Many parents agonize at the thought of having their kids home for the entire summer, sitting around for endless hours glued to their electronics or bored with nothing fun to do. However, summer doesn't have to be agonizing for parents nor boring for the kids.
When I think of summer, I am reminded not only of the beach and vacations full of adventures, but also of the abundance of fresh fruits, vegetables and making delicious summer recipes. In my humble opinion, summer is the perfect time to start mastering some healthy habits. Whether you're looking for adventures or a few delicious recipes, summer is the perfect time to kick new life into your daily habits.
Here are five ways to make that happen:
Plant a home garden
Planting a garden can spark the motivation needed to start preparing healthy meals. This summer, try growing spinach, tomatoes or fresh herbs. This is an easy and inexpensive way to feed the family foods they have grown with their own little hands. The flavors will be amazing, and the memories will last far beyond harvest season!
Take your workouts outside
Give the gym a break. Biking, hiking trails, boardwalks, parks and water activities can change your workout scenery and bring new meaning to exercise. Explore nature in your neighborhood or travel to a completely new destination close to home for a new adventure that will make you break a sweat.
Pack a healthier picnic
I can't think of anything more fun than packing a picnic to enjoy the outdoors with your friends and family. Pack a cooler with fresh fruits such as watermelon slices, peaches, strawberries or grapes. Make quick and easy meals to go such as finger sandwiches, watermelon slices, trail mix and your favorite refreshing drinks.
No electronics day
Turn off your electronics for at least one day of the week, and if this is not possible, turn off those distracting notifications. The best way to stay connected with your friends and family is to spend face time with them, and I am not talking about "FaceTime", but actually spending time with your friends in person.
Make a recipe with the kids
Pull those cookbooks off the shelf and start looking for yummy recipes with your kids. Involving kids in the kitchens is a fun and easy way to get the kids a much-needed cooking lesson while developing long-lasting nutrition habits.
Here are a couple of my family's favorite recipes to get you started.
The first one highlights an ingredient most of us should be eating more of: fish. Fish is rich in brain-building nutrients, including omega-3 fatty acids, and should be eaten two to three times each week. This is especially important for pregnant and breastfeeding women and small children.
The second is my family's favorite banana bread recipe. Bananas are packed with health benefits, including the ability to help you learn and keep you alert. Now that's something that could benefit all kids! I hope you enjoy them as much as we do.
Roasted Poblano & Potato Salad with Tuna
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Makes: Approximately 4 servings (1 ¼ cup each)
2 poblano chiles
1 pound red potatoes (approximately 8 medium), cut into 1/2 inch pieces
3 to 4 tablespoons olive oil or canola oil
3 tablespoons lime juice (juice of 1 lime)
1/4 teaspoon lime zest (thin strips of peel) 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup red onion, sliced thinly
2 (6-ounce) cans tuna packed in water, drained
- Roast poblanos on grill on high heat or in oven broiler, turning every 1-2 minutes until skin is blackened, about 5 minutes on the grill, or 10 minutes on the broiler. Place peppers in a bowl and cover. Let sit for 10-15 minutes.
- Boil potatoes in 8 cups water for about 10 minutes or until tender. May microwave for 6 to 8 minutes or until tender. Drain and return to pot. Cover and set aside.
- Combine oil, lime juice, lime zest, cilantro, pepper and salt in blender for a few seconds or until smooth.
- Rub the blackened skins off the poblanos and remove stems and seeds. Rinse to remove all seeds. Cut into thin strips.
- Place warm potatoes, prepared poblanos and red onions in large bowl. Pour lime dressing mixture over and mix gently. When potatoes are cool, add tuna and toss all ingredients together lightly. Serve over lettuce.
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Bake Time: 70 minutes
Makes: 1 loaf
¾ cup sugar
3 large ripe bananas, mashed
¾ cup soybean oil
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 eggs or ½ cup egg substitute
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
- Preheat oven to 325° F. and spray a loaf pan with non-stick cooking spray.
- In a large bowl, mix sugar, bananas, oil, eggs and vanilla. Stir in remaining ingredients until well incorporated. Pour mixture into loaf pan.
- Bake for about 65 to 70 minutes or until a knife comes out clean. Let cool before slicing.