Girl eating watermelon during summer

Summer is here! Those regular school day routines are out the window and summer sports and programs are likely in full swing by now.

It's not uncommon for schedules to change during this time of year, which can affect our eating habits. After all, summer schedules often mean meal times change and there's likely more free-time snacking taking place. To help combat this, parents should make sure meals and snacks are smart and healthy. Below are some tips.

1. Eat fresh. Summer is the biggest growing season of the year for fruits and vegetables. Pineapples, melons, pears, summer squash and other healthy produce are in abundance and can be added to meals or eaten as snacks. Farmers markets throughout the city can provide an outing and fresh, healthy food options. To see a full list of farmers markets, click here

2. Keep your house stocked with healthy options that are easily accessible. Wash and cut up fruit and vegetables and have them in ready-to-go baggies or containers in the refrigerator. Portion out healthy snacks and have them available in a cabinet drawer so that when kids are hungry, they can easily grab them. When you don’t have junk food in the house, you don’t have the option binge eat it.

3. Meal prep. Set aside time each week to plan and cook meals. If you know you have a busy evening, have sandwiches or other easy fare ready to go so you can just pack it in the car. Having healthy options ready in the fridge or freezer will prevent you from stopping at a fast-food places or grabbing something unhealthy from the concession stand.

4. Eat together as a family. Not only is this important for communication and nutrition, but it's a great way to bond with those in your home. This is important to do especially in the summer when the entire family might be really busy with lots of activities and events.

5. Get the whole family involved. Whether it's getting together to plan out possible meals, create grocery lists, meal prep or sitting together to eat, make sure you make time to get the whole family involved.

Don't forget we establish our eating habits as children. Use this summer as a time to instill good eating habits as well as to support your local farmers and food producers. Don't let trying to keep kids busy get in the way of keeping them healthy.

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Angee (Henry) Nott is a former University of Nebraska track athlete who was a three-time Big 12 champion and a 10-time All-American. She was inducted into the Nebraska High School Sports Hall of Fame in 2010. She has coached track and cross country at Boys Town High School since 2004, where she is also an English teacher. She continues to empower her students to reach their potential on the track and in the classroom.

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