What To Eat During Your Family's Nonstop Summer

For many parents, summer tends to be a time of baseball tournaments, soccer camps, vacations, and playdates. Although it sounds like this could be a more relaxing time of year for a lot of families, most of my clients find this season to be quiet the opposite. Here are a few ideas for packing up healthy meals while out and about.

HEALTHY COOLER BASICS

While out and about with little time or space for meal prep or cooking, planning ahead for healthy snacks and meals for your family. Make sure you have a cooler ready to go with at least one meal and a few healthy snacks that will keep you satisfied and cool. Summer is the ideal time of year to enjoy fresh, cooling fruits and vegetables. Before a sporting event or long car trip, gather the kids in the kitchen for a chop + pack session with reusable containers of nutritious foods. Stock up on sliced bell peppers, carrot sticks (make sure these are organic and freshly cut, skip the baby carrots, they typically have chemicals), cucumbers, raw zucchini sticks (they’re great!), berries, oranges, melons, tropical fruits, grapes, and strawberries and have some organic nut butters and hummus along for the ride. If you can keep it cold enough, organic yogurt or cheese sticks are a great option because of their packaging and satisfying protein content. Enjoy trail mix sparingly, organic jerky, your own homemade pre-made protein shakes (in a cooler cup) and fresh sandwiches. It may seem like a lot of work, but you’ll be thankful when you have these options ready to go instead of hitting a fast food restaurant or grabbing whatever is available at the ballpark. 

AT THE HOTEL

You can use a lot of the suggestions listed above for when planning a long car trip or a weekend away from home. Make a list of staples that you like to have while away from home that is easy to gather together without a lot of cutting, chopping, and cooking. This shouldn’t be a new idea every time you travel. Depending on the size of your family, it may be a good idea to grab some peanut butter with apples, rice cakes, and almond butter, cut up veggies/vegetable tray (watch the ingredients in the dips, or toss it and opt for organic hummus), and organic cheese and crackers. Sliced avocados or guacamole will ensure you are eating healthy fats too. If you have a refrigerator available to you, pre-made salads are always a quick and simple way to get some leafy greens in. Often when traveling, things like chips, pretzels, ice cream, burgers, and pizza (like when you’re hanging with other families after a game or visiting a small town, old school diner) will be more than prevalent and feel like the easiest option to “get something in” your family’s tummies. These options are hardly avoidable, so choose the healthiest options whenever possible. Sweets and fast food, if anything, should be occasional treats and not something to depend on for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Donuts for breakfast, french fries for lunch, pizza for dinner and ice cream for dessert are a sure-fire way to throw off your kids’ blood sugar, create tummy aches, and result in super crabby, anxious kids. 

STAY HYDRATED

No matter what time of year it is, if you are out of your routine while away from home, it’s easy to forget about your water intake or even be tempted for sodas, energy drinks, extra coffee treats, and alcohol. Again, not an issue if it’s a once in a while treat, but be aware that it can lead to dehydration, bad moods, and headaches. Make sure each family member is prepared with water bottles and don’t make a big deal about stopping for bathroom breaks.