Summer is in session, which means most kids have lots of free time on their hands. While watching television or playing on the computer is always a favorite way to pass the time for most little ones, all those hours in front of a screen can take a toll on their nutrition.
Each day while watching TV, children see an average of ten to 13 advertisements promoting foods that are high in calories, added sugars, solid fats, sodium, and often lack vitamins, minerals and dietary fiber.
Despite all these temptations, there are easy ways to help keep your family healthy and happy during summer vacation and get their necessary five daily servings of fruits and vegetables, the cornerstone of the Give Me 5 food and nutrition program at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital.
Click here to learn more about the Give Me 5 program, sponsored by Kohl’s Cares.
Below are a few easy ways you can help your whole family make healthy, tasty choices this summer and throughout the year, including a few quick snack recipes you’re sure to love.
1. Put fruits and vegetables in a bowl on the counter where it’s visible and easy to grab.
2. Slice up fruits and vegetables and keep them in small bags or reusable plastic containers in the fridge, making them easy to grab and go!
3. Ask kids what kinds of fruits and vegetables they would like to eat as you browse through the produce section at the grocery store.
4. Let kids help around the kitchen. Young kids love to learn and are always eager to help.
5. Try growing a garden at home or visiting a farmer’s market.
6. Fruits and vegetables that are in season are cheaper and more nutritious. During the summer, look for blackberries, strawberries, raspberries, cherries, apricots, nectarines, peaches, plums, melons, cucumbers, zucchini, beets, corn and tomatoes.
7. As a family, avoid watching TV during meals or while snacking.
8. Limit screen time to less than two hours per day.
10. Drink smart. Water or unsweetened sparkling water should be enough to meet the hydration needs for most children.
11. Be a role model to kids. As a parent, choosing healthier foods and beverages, while limiting the use of electronic devices can help to reinforce the habits you are trying to encourage.
SIMPLE SNACK RECIPES
1. Quick Edamame*: Kids love the mild flavor of edamame and enjoy popping them open. Buy frozen bags of green soybeans in the pod. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, add the beans, and boil for 5 minutes. When ready, drain beans and serve hot or at room temperature. Remove the outer pod before eating the beans.
2. Roasted Chickpeas*: Chickpeas, or garbanzo beans, get crunchy and extra-delicious when spiced and roasted in the oven. Drain, rinse, and dry two 15-oz cans of chickpeas. Toss the chickpeas with a tablespoon of oil and one teaspoon each of cumin and chili powder. Spread beans on a baking sheet and roast at 400 degrees for 30-40 minutes, stirring halfway. Cool before eating.
3. Quick Quesadillas*: Make a quick and easy quesadilla with black beans as the main ingredient! Combine 1/3 cup cooked black beans with 2 tablespoons reduced-fat cheese in a whole-wheat tortilla. Fold in half and lightly spray one side of the tortilla with cooking spray. Place quesadillas on a baking sheet and bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes, or until cheese has melted and the tortilla is crisp.
4. Berry Smoothie: Buy fresh mixed berries. Wash them thoroughly, cut and pre-portion in 1 cup containers. In a blender, add 1 cup frozen berries, 1 cup fat-free milk or almond milk with 1 teaspoon of honey. Blend at medium speed for 3 minutes. Serve immediately and enjoy!
*Adopted from USDA Summer Food Summer Moves Resource Kit and Kids Eat Right
Visit us on social media and check out more recipes on our #GiveMe5 Fruit and Veggies Pinterest page.
YouTube: Nicklaus Children’s Hospital
And don’t forget to use the hashtag #GiveMe5 on social media to share photos of your favorite healthy meals and snacks!