Happy Healthy Family Summer Eats

Happy family playing together in a picnic outdoorsRoutines often get tossed out the window when summer kicks off, and that includes your family’s regular eating habits. Kick off the summer with a commitment to your family’s health and nutrition with the following delicious and kid-friendly recipes:

Grilled Vegetable Skewers

Traditionally, firing up the grill can be an unhealthy approach for feeding the family if you plan to just toss on the hot dogs. Hot dogs are packed with sodium and white hotdog buns are almost entirely carbohydrates. When you’re grilling, set out an assortment of kid-friendly vegetables, including cherry tomatoes, yellow summer squash, zucchini and bell peppers. Let the kids make their own kabobs and serve them with plain Greek yogurt dipping sauce and corn on the cob.

Homemade Smoothie Pops

Rather than feeding your kids sugar-packed frozen treats from the store, make your own smoothie pops with fresh fruit. Blend up favorite fruits into a puree, pour them into a freezer pop mold or small plastic cups. Put a stick in the middle and freeze overnight. You can even make layered pops by filling the molds only part of the way with the first type of fruit and repeating with another. A layer of yogurt in the middle adds protein too, which is perfect for replenishing energy after an afternoon in the pool or playing in the yard.

Nutty Energy Bars

Granola bars are a parent’s best friend for curing hunger when you’re out and about. But some granola bars are secretly packed with ingredients you’d rather not feed your kids. Make homemade energy bars with your favorite combination of nuts, seeds, grains and dried fruits. Bake up a big batch at home and cut them into bars to stash in your bag for easy snacks when you and the kids are on the go.

Infused Water

Staying hydrated during the summer is essential, and sugary juice is the last type of beverage to drink for quenching thirsts. Even 100 percent fruit juice is packed with calories and sugar — resulting in energy peaks, tooth decay and worsening thirst. Stick to water and make it more fun and flavorful by infusing it with fruit, lime or lemon. Slice a few strawberries and put the slices in a pitcher of ice water, or make a cool spa water with cucumber slices and mint leaves. Eventually, your family will be so accustomed to drinking water, which is good for your health and your teeth according to Kool Smiles dentistry.

Seasoned Popcorn

Movie popcorn aside, popcorn is actually a very healthy whole grain, as long as you don’t drench kernels in salt and butter. This summer, invest in an air popper and pop your own varieties of seasoned popcorn. A little garlic powder, parmesan cheese and fresh herbs make a delicious savory popcorn. Lightly dust bowls of popcorn with cinnamon and sugar for a sweet snack.

Fueling your kids with healthy meals, snacks, beverages and desserts will help keep them going strong and feeling great all summer long. They need a balanced diet that includes plenty of protein, whole grains and fiber and free of excess carbohydrates and sugars.

Janine Larsen

This mother of twins takes a no-nonsense approach to health, wellness and parenting. She lives with her rambunctious family and two dogs outside the Chicago area.







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