It’s July and the kids are out of school, so that means you’ve got some high-energy youngsters and a wealth of family time. It’s also National Picnic Month, making it the perfect time to eat healthy, get active and focus on hydration. Use this to your advantage to spend quality time outdoors with your family, creating memories that will last you long past the summer months.
Family Standing in Front of Home — Image by © Corbis
Good Nutrition & Family Cooking
Get the whole family involved in planning a picnic. Start by taking a trip to the grocery store to purchase fresh produce and healthy snacks. In terms of cooking and picnic prep, there are several ways you can get your kids involved in the process.
These can include:
- Measuring and pouring ingredients
- Stirring, mixing and combining ingredients
- Gathering ingredients: kids can fetch things you need from the fridge or the pantry
- Clean-up: kids can easily use a mop or a handheld dustpan if they’re old enough
- Packing the picnic basket: tell them they each get to pick one healthy thing to bring
Picnics are also an opportunity to incorporate family fitness. Set aside time during the picnic where everyone puts down their phones and gets up for an activity. This can be as simple as playing a game of catch, tag or kicking a ball around. Maybe even suggest a 15-minute walk around the park. If you want to make a day out of it, consider bringing everyone’s bicycles and take short rides together throughout the day. Mix it up by bringing a picnic to the local pool. Swim some laps while your kids play pool games and refuel after with a nutritious lunch or snack.
If your kids are in summer sports leagues and typically go in a group to get fast food or pizza after practice and games, propose a team picnic, where everyone packs a healthy meal to eat together on the field. It’s likely that the other parents will thank you, and you’ll all be healthier for it.
Live in a place where it’s not so hot and sunny outside? Fitness is still possible indoors. Create a mock picnic set-up with a couple blankets on the living room floor and have family jumping jacks or jump rope challenges. These are movements that are typically considered fun but actually provide some of the best cardio.
As the temperatures rise and the summer days get longer, hydration should also be a major focus, especially if you’re picnicking outside. Getting enough water is crucial to your health because your body is actually about 60-70% water. Water is key to digestion, food elimination and basically every bodily function. It controls your body temperature, maintains energy levels and ensures your muscles and joints work smoothly. Drinking the proper amount of water every day can seem like a daunting task, or just something else on your to-do list but it doesn’t have to be.
Luckily, hydration is not limited to just water. In fact, it can be easy to hydrate with some of your favorite summer foods, like the watermelon and cucumbers from the farmers’ market! This doesn’t mean that you can eat these foods as a replacement for water but that does mean that these are excellent choices for supplementing your daily water intake. These are also surprising sources of hydration for your kids, who might need to be prompted with reminders to get enough water. Kids are not always interested in drinking plain water and instead tend to prefer things like juice and soda. Ease the transition from these not-so-healthy options by adding fruit slices or fun-shaped ice cubes to their water to make it tastier and more fun.
Post Activity Nutrition
After the family wraps up their activity, they’re more than likely going to be hungry. We recommend packing an Herbalife Nutrition Protein Bar Deluxe (http://catalog.herbalife.com) to help with mindless snacking. The Protein bars are a great choice for a picnic, especially after getting active as they help to fill you up and build lean muscle.
For more healthy tips from Susan check out discovergoodnutrition.com.