The Crusader Newspaper Group

How to manage summer snacking

By Dr. Jeremy Daigle, health enews

A news service from AdvocateAuroraHealth

As summer break begins, many families will experience a shift in routine. For nearly nine months out of the year, those who are used to their days and weeks revolving around school and after-school activities undergo a major change. A big part of the school routine is a child’s meal and snack schedule. Children become used to eating at a certain time of day, but when summer rolls around, many parents wonder when and how to offer meals and snacks to their kids.

Generally speaking, it’s recommended to maintain as much consistency around mealtimes and regimens as possible throughout the year, whether or not a child is at school. Between winter and spring break and the much longer summer break, it can be easy for things to shift day to day, but children learn from routine. When there are regular inconsistencies in a schedule, children are not able to fully grasp the concept of regular routines. Routines and consistency help children, who are always learning about the world around them. When they know what to expect, it provides them comfort and stability. Children also learn from what they see their parents model. So, following a healthy, structured schedule for all members of the household with three meals a day and two snacks is important.

Many parents find their children asking for snacks more frequently during this time. In our Healthy Active Living Program, we recommend snacking like a PRO, which means providing snacks that contain a PROtein and PROduce. Produce, which includes fruits and vegetables, offers fiber, which helps with bowel health and long-lasting satiety. Produce should be paired with a protein, which helps keep you fuller for longer periods of time. Pairing produce and protein together provides the healthy vitamins and nutrients needed to maintain fullness until the next meal.

Examples of protein and produce snacks include apples with peanut butter, strawberries with yogurt or cucumbers with hummus. These can be packaged in advance and kept available in the fridge for children to choose from, which makes for a quick, easy and healthy snack in between meals.

To the parents getting ready to switch into summer break mode: try your best to not get discouraged or overwhelmed by the upcoming schedule changes. We can help our children to avoid creating unhealthy habits by taking a little time to prepare. Stay focused and don’t get discouraged. We are in this together!

Dr. Jeremy Daigle is the medical director of the Healthy Active Living Program for Advocate Children’s Hospital and the Chicagoland Children’s Health Alliance.

This article originally appeared on health enews.

Recent News

Scroll to Top