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.
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.
Sometimes it’s hard to believe that we’re doing everything right as parents – but there’s one thing you’re doing right without a doubt: keeping your kids active. Whether they’re in gymnastics or martial arts, or soccer or baseball, what’s important is that they’re doing something active. But in case you need a reminder of why you spend your weekends and countless hours of your year attending practices, meets and games, and tournaments, here are five reasons why keeping your kids active is important.
There are so many reasons to keep your kids active – and to be an active part of that activity. Beyond the health and social benefits, their activities also present a great opportunity for you to be a part of something that matters to them. So take advantage of the moment and encourage that activity – kudos to you.