The summer heat has arrived in Middle Tennessee. The pavement is steaming and the pools are packed! By now the kids are out of school and you are adjusting to summer time schedule. For many of us, we go into summer with good intentions. We will have more time to dedicate to better planning, shopping, and eating choices. Despite our best intentions summer schedules fill up fast and are often full of random or spur of the moment activities, making it difficult for us to plan ahead. We find ourselves on the road constantly for vacations, family visits, sporting events, or just running errands.

Family events are a great time to strengthen your relationship and enjoy time together but do not throw out your commitment to healthy eating when you are on the road. It’s not a vacation from healthy eating! You can still take some steps to keep your family properly fueled during those busy summer adventures. In fact, outdoor sports and activities demand even closer attention to ensuring your children are staying properly hydrated, avoiding empty calories, and limiting high sodium and fat foods. Don’t let a day of double headers, dance rehearsal and a dentist appointments throw you off track. Plan ahead and consider some of these tips to keep the family energized and healthy!

summer healthy eating choices

On the Road

  • Pack a cooler or lunch box with bottled water, low fat string cheese, yogurts, fruits, and raw vegetables.
  • Bring along some trail mix, dried fruit, whole grain crackers, applesauce cups, sunflower seeds, and whole grain dried cereal.
  • For longer trips consider packing sandwich supplies for a picnic at a rest stop.
  • Pack lunches or a meals ahead of time from home.

Fast Food

  • If fries are a must, order a small size to share.
  • Choose water or low fat milk to drink.
  • Choose fruit, salad, yogurt or soup as a side instead of fries.
  • Hold the mayo, tartar sauce, sour cream or special sauces.
  • Use ketchup, mustards, vinegars and peppers to flavor your food.
  • Top salads with reduced fat dressing and avoid bacon or other crispy add-ons.
  • If a treat is on the agenda try soft serve in a cup and request children’s sizes.

Rules of the Road

  • Set aside times for snacks and meals.
  • Use your phone to search for healthy restaurants coming up on the road to avoid rushed decisions.
  • Allow sugary drinks or treats with certain meals or snacks.
  • Plan out shorter trips or errands around meals so that your family can have a healthy meal at home.
  • Invest in personal reusable water bottles for each family member to refill at water fountains. Allow each child to choose a special color or design.

Build Ahead Power Wraps

Whether you are headed on a long road trip or just to the pool, wraps are portable, easy to eat and can be stuffed full of healthy foods! Just start will a whole grain tortilla and try some of these fun combinations. Wrap your creation in foil or plastic wrap and go!

  • Nut Butter and Fruit: choose your favorite nut butter and spread over your tortilla and top with blueberries, bananas, apple slices, or raisins.
  • Hummus and Veggies: chose your favorite hummus and spread over your tortilla and top with sliced bell peppers, shredded carrots, cabbage, cucumbers, and tomatoes.
  • Avocado and Meat: Spread avocado or place slices over your tortilla and layer with your favorite low fat deli meat or tuna. Add low fat cheese if desired.
  • Sweet Treat: for a sweeter wrap spread low fat cream cheese or hazelnut spread over tortilla and top with fresh berries, chocolate chips, fresh fruit and a dash of cinnamon.

Be sure to allow your children to help you assemble and plan out meals and snack on the go. Do not be afraid to get creative and allow food to be a healthy fun part of summer break. Be tired from endless soccer games and trips to the pool, not from the food you eat. The time you dedicate to healthier food will be well worth the effort!