Fuel Your Family Well – All Summer Long! | Nature’s Path

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Fuel Your Family Well – All Summer Long!

Posted by Desiree Nielsen RD on July 13th, 2015 under General

Are you ready to play? The wait for summer is so long; as soon as the temperature rises, my family can’t wait to get (and stay) outside. Most weekends, you can find us at the beach, on the trails, hitting the local park and tending to our garden, of course. Summer is all about fun in the sun, so your family is going to need good nutrition to help keep you going.

Stay Hydrated

The longer you play in the sun, the more you need to hydrate. Carry insulated water bottles for each member of your family and to keep them nice and cold, freeze for an hour before you pack them. Or, flavour and chill at the same time by making ice cubes out of fresh fruit and 100% juice. Toss a few into each water bottle. You can also improve hydration by eating more fresh produce, which is naturally high in water content. Snack on watermelon, cucumbers, and berries to nourish and hydrate at the same time.

Avoid the Treat Trap

On road trips, at vacation spots, and even local attractions, it can be easy to fall into the treat trap. Summer treats are a fun part of the season, but if you’re regularly including poor quality choices like sodas and conventional snack foods into your family’s diet, energy levels will suffer. Instead, plan ahead so you can keep it healthy and organic:

  • Make delicious treats at home by freezing bananas on a skewer and coating them with dark chocolate
  • Make ice pops by pureeing fruit, with or without yogurt
  • Create delicious trail mixes with raw nuts, dried fruit and some whole grain cereal. Frozen grapes make an incredible snack too: just wash and freeze in a single layer, before transferring to a freezer bag.

For road trips, let each family member select 1-2 items to pack in the cooler.  Enjoy a picnic in a scenic spot instead of eating at a fast food restaurant. Stash easy-to-pack bars and homemade muffins into a backpack when visiting local attractions. Treat yourself and your family well!

Keep it Safe

Dining al fresco (as often as possible!) is one of the true joys of summer…but you have to pack smart to stay healthy. Pick up a large enough cooler to cart your family’s entire meal and stash plenty of ice packs to keep everything cold. Bring out food only when you are ready to eat it – especially dairy items – and ensure everything is washed and chilled before you pack it into your cooler so the temperature stays low.

Take Advantage of the Season

This is the time to eat every fruit and vegetable imaginable. Local, in season produce tastes so good, your family won’t even think about how healthy it all is! Take your family to an organic u-pick farm (and expect to pay for the extra pint your family will eat in the field) for a fun and active outing. Stop at the farmer’s market to load up on in-season produce and cook together as a family. Get kids involved in growing food, whether it is herbs on a windowsill or their favourite veggies in a backyard garden. Bake homemade goodies featuring local fruit and make preserves together that will keep summer flavours alive all year round.

Looking for more ways to treat your family to a nutritious summer? Try out some of our summer superfood recipes! And tell us – what are your favourite ways to keep your family healthy?

Desiree Nielsen RD

Desiree Nielsen is a registered dietitian in Vancouver, Canada and the author of the book, Un-Junk Your Diet. A passionate supporter of organic, non-GMO foods, Desiree encourages her clients to adopt a more plant-centred diet for increased vitality and sustainability. Follow Desiree on twitter @desireerd or visit her website at www.desireerd.com.