Summer just started but before you know it, you’ll be shopping for back-to-school supplies, packing school lunches and back to the hectic schedule.
In between the pool, the beach and vacation however, it’s a good opportunity to take advantage of the longer days, the warmer weather and the slower cadence that the summer brings to plan ahead and make small changes that can have a big impact on your child’s health.
From trying new foods, making healthy food swaps and sharing more family meals together, the summer is a great time to create new habits you can stick with once school starts. Here are 60 healthy things to do before summer ends.
1. Add more fiber to your child’s diet. Start with green leafy vegetables, beans, berries and whole grains.
2. Keep your kids hydrated and find ways to get them to drink enough water.
3. Grill fruit for dessert.
4. Purge your pantry of all the junk.
5. Go out for ice cream instead of keeping it in the house.
6. Pack healthy snacks for summer road trips.
7. Swap white, refined flour for whole grains.
8. Offer a non-sandwich lunch like a lettuce wrap.
9. Choose healthier options at rest stops like yogurt, cheese, fruit and hummus instead of fast food.
10.Make healthy popsicles with fruit.
11. Try an egg-free breakfast.
12. Bring whole foods to the park, the beach and the pool instead of packaged foods.
13. Add avocado into your child’s meals.
14. Have structured meal and snack times.
15. Fill your fridge with healthy foods.
16. Go to the farmer’s market and let your child pick out a new vegetable.
17. Cook a meal with your child.
18. Grill kabobs for dinner but let your child choose the veggies.
19. Nix juice, soda, and sugar-sweetened beverages.
20. Swap processed foods for whole foods.
21. Choose fresh fruit instead of dried fruit.
22. Include nuts and seeds in your child’s diet.
23. Talk to your child about portion control.
24. Go berry picking together.
25. Make a green juice or green smoothie (yes, with green leafy vegetables).
26. Take a list with you to the grocery store and stick to it.
27. Double a recipe or batch cook a week’s worth of meals—or more!
28. Offer your child a salad every day.
29. Eat more fish: fresh, frozen or canned—they all count.
30. Keep these 10 foods in your freezer.
31. Stop pleading, negotiating and bribing your kids to eat healthy.
32. Don’t order off the kids’ menu.
33. Set aside individual portions of snacks the night before.
34. Let your kid find a new recipe and make it together.
35. Try to get your spouse on board with healthy eating.
36. Swear off fast food forever.
37. Make reading nutrition facts labels and ingredient labels a habit.
38. Cut up fruits and vegetables and store them in glass containers in the refrigerator to encourage kids to grab for healthy foods.
39. Find healthy kids’ meals at these family restaurants.
40. Put out leftover vegetables for breakfast.
41. Plant an herb garden together.
42. Have a play date with a friend who eats healthy.
43. Make veggie or bean burgers instead of hamburgers.
44. Stock your pantry with these healthy foods.
45. Cut back on foods high in sodium.
46. Stop with the “kid-friendly” foods.
47. Satisfy your child’s sweet tooth with low-sugar treats.
48. Teach your child to slow down, taste and enjoy food.
49. Find new recipes for after-school snacks.
50. Plan a week’s worth of meals.
51. Offer more calcium-rich foods that aren’t dairy.
52. Make an appointment with a registered dietitian nutritionist who specializes in pediatric nutrition if you’re concerned about your child’s weight.
53. Do something active everyday: go for a walk/run, go hiking, bike riding, etc.
54. Swap oatmeal for overnight oats to make breakfast a breeze.
55. Stop sneaking vegetables and making food into an art project.
56. Share more family meals (it doesn’t have to be dinner!)
57. Offer more probiotic-rich foods: tempeh, kimchi, Kefir, and fermented pickles.
58. Volunteer at a farm, a CSA, or a food bank.
59. Stop feeling guilty about what your kid ate or didn’t eat. Tomorrow is a new day.
60. Let go of perfection and have fun this summer!