I’m sure that most of you who have school-aged children have heard a thing or two about the Summertime Slump, which is when kids forget some of what they learned during the school year, and may have a resulting backslide in academic skills. There are many approaches to help prevent the slump, and obviously, we want to do whatever we can to keep our kids on track and learning.
Up until now, you may not have thought about how your kid’s diet may also suffer during the summer. Inconsistent sleep and wake times, lack of a daily routine, and a plethora of snack foods can result in a limited and nutritionally-lacking diet. Since we all want to keep things easy during breaks, here are some simple things that you can do to help prevent a dietary slump.
Have your child(ren) help with the grocery shopping list. Since many kids will be home a lot more often during the summer, you will have to keep the kitchen stocked up! Either bring your kids along with you, or have them contribute to your list. If you see that they are focusing on sweet and salty snacks, remind them of other options: “It looks like we haven’t added any crunchy veggies yet. Which sound best to you? What about some hummus or ranch to go along with those?”
Prep healthy snacks ahead of time. Part of the reason that kids gravitate toward junk foods is because they are easily accessible. While many younger kids can’t yet slice and dice, they can usually open up a bag of chips. If you wash and prepare snacks, then store them at an accessible level, it will be easy to redirect them toward the foods you want them to be eating. Some great examples are cut-up fruits and berries on skewers, veggie sticks with peanut butter, cream cheese, etc., refried bean and tortilla wraps, turkey and cheese rollups, hard boiled eggs, mini sandwiches, edamame, yogurt parfaits, premade smoothie popsicles, and healthy trail mixes that you can store in the pantry.
Gather for a meal together. With kids coming and going all day, it is sometimes not as easy to plan family meals during summer, compared to the structure of the school months. It is beneficial to plan to sit down for at least one meal per day, where everyone is enjoying the same pre
pared meal. This will help to keep up your kids exposure to the entrees that the rest of the family prefers. These are the opportunities to push their comfort zones a bit, toward flavors and foods that may not be as familiar.
If variety is always a struggle for your child(ren), summer can be a great chance to seize that extra time to work on a healthier diet. Use the flexibility in their daily schedule to create more exposure to new foods. If you’re not sure where to start, I would recommend using my February post as a reference point to help determine an appropriate starting point for your child: https://www.sproutsfeedingtherapy.com/single-post/2019/02/19/Find-Your-Reset-from-NO-Mode