Making Your Family’s Summer Healthy & Active
By: Morgan Young, Family & Consumer Science Agent, Chaffee County
Summer is here! Your kids are out of school and enjoying a newfound freedom. However, don’t let the newfound freedom become a newfound boredom. Summer is the perfect time to get out and explore the outside world. Summer fun includes hiking, biking or running through the sprinklers. After all the activity, your kids are going to be hungry, but don’t allow quick and easy sugary choices be their first choice. Summer brings delicious, fresh fruits and vegetables for the whole family to enjoy.
The first step to a healthy summer is creating active play for the whole family to participate in. Pre-planning is the key to keeping your child engaged in the activities. Consider the time of day for each activity. It may be best to plan a long hike in the morning or late afternoon so the summer heat doesn’t ruin the fun. However, the middle of the day may be a perfect time to turn on the sprinklers (if allowed in your community) or blow some bubbles in the shade to cool off. Choose age appropriate outdoor activities. Older children may enjoy a hike more than going to a local park. Whereas younger children would prefer a park with a playground over a hike.
When selecting activities remember to stay at least 6 feet from others, have facemasks at the ready, such as when passing others on a trail or when at a park. Bring wipes and hand sanitizer to use often when touching surfaces, like playground equipment.
Ideas to get the family active:
- Go Geocaching. This is a treasure hunt using your GPS or smart phone. Of-ten these treasure boxes are placed on hiking trails or in local walking areas. Go to https://www.geocaching.com/ create an account and get access to a treasure hunt in your area!
- Buy some chalk. Create a sidewalk challenge. From hopscotch to leap frog, create a course that allows your kids to have fun while getting physical exercise in. See some ideas here https://whatmomslove.com/kids/sidewalk-chalk-ideas/
- Take a bike ride or go for a walk.
- Go to a local park. Find a park that you haven’t been to. Check to be sure that it is open for visitors. This will change the scenery and your kids will have different equipment to play on which beats the boredom.
- Make a kid friendly workout schedule. Create your workouts around your kids. A friendly competition between the family could be fun. How many push-ups can you do? How far can you run, hop, or skip? Form healthy habits together!
Make summer healthy by offering more fresh fruits and vegetables. Summer is the per-fect time to add more fruit and vegetable salads. To increase your child’s consumption of fruits and vegetables cut them into varying shapes.
Ideas to encourage healthy eating:
- Set out nutritious choices. Instead of a candy bowl, set out fresh fruits, vege-tables, or nuts (depending on age for choking factor).
- Create a summer cookbook together. Use this as an arts and crafts project. Have your child pick out recipes and then use a scrapbook to put it all together.
- Infuse your water. Add fruits or vegetables to a pitcher of water stored in the refrigerator overnight. Making flavored water is a simple way to encourage your kids to drink water rather than turning to sugar sweetened beverages.
- Mix it up. Try new combinations! Celery and peanut butter one day and the next day try celery with hummus.
With school being out, children crave a structure. Create habits or a schedule especially when it comes to staying physically active or eating times. Do not let mindless snacking or inactivity consume them. Try opening the kitchen only during meal and snack times. Make a time schedule to play outside or participate in an activity as a family. Include your kids in the conversation around scheduling. Kids will follow the schedule and be more excited about the day if they are part of the planning process. Post the daily eating and activity schedule on the refrigerator so the kids look forward to being physically active each day.
Recipes for Health
Ingredients: per roll-up
1 whole-wheat tortilla
1 tablespoon of cream cheese
Vegetables of your choice: Cucumber, thinly sliced
Green onion, chopped
Salt & Pepper to taste
- Wash hands and food contact surfaces.
- Wash fresh vegetables under running water and dry with a paper towel.
- Spread cream cheese evenly over the entire tortilla.
- Layer on the veggies and cheese (in any order you like).
- Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
- Starting at one end, tightly roll up the tortilla and slice into serving pieces.
Kids Help: Have your kids sprinkle and spread the ingredients. Small hands might be challenged with rolling the filled tortilla, but let them try. Leave the chopping and slicing to the adults.
Rainbow Popsicles (makes about 6 popsicles)
10 large strawberry halves
1 mango, roughly chopped
- Wash hands and all food contact surfaces.
- Working with one fruit at a time, puree in a small food processor, blender or smash with a potato masher. Distribute the fruits in separate bowls.
- Carefully spoon pureed/smashed fruit into each Popsicle mold, one layer at a time. You don’t need freeze after each layer unless you want absolute perfect lines. If you don’t have molds use a small waxed paper cup.
- Add sticks and freeze for at least 5 hours or overnight.
TIP: Run the molds under warm water to loosen up the popsicles.
Amounts are approximate. You may need a little more or a little less. Consider using other fruits (apricots, peaches, cherries, melon, grapes, pears, pineapple, plums, etc.) that are preferred, in season, or less expensive.
Kids Help: Allow kids to pick what fruits they would like in their popsicles. Let them help smash fruit with a potato masher, or put fruit in the food processor or blender. Adults operate the machine. Have your kids spoon the mixtures in the mold or a waxed paper cup.