Today the ladies of the Babywise Friendly Blog Network (BFBN) are all posting tips and ideas for summers with kids. I’m talking about one of my favorite things- food. Summer is a great time for food. Grilling hot dogs, ice cream at the river, and let’s not forget all the festivals. Pat and I adore that stuff. Anything crazy or new or deep fried- we want to try it. Now, this is not really the healthiest course of action. We know this as adults, and try to balance out these ‘fun’ foods with healthier fare. We want to share our love of fun summer foods with Ben, but also teach him how to balance it with healthy foods. There are a few main ways we try to do this during the busy summer months.
|Gotta keep this little eater healthy!
Eat Healthy While at Home
I know this sounds obvious. But after a long summer day filled with work or fun, the last thing most of us want to do is figure out what to cook for dinner. I stick to meal planning so I have a guide for the week. My summer go-to when I don’t want to cook much- grilling. Grilling is a great option. We can play outside while Pat cooks for us. Grilled meats thrown on a salad is a no-brainer healthy meal. Corn on the cob is plentiful around these parts. Hobo packets can be filled with anything and prepped the night before. Slow cooker stews can still be good in the summer. It isn’t always what you might think of on a hot summer day. But anything that helps me get dinner on the table is a good thing. Tacos are a great quick meal, and so are pastas with vegetables.
For Ben, normal healthy eating means good proteins, smoothies, fresh fruit, and pouches. I make his pouches myself so I know exactly what is in them. We are trying to get him to eat veggies as is, but, well, you can imagine how that works most of the time. I try to ninja vegetables into everything I can with him. He has a smoothie and a pouch almost every day, so I know I can get at least a couple servings of veggies in him that way.
We also try to keep a ton of fresh fruit in the house. Ben adores it. Watching him eat it gets Pat and I to eat more as well. The prices are lower in the summer, so I tend to stock up. Whatever I think we won’t eat I pop in the freezer to use in smoothies and pouches.
Plan for Success on the Go
I try to plan ahead as much as possible. Summers are busy times, but I have to take a diaper bag with me everywhere and adding a couple of snacks to it isn’t very hard. Raisins are an easy one. Apricots travel well and don’t have the added sugar a lot of dried fruits have. You can take dates, peanut butter, and oats to make a date bar to go. Again pouches are awesome. In the summer I don’t put any yogurt in them, so they can last longer out of the fridge. I freeze them, and they do double duty as an ice pack. Pretzels are a treat for Ben that are easy to stick in your bag and not worry about. I also make sure to bring a couple of water bottles with us so we can always have a healthy drink. With these options I can make sure that Ben has some sort of good for him option to eat.
Sometimes you find yourself out and you haven’t packed food for the kid. Well, that isn’t too hard either. Pretty much every fast food restaurant, and really almost any restaurant has some sort of grilled chicken. It could be a sandwich or on a salad, but it’s there. Ben will always eat grilled chicken. Pair it with any fruit the place has and you are good to go.
Finally, we enjoy ourselves over the summer. We try to keep to healthy eating 80-90% of the time. That means when we go to festivals and bbqs we can relax a little. I try to look for not too terrible options at these sorts of events, but honestly the terrible for you food is part of the fun! We are trying to teach Ben to enjoy food while still being healthy, so yes, we let him try a bunch of stuff too. The key is to try to keep only to things you can’t get at home. I don’t mind the occasional funnel cake because I know we only have one or two a year. And yes, we try some of the strange deep fried concoctions. We don’t deep fry at home, meaning it is for sure a special treat. I try to enjoy the treats and not beat myself up over it. True, we sometimes eat more unhealthy things than we should at these events. But we usually complement them with more hiking, swimming, and physical play as well.
|Enjoying a balance of healthy food, tasty treats, and dancing!
Overall, we aim for healthy food whenever possible. But we want to enjoy ourselves as well. I think we are on our way to finding a decent balance between the two.
What other healthy summer eating tips do you have? Feel free to share them with me!
Be sure to check out the other ladies today as they post about summer with kids.
You can also check out the pinterest board BFBN Pinterest to see lots of great tips!
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