For some parents, it is the time for increased worry and anxiety now that your children are out of school. It can take weeks to adjust to the new time schedule – including chores, wake up times, activities, reading programs, sport programs and much more.
Hopefully some parents are excited at the new and fun things that can be done during the summer. This may include family time, family vacations, hiking, camping, swimming, and a ton more exciting possibilities.
Food though – should be one of the more important things that we plan for our children this summer. Maybe what you need is an adjustment on your lunch program. This blog post is helping us shape our Kids Health.
Good Food Preparation – should be something that takes considerable time and preparation. Too often we are throwing things together at the last minute because of ease or lack of preparation. I have done this far too often and regret it hours later.
If this meal planning is something you like to do or you know you need to improve this area – start out by trying to be healthy a few times a week. The more you do this the more planning will be done.
Often we think more planning means harder to do —- the opposite is true here – the more you do it, in the long run, the easier your summer will be.
Let’s look at some things that need to happen with meal planning:
1.) Plan foods according to age
What you give a three year old is far different that a twelve year old. Though they may try, at times, to eat the same thing.
If choosing a bread…get creative and don’t always force wheat bread. It is funny that we, as a society, are so against white bread, yet we allow an entire candy bar or some soda. Now, white bread shouldn’t only be used, but bread is a great way to mix things up.
Vegetables and Fruits.
There is such a variety here. This can also be a lot of fun to look up different recipes, ideas, and opportunities. Peas, carrots, and soy beans can be a fun way to enjoy vegetables.
Believed to be only a breakfast item, yogurt is quickly becoming a staple for daily snacks and lunch options.
Find healthy meats that don’t pack in the salt too much.Â Variety is a good thing here. Remember, some of the more packaged meats may be more processed. Visiting your grocery counter and letting your kids choose a meat for the week isn’t a bad idea.
Watch out on chips. This food type is easy and unhealthy. It doesn’t mean that it can’t be used once a week. But some tend to use this as an everyday addition to a lunch. Be careful and mindful of how much chips your kids are eating.
Empty calories are found more often in drinks than anywhere else.Â Drinks are difficulty because many kids want sodas and fruit juices, and cool-aid. It is always a struggle to find healthy drinks. Kids, like adults get sick of water alone. Except if they’ve been playing hard and are downright thirsty.
Mix juices or first cup water than second cup cool-aid or something similar. The changes, even during a single meal, can be helpful.
Going for a hike, watching television, visiting a water park, camping or anywhere in-between can help you mix things up for lunch.
It is hard to make macaroni and cheese while camping, but this could be a great option for watching television.
But, if we take the time to really make good plans were are enjoying a good activity and good food. It really is a win win situation.
3.) Plan according to fun
Certain meal times are intended to improve family relations. We may be working on listening skills, manners, and much more.
But sometimes, we need to let loose.
We could make eating more like finger painting. Jokes, laughing, playing games may not be a regular occurrence during lunch, but maybe…just maybe… this could be a once a month occurrence.
Sometimes the schedules get too tight, or planning feels like too much. Or maybe, during your planning, you could prepare for an unhealthy lunch.
We’re not saying go over the top. But, we are saying allow something, maybe just one thing, that you normally wouldn’t. Don’t overdo it but let your kids earn it.
Finding good food opportunities and healthy lunches can be something we over analyze or under analyze. So, we really need to find a happy medium.
Kids love to eat and they love to play. Sometimes, we need to combine the two in the healthiest way possible.
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