Admit it. You get grumpy when you are hungry too! Imagine being a metabolic machine that uses carbohydrate faster than your minivan goes through a tank of gas. No wonder kids throw fits! This summer turn food into your friend to help you and your little one create fond memories on all of your adventures!
- Fresh fruit. Summer fruits are fun to eat – buy and wash plums, nectarines, peaches and grapes and keep them in the bottom drawers of the refrigerator. This will give the kids an option for an “always food”. They don’t have to ask you if they can eat it – and empowers them to self regulate their appetite and recognize when they are getting hungry.
- Pack fun snacks. Finger foods are always a fan favorite. Baby carrots dipped in hummus cheese and crackers or peanut butter and pretzels are great ways to get your kids to slow down and focus on their food. Combining a vegetable or complex carbohydrate with a protein and healthy fats helps to create balance in their snacking – and keeps them exploring longer!
- Need to buy some time? Carry pistachios. These little green nuts not only pack a HUGE nutrient punch, but their shells are fun for little fingers to crack! Nothing occupies time like eating and organizing. Pro tip: bring an extra bag or cup for the shells.
- Stay hydrated! Summer sun is great for memories and relaxation – but dehydration is not an adventure worth taking! Kids are more susceptible to dehydration because their body’s have a higher percentage of water than adults. Keep reusable water bottles in backpacks, purses, or cars to allow for 8-10 oz of water every 90 minutes. Good hydration helps prevent fatigue, irritability and may help decrease anxiety.
- Picky eaters can be tough! Make food fun by making them scientists that get to explore new textures and flavors. Give them shocking flavors like lemon or ginger, crunchy foods like pistachios or granola and squishy foods like mashed sweet potato or tofu. The idea isn’t for them to like the foods – but just challenge them to become brave eaters. They might be surprised that they discover some foods that they enjoy or it might break the stigma that they “won’t try new foods”. So get to it! Plan a picnic at the zoo, a hike, go fishing – get outside and enjoy the great kids you are raising! Summer is short. Taking care to fuel up each day will allow you to turn every minute into a memory!