Happy and Healthy Summertime Food Tips for Families

Picnics, barbecues and road trips are all part of summertime fun.  They can also be a part of your healthy lifestyle with a handful of smart strategies.  Here are some pointers for keeping your family’s eating habits on the right track. 

Check your perspective

Ah, summer!  It’s a much-anticipated delight for adults and children alike, with outdoor parties, events and family-oriented activities galore.  In your rush to savor all the season offers, don’t drop the ball on your family’s eating habits.  Some experts point out that how you eat directly impacts your moods and perspective, so keep things healthy and positive so everyone can get the most out of your family’s summertime adventures.

Pack light and right

When you’re on the go to sporting events, the zoo or the campground, packing a cooler is a smart option for helping your family eat healthy.  While fast foods are convenient, they are generally unhealthy.  Healthline lists 24 healthy vegan snacks. Pack a cooler with these and your summertime snacking and meals-on-the-go will be a breeze!  Not sure what to include?  One idea is to opt for baggies filled with fresh veggies and fruits. Make sure you wash them thoroughly before packing in case you don’t have access to a water source later.  Nut butters, lentils, and hummus can provide protein.  Note that if your cooler is normally stored in a hot location, such as on a shelf in the garage, you should bring it into your house the night before the outing to allow it to cool.  Also top it off with ice when you pack it, since empty spaces will make it warm up more quickly.

Drink plenty of water

Staying hydrated is a key to your health, and without sufficient hydration, you actually won’t enjoy your activities as much.  Some research reflects losing as little as 2 percent of your body’s weight due to dehydration can put you in a bad mood, give you a headache, cause you to lose focus, and make you feel confused.  Make sure everyone keeps water handy during your summertime fun, and choose foods that help you stay hydrated.  Fruits, vegetables and yogurt all hold water in them, and foods prepared with water, such as brown rice and whole grain pasta, can also help you stay hydrated. 

Careful food handling

Most people think of food safety in terms of animal products. However, fresh fruits and vegetables must also be handled with care. Strawberries, for example, can mold quickly if left at room temperature and melon rinds can harbor bacteria so these should be scrubbed well before cutting. A few simple precautions can mean the difference between dinner and a disaster!

Shop smart 

Sometimes, it seems like healthy eating is expensive, but with some smart grocery shopping strategies, you can keep your family eating healthful choices all summer long.  Start by choosing in-season produce.  Summer offers a wealth of fresh fruits and vegetables, so you can stock up on a tremendous variety and get better prices than in the off-season.  Shop for groceries on the perimeter of the store to steer clear of the less healthy selections. Finally, make a list before you head to the store, and stick with it.  Impulse shopping can get you into trouble, both in terms of finances and healthy eating choices. 

If you’re having difficulty figuring out what’s healthy and what’s not, there are many resources available online to steer you in the proper direction.  In fact, some people turn to professional nutritionists/dietitians to figure out great recipes to prepare for their families.  And if you have a senior loved one in your household, you can take advantage of nutrition therapy if a doctor deems it medically necessary, as this form of therapy is covered by Medicare.  Additionally, some Medicare Advantage plans provide coverage for healthy food and home meal delivery.

Happy, healthy, and smart 

Summer should be a time for family fun!  Choose healthy foods, prepare them correctly and shop carefully.  Keep your family’s adventures healthy with these smart eating strategies! 

Blog by Dylan Foster at healthwellwise.com 

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