Healthful Summer Snacks

13142752_SWith summer coming, active children need good food to fuel their days. You can help direct them to healthy choices by making it easy to select the foods that are best for them. Here are a few ways to deliver healthful foods to your family.

Make it easy to eat well: Just the effort of washing and cutting up fruit and veggies can discourage your children from choosing those options. If you have pre-washed fruit cut in easy sizes to grab, and pre-chopped veggies next to a tasty dip – maybe made with ranch dressing mix and Greek yogurt – your children will be more likely to reach for the good stuff.

Make the junk hard-to-get or unavailable: You choose what goes in your shopping cart, so you control what options your kids have when it comes to food. If you know that bags of cookies last only hours in your house, just don’t buy them. Choose flavorful but more healthful options such as fruit-flavored frozen yogurt or cheese and crackers. Buy smaller containers of sweets, or distribute a limited amount yourself as part of a complete snack or dessert after a meal.

Consider smoothie: Kids love the cold and taste of fruit smoothies. You don’t need any fancy equipment to whip up a partially-frozen treat. Put some of the fruit in the freezer to keep things icy, and then blend in a standard blender. Frozen berries are often less expensive and more convenient than fresh and they taste just as good when added to the mix. Include some yogurt, almond or coconut milk, a banana and a few ice cubes to favorite fruits to make a drink that’s tasty and healthful.

Make your kitchen a great source for healthful food all summer. It will be good for them and for you too!

November is Good Nutrition Month

Wouldn’t you know it, the day after Halloween is the start of Good Nutrition Month! Here are a few suggestions to use your Fulton Homes kitchen to promote good eating for you and your family.

Ration Halloween candy: Of course chances are your little ones ate too much candy yesterday – and maybe you helped yourself to a bit more than you should have, too! Now that you’ve all had that indulgent experience, let your children know that this happens only once a year. Negotiate a specific number of pieces of candy every day. Here’s a hint – you start the negotiations at one piece and they will feel good if they can get you up to three, which is about where you want them to be anyway.

Use your kitchen space to drive your family to good snacks: Set up a shelf in the refrigerator with washed carrots and dip, sliced apples and cheese, peanut butter and other healthy choices. Let your kids know that those snacks are legal without getting permission. Place some whole-grain crackers on the counter or kitchen table along with bananas and other snacks that don’t need refrigeration. Make healthful snacks easy to access and junk food hard to find or simply nonexistent in your kitchen. Soon your family will automatically reach for the good stuff that’s in sight.

Get help with meal-planning and cooking. Make it fun for everyone and cook with the kids! Use your kitchen counter or island to plan and track meals for the week or even the month. Assign coupon searches to one child and grocery ads to another, with the promise that they will receive the savings as an addition to their allowances. Or you could have a contest with the one who saves the family the most money getting to choose a favorite meal for the next week. Print a copy of the food pyramid and have your whole family use it to plan meals that are well-balanced.

The holidays have started and it’s easy to get into bad food habits with entertaining and attending parties. You can create the opportunity to keep yourself and your family on a good nutrition path for the rest of the year and into the next!