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When the kids are home for the Summer it feels like all they do is snack – ALL DAY LONG. Do you ever stop and wonder when is the last time my kid had a vegetable? Me too. That’s why we’re setting some snacking expectations to limit the amount of junk food my child consumes. Use these Healthy Summer Eating for Kids guidelines to make sure your kids are getting the nutrition they need instead of filling up on junk. Plus, download the free Healthy Summer Eating Tracker available in my resource library.
Control the Junk Food
Let me start by saying if you are absolutely against your child eating junk food the easiest way to prevent them from having it is by keeping it out of your house. You are in control.
While we try to eat mostly healthy, unprocessed foods we do enjoy some treats from time to time. We go with more of an 80/20 approach. At meal times my child eats what we eat , for the most part. So I’m okay with having chips and candy in the house with the understanding that they are a sometimes food.
As a working mom who works from home I’ll be honest and tell you I don’t monitor too closely all the snacks my son eats. He’s pretty good about asking if he can have chips or candy. But, my office is nowhere near the kitchen so who knows what he is eating. That’s why we’ve set some expectations for snacking in our home.
Before reaching for processed snacks like chips & fruit snacks, I’ve let my child know he must first eat something from these food groups: Protein, Veggies & Fruit. He must also drink at least one glass of water.
Fill Up On Healthy Foods
The idea is to have kids fill up on healthy foods first. Protein, veggies and fruit provide essential nutrients for your child’s growing & active body. Carbohydrates are also important but I’m not as worried about my child getting those in since we usually have them with each meal.
It’s also important for your child to stay hydrated by drinking enough water, especially during the hot Summer months. According to Health.com sometimes thirst can be mistaken for hunger. So before your child reaches for a snack have them drink a glass of water first.
Healthy Summer Eating For Kids Tracker
Use the Healthy Summer Eating Tracker template to come up with guidelines for healthy eating with your child and track them. I find it’s best to spell everything out. Write out what you consider “junk food” so they know what is not acceptable to eat until they’ve checked off their healthy foods.
Before your child reaches for anything you consider junk food have them eat at least one (or more if you’d like) food from each category. Have your child help you fill out the foods they like for each category. Then print out your list and hang it on the refrigerator or pantry door so they can see it.
You can also drop the Healthy Summer Eating Tracker in a plastic sheet protector. Use dry erase markers to check off the boxes. At the end of the week simply wipe clean and start again.
Access the Healthy Summer Eating Tracker in my free resource library. Get the password for the free library by subscribing below.
The best way to help your kids eat healthy this Summer is to make healthy foods easy to grab and eat. At the beginning of the week do a little meal prep for your child’s snacks. Wash, cut and portion any fruits and vegetables. Use tupperware or ziploc baggies to portion then store where your child can reach them. You need to make them as easy to grab and eat as your child’s favorite bag of chips.
Learn more about helping your child make healthy choices in my Healthy Eating for Kids post and grab the Adventures in Eating Food Tracker.
Another way to help your child avoid snacking on unhealthy foods all day is to prevent them from eating out of boredom. Help them get outside with some of these activity ideas.