With school being out our daily schedules tend to change, of most importance is your child's new schedule. During the school year children are used to a structured routine. They get better sleep, are more active, and have regulated meal times that are more likely to be balanced. So, what can you do to make sure your child is staying healthy this summer? Take a look at the following tips:
Develop a routine that has room for flexibility!
First and foremost, stick to a daily schedule! You can start by creating a structured healthy environment that enables healthy behaviours, such as:
Getting good sleep
Making time for outdoors
Having family meals
Creating a “flexible” feeding schedule
Offer balanced, varied meals and snacks
Kids need to be exposed to a variety of foods from an early age including different flavours and textures and offering meals and snacks that contain protein, carbohydrates and fat for growth and development is the key to a balanced diet!
Limit screen time and try these fun ideas that allow children to learn about food and nutrition. Doing family activities that are food related allow children to learn about where food comes from and how eating is for both pleasure and nourishment!
Visit a farmer’s market
Have a picnic at a local park
Have a backyard campfire and enjoy s’mores!
Enjoy ice-cream outdoors!
Set up a lemonade stand
Plant a garden of herbs and veggies
Visit an ethnic grocery store and make lunch using interesting spices and kid-friendly international recipes
Blend your own smoothies
Assemble a family cookbook with all your favorite recipes
Make popsicles using real juice and real fruit
Water is important for our survival! Water helps maintain our body temperature, transports nutrients and oxygen to all cells and carries away waste products. It also helps maintain blood volume and lubricates joints and body tissues.
Fluid needs for kids are:
- 1-3 year-olds: 3.5 cups per day
- 4-8 year-olds: 5 cups per day
- 9-13 year-old girls: 6.5 cups per day
- 9-13 year-old boys: 7 cups per day
Fluid needs are met by drinking water/beverages and by consuming foods rich in water, especially fruits and veggies! Help your children stay hydrated by offering fruit and vegetables high in water content. The following fruit and vegetables are delicious and hydrating!
Make room for movement!
Last, but not least, a healthy structured environment makes time for physical movement! When the weather is too hot, you can find other fun, family-friendly activities in your community to stay active and healthy!
Tip: Aim for your children to get at least 60 minutes of movement every day! Don’t let the heat or the rain stop you from making time for physical activity. Below are some ideas you can do with your family that are fun for all ages!
Check out your community's calendar for indoor events and activities
Sign your children up for local sports or recreational programs
Go to the park
Swim with your family
Have a sprinkler party and a water balloon fight!
Have a dance party!
Visit your local national park
Summer break is a time for you and your little ones to continue to build a healthy lifestyle and enjoy family time! If you have any concerns regarding your child's nutrition, feel free to contact me. You may also join my FB group "Raising healthy minds and bodies" where I support parents with their journey of feeding children.
Naureen Hunani, RD, Nutritionist, Feeding Therapist
Co-autor: Noemi Jimenez, Nutrition student, CLEC