Summer brings an increase in outdoor activity and new daily schedules for your child. The amount of exercise and energy to fill a long summer day also affects your child’s nutrition and fitness needs as well.
“One of the best ways to help kids make healthier food choices over the summer is to make healthy eating a family affair by committing to family meal times,” explains Liz Oliver, RDN, Beaumont healthy lifestyle coach. “Children who sit down for family meals, even just once a week, eat more fruits and vegetables compared to those who never ate meals with their family.”
- Shop the local farmer’s market for fresh, local produce.
- Plant a garden in your backyard or nearby for healthier food, exercise and fun.
- Eat lean, nutrient-rich foods, such as fish, nuts and seeds, beans, poultry, low-fat dairy and whole grains.
Research shows that when kids see their parents eating healthy foods, the kids are more likely to eat the healthy food as well. Try one (or all!) of these healthy recipes this summer:
“I’m bored.” or “There’s nothing to do.” should never be an excuse for a child to stay indoors and watch endless hours of TV in the summer… especially in Michigan!
“There are so many great outdoor options for healthy activities in Michigan – consider swimming, boating, camping and hiking,” says Richard Weiermiller, M.D., Beaumont Children’s pediatrician.
Dr. Weiermiller suggests having your child set fitness goals for the summer and coming up with a plan together on how they can be achieved.
Other tips include:
- Move your workout to the water and go for a swim. Or move your walk to the local zoo, aquarium or museum.
- If the temperature is too hot outside, move your workout indoors.
- Take the family for a weekend hike, trip to the park, softball game or evening walk.
- Head outside for an early-morning walk before the weather heats up. Remember to drink plenty of fluids throughout the day.
- Add weight-lifting, pull-ups, push-ups or other muscle-strengthening activities to your exercise routine.
Dr. Weiermiller adds, “Just as parents can be good role models with healthy eating habits, it is equally important to be a role model demonstrating the benefits of physical activity as well.”