Keep Cool While Staying Healthy: 5 Summer Snacks

Eating healthy doesn’t have to be overly time consuming or expensive – there are plenty of healthy treats perfect for summer that are quick and easy to make and that kids of every age will enjoy. Here are five ideas to keep your kids happy, healthy and cool all summer long.

  • Pico de Gallo – Not many kids jump at the idea of eating vegetables for snack time, but pico de gallo turns healthy veggies into fun. It’s so easy to make – just dice tomatoes and onion, then sprinkle with a touch of salt, fresh lime juice to taste, and cilantro. Serve it up chilled with cucumber slices or black bean chips for a healthy twist from the standard tortilla chips.

 

  • Rainbow Fruit – It’s hard to beat out fruit as a snack – it’s healthy, hydrating, and quick to prepare. Make use of those kebob skewers and seasonal produce for a healthy and fun snack sure to delight. Raspberries, strawberries, and watermelon all make easy in-season picks for red. Consider cantaloupe or orange slices for orange, bananas or pineapple for yellow, green grapes or honeydew for green, blueberries for blue, and purple grapes or blackberries for purple. Stack one of each colored fruit in rainbow order on the kebob and serve cold – it’s just that easy.

 

  • Froyo Pops – This one takes some ahead planning, but once done, you have snacks for the whole week! Using a popsicle mold (or if you don’t have one, a simple ice cube tray or small Tupperware container), add your choice of fruit – fresh or frozen – to the bottom of the mold. Top it with low-sugar yogurt, then add some more berries. Top it off with one last layer of yogurt, then add your popsicle sticks and pop in the freezer. They’re easy, healthy, and filling – and a perfect way to stay cool on even the hottest of days.

 

  • Frozen Grapes – If this one isn’t yet a staple in your summertime freezer, it should be! Thoroughly clean fresh green grapes, pat them dry, then pop them in the freezer in your choice of storage container. Dole them out as needed. They’re healthy, fun, and refreshing – bet you can’t stop after just one.

 

  • Fruit and PB Dip – Natural peanut butter is a great way to introduce protein and healthy fats into your diet, and this peanut butter fruit dip is the perfect way to enjoy it. In a small bowl, combine 8 oz of low-fat sour cream or Greek yogurt with ½ c natural style peanut butter, ¼ c. low-fat milk, 2 Tbsp honey, and 1 tsp. cinnamon. Serve it up with bananas or apple slices.
Paige Major
Prevent Summer Fitness from Falling Flat

Summers were made for days at the beach, baseball games, and long days spent outdoors, but even the most perfect of days can quickly head downhill if you aren’t ready for the sun and heat. Truth be told, heat kills more than 650 people in the United States every year. Children and infants are particularly susceptible – and while we want them to remain active this summer, we also want them to stay healthy and safe. Prevent summer fitness and fun from going flat by making sure your kids are prepared for the day ahead:

Stay hydrated. We’re typically told to drink eight glasses of water a day, but if you’re going to be out in the sun, make sure to compensate for the heat and sweat with extra fluids. Note that sugar-laden drinks and alcohol has the opposite effect, dehydrating us, so adults – watch out for those margaritas and kids – steer clear of the sugary drinks. Fun summer food, such as melons or other fresh fruits and veggies are healthy snacks that also help to hydrate, thanks to natural water content – so enjoy them often.

Watch out for the sun. Sun is great for getting that daily dose of vitamin D, but in excess, it damages our skin. Make sure to put on sunscreen first thing in the morning every day – and then reapply it throughout the day before going back out into the sun and as prescribed on the bottle. Each sunscreen has different reapplication requirements, so make sure you know what yours are.

Stay safe. Safety is about more than hydration and sunscreen – it’s also about knowing limits. While we of course encourage outdoor activity, try to keep your kids indoors or at least in a shaded, cool area during peak hours (10 a.m. – 2 p.m.). Also, make sure that as your kids play outside, you remain aware of their location and surroundings. Dangers can exist even in the safest of neighborhoods, so keeping your eyes on your children is your best path forward.

Stay aware. Kids are kids and have a tendency to go, go, go -- so make sure to pay attention to their activity levels and know the symptoms of heat-related illness. NOAA has a quick-factchart at http://www.noaa.gov/features/earthobs_0508/heat.html that gives the symptoms, likely condition, and recommended treatment – consider keeping a copy on hand for quick reference.

Paige Major
5 Reasons Why Sports Rule

 Yes, of course sports are great. They’re fun and they keep our kids active. But there are so many reasons – beyond keeping our kids physically active – that sports are, simply awesome. Here are our top five reasons:

#1 – Socialization. Social skills last a lifetime and participating in sports and extracurriculars is the perfect way to build those skills. Athletes need to learn to communicate and work with their teammates and fellow athletes, but also learn to communicate effectively with coaches and other adults. That socialization leads to better communication and relationships in the present and years to come.

#2 – They build confidence. In sports, it isn’t rare that you’ll find someone who “knocks it out of the park” on the first try: It’s unheard of. Sports are all about trying again and testing your limits – both of which, when done properly, will lead to success and new skills which, in turn, lead to building confidence. And beyond building that skill, sports also offer an opportunity to celebrate those wins with others, building social confidence.

#3 – Kids in sports learn to challenge themselves. Some people just go farther in life. We’re willing to bet those people played sports. From an early age, athletes learn that practice makes better and that they not only need to push themselves to succeed, but that when they do succeed, it’s time to push themselves even further. That’s one of the best things about athletics: they never get “easy” and there really isn’t any such thing as perfect – there’s just better and a constant path of new challenges. It’s part of what keeps a given activity interesting and part of why true athletes have so much drive – in all facets of life.

#4 – Kids who play sports tend to also have better grades. Numerous studies have drawn a correlation between sports and good grades and test scores. According to a 2015 Penn State University and University of South Carolina study,1 kids who play sports also have a higher likelihood of completing high school and enrolling in college. Another study of 35,000 students in the Los Angeles Unified School District found that athletes also have higher attendance, attending school an average of 21 more days than non-athlete counterparts. There are plenty of studies with positive sport-education performance findings – and it’s hard to beat that kind of win-win!

#5 – Sports build your own community. Yes, sports are an amazing outlet for our kids – socially, physically and emotionally. But they’re also a great outlet for parents. Parenting can be lonely and sports are a perfect avenue to find new parent friends you share common ground with. And, let’s be honest – with all those practices and game/match days, liking and knowing the parents is an amazing thing.

 

1 https://sites.psu.edu/siowfa15/2015/09/18/does-playing-a-sport-improve-grades/

Paige Major