Healthy Summer Snacking

From our nutritionist, Kerri-Ann Jennings.

Summer is (almost) here and school year routines will soon be a thing of the past.  For many families, that can mean lots more grazing on snack foods – at home, the beach, at camp… To keep everyone eating right all summer long, follow these tips:

1) Decide how many fun foods you kids can have each day/week.  Fun foods are things like ice cream, cookies/pastries, French fries and soda.  They’re important to have on the table (totally forbidding these foods makes them extra tempting), but the key is to keep your kids conscious of them.  Give them some limits (e.g. you can have one/two a day), but then let them choose what they want – do they want that candy bar at the pool or do they want to save their fun food for ice cream after dinner? Think of it as a fun food allowance – you give them a certain amount and they decide how to spend it.

2) For most snacks, follow this snacking formula: Fruit/vegetable/healthy starch + protein = healthy snack.  What does this look like? It could be air-popped popcorn sprinkled with parmesan cheese; an apple with cheddar cheese; a slice of whole-grain toast with peanut butter; celery with cream cheese and raisins… you get the idea.

3) Keep plenty of prepped fruits and vegetables in the fridge.  Baby carrots, cut celery sticks, sugar snap peas, cubed melon…whatever your family likes.  Once you make fruits and vegetables as easy to reach for as a granola bar, you will see a shift in what your family chooses.