Summer is one of the simplest times to be active as a family. Biking or skating, swimming or surfing, amusement parks or museums—summer recess and a warmer climate are meant to help kids both increase outdoor activities and decrease screen time. Providing children a MyPlate friendly lunch can assure they are receiving the energy they need to run around throughout the day. The following ideas can be used with your clients, as well as with your own families too. Here at ENC, we advocate bundling convenience and health into one. Below are some ideas on how to develop MyPlate friendly lunches:
Go PRO(tein)-Choose protein options such as lean meat and poultry, fish, beans, or eggs. Scrambled Mini Pizzas and Hard-Boiled Egg Dippers are fun, nutritious and easy –requiring 20 minutes or less of prep & cook time.
Make Most of Mother Nature- Watermelon, peaches, cherries, and other fruits are at peak mouth-watering season during the summer. Embrace these summer fruits to make meals colorful and full of vitamins and minerals.
Sneak in Some Green- For a fun treat, make a refreshing kid-sized smoothie chock full of seasonal fruit and spinach or kale. Veggies and dip are a great choice too.
Add Whole Grain- Whole grains add vitamins and texture for a balanced snack. Whole wheat crackers with cheese or a hardboiled egg on half a toasted whole wheat english muffin are two easy choices.
Do up the Dairy– It is recommended that children and adolescents consume two to three cups of dairy per day. Consider freezing low-fat yogurt with fruit for a tasty and nutritious treat or add it to the above kid-sized smoothie.
The key to success is to think and plan ahead, filling your fridge and pantry with smart choices. Spend some time preparing hardboiled eggs, salads, vegetables, and fruits. Turn meal preparation into a family activity—as is age appropriate, teach them how to cut and slice fruits and vegetables, peel hardboiled eggs, and prepare sandwiches. Finally, consider taking them on a picnic to reward them for their (and your) hard work.
A final tip: keep everyone well-hydrated by drinking water through the fun and active summer heat!