So Summer is in full swing here in Texas. It’s hot. And humid. And my kids are already bored by noon if we can’t go swimming. So, we’re getting creative. Or trying to be. If your reality looks anything like mine, you have requests for slurpees, popsicles, Sonic, ice cream, food at the cafe by the pool, hot dogs(which they never ask for in the winter…and they don’t even like them grilled. In fact last night I did chicken sausages on the grill and Lila freaked out because it was “dirty”) and if I’m lucky…watermelon/fresh fruit. I’m counting it a win that they request something nutritious. What is it about summer that makes everyone in my house feel like vegging out on junk?
I think it’s all the swimming and the heat and the activity. They are ALWAYS hungry. So, I’m trying to make some better options available for them, and for me. Because Lord knows if Oreo’s are in the house, it’s all over. Just keeping it real.
I tend to eat what’s available. So, if I’m making junk food available to my kids all the time, it’s available to me. Now don’t get me wrong, we have our share of snow cones and Sonic runs. It’s not a daily choice. But it’s something we do sometimes because well, you gotta live a little. And in my book, ice cream and slurpees are part of summer.
However, having some staples at home that are easy to whip together and that will keep you on track with healthy eating will go a long way. Promise. And if your pants are snug after vacation(I’m not speaking from personal experience AT ALL ahem) then you will be glad you put a little effort into preparing some good for you foods.
So, what are some foods you can have for yourself and your kids for the summer that will be healthy and delicious? I have 5 go to’s for you. Some for you, some your kids may like, and some for both.
A summer salad is one of my staples. It’s light, refreshing, and filling all at the same time. My kids don’t do salads, but they will eat almost everything I put ON this salad. Win?
My favorite mix is this:
- mixed spring greens
- diced cooked bacon
- cheese of choice(gorgonzola, feta, goat, blue)
- red onion
- turkey, chicken or tuna
- salt and pepper
- dressing of choice
If you are trying to lay off dressings you can toss the salad with some olive oil and juice from a lemon, Olive oil and balsamic vinegar or a light organic dressing. Pictured above is Panera balsamic vinaigrette. Or, you could bust out your blender and make your own. Either way, this salad makes its way into my kitchen…and my belly… once or twice a week.
We love smoothies in our house. I can throw just about anything into them and my kids don’t know it’s there. You can also whip up a smoothie and put them in popsicle molds and freeze them. This morning Lila chugged a fruit smoothie consisting of..
- unsweetened almond milk
- frozen mango blend(strawberry, mango and pineapple)
- fresh watermelon
- plain greek yogurt(I use Fage. It’s lower in sugar than some other’s that can have upwards of 30 grams!! So watch those yogurt labels..if they have a fruit or flavor added the sugar goes through the roof, and that’s not doing you any favors)
- agave nectar
She downed it. Last week at the beach our kids drank their weight in carrots and spinach all disguised in a smoothie. It’s also a great snack in the afternoon when everyone starts wandering into the kitchen. They get bored….so they wanna eat. Make them a smoothie and send them outside.
We also make chocolate smoothies. I just use a little of the unsweetened almond milk, spinach(my pickiest eater..like the one who gags on peas..downed this smoothie yesterday. The kid drank spinach and didn’t have a clue), cocoa powder, a tiny scoop of chocolate protein powder(I use Vega), natural peanut butter and ice. Blend away and load those kids up with a little chocolate and iron. It does a body good.
This is another one of my staples. My kids will eat scrambled eggs and sweet potatoes diced up, not together, but they are things they’ll eat if I have them on hand. So, this works well for everyone. Here is what I make ahead:
Dice sweet potatoes and toss with paprika, olive oil, salt and pepper. Place on cookie sheet and roast 25 min or so at 425. Let cool and place in a container in the fridge.
Bacon. I dice bacon and saute it in a skillet until browned. I then put it in my fridge so it’s ready to throw in.
- diced cooked bacon
- baked sweet potatoes
- hot sauce
Scramble your eggs until almost done, but still slightly wet. Throw in the sweet potatoes and bacon to heat up. Mix together. Toss in some spinach and let cook another minute or so. Then place in a bowl and top with diced fresh avocado and a sprinkle of hot sauce. Delish!!!
This is my go to breakfast or lunch. It is filling and totally clean. It’s a keeper.
I don’t know about you, but all my kids eat fruit. So, in the summer I try to keep what they like on hand and ready to go. Oranges(cuties), fresh watermelon in a container, strawberries, pineapple, grapes, berries(Lila can put away some raspberries and blackberries) and the list goes on. Find what they like and keep it. I know fruit is expensive so if budget is an issue, buy it frozen. Add it to some water or sugar-free lemonade, stick it in the freezer and make some popsicle’s out of it. Kids love it!!!
I keep oats, protein powder and peanut butter at the ready. These little bites are awesome and you can use all the ingredients(well almost) to make oatmeal as well like what is pictured above. All you need is:
- Quaker Oats(not quick)
- mini chocolate chips
- peanut butter(not the oily kind)
- protein powder
- toasted coconut
- honey(i use local) or agave nectar
- vanilla extract
- dash of organic cinnamon
- flax seed
Toast the coconut at 325 for 5-10 minutes until slightly browned and sit out to cool. Meanwhile toss together the oats(about 2 cups), honey, dash of cinnamon, 1 tsp vanilla, flax seed, cooled coconut, chocolate chips and peanut butter. Mix together and it’s all to taste. I don’t measure anything. I just add until it’s a consistency that can be mixed together and sticky. Put in fridge for 30 minutes. Using a tablespoon or an ice cream scoop make small bites out of the mix. Place in a ziplock or air tight container. You can keep them in the refrigerator or pantry.
My kids devour these and they usually only last a day or so. You can add or take away any of the ingredients. You can add mixed nuts, dried fruit or anything else your awesome mind can dream up. The possibilities are endless.
So there you have it. Some of my summer staples. My older two are literally wandering around the kitchen “bored.” They’re seriously driving me insane. Like vultures circling their prey. Am I their prey? It feels like it. Oh what’s that you’re bored? Ok here’s a book and a basket of clean laundry. Go to town.
LOVE THEM. But seriously, stop circling around me.
If you just need a little treat or pick me up or drown your summer can’t remember the last time you finished a complete thought or actually completed a task from start to finish without stopping half way through sorrows in…here are a few of my favorites:
*please note. I am a personal trainer. I’m not suggesting you “drown your sorrows” in unhealthy food choices. However, I am recognizing that we are all human here and that sometimes a really yummy not so good for you food item is just what the day calls for. I’m not too proud to admit that. And I love my kids. I love summer with them. In fact I told them that a few days ago. But some days……..So we’re moving on….
Panera pumpkin muffee and coffee….
Bullet Proof Coffee…..
And here is my very favorite popcorn….I could eat the entire bag…
Everything is better when paired with coffee…amen?
Homemade ice cream is always a good idea…
So there you have it. A few of my healthy staples with a couple of things we don’t eat every day but sure are great when we do. It’s not cheating, it’s living. So enjoy it sometimes. But enjoy it in moderation and stick to those clean staples in your house. You’ll be so glad you have them around. Happy Summer eating!!!
What are some of your go to summer healthy staples?
Any tips or tricks for getting some nutrition into your kids?