Monday, July 13, 2015
I am back to blogging, I am proud to announce. I am vacationing on the Jersey Shore with my extended family, including my two children (ages 12 and 8), my nephew (8) and niece (9 months), plus my parents, sister and brother-in-law. Each time I travel I am reminded how difficult it is to keep kids on track to eat healthfully, especially when away from home. Years ago, when families seldom got the opportunity to get away and partake in soda, cookies, cake and the like on a regular basis, there might have been better justification for indulging full force in these foods while on vacation. Today, however, these items are readily available, affordable and ready to eat almost any day of the week. So these foods are, for most families, no longer a huge treat. We need to keep kids from going wild on junk food on vacation because it is, well, what they can do every day if we let them! My strategy, which seems to be working so far (by day 3 of a 7-day vacation) is the following: -Explaining to the kids that we have great meals coming...that filling up on junk will just prevent them from enjoying the next barbecued chicken or grilled pizza. Between meals, they can have one ice pop or one piece of fruit. -Keeping soda absolutely absent from the house (a key one). We have fresh juice, milk and water. -Keeping fruits and veggies cut up and highly visible in the fridge, plus ripe bananas in bunches on the main eating table (I see the kids grabbing fruit now before anything else.) -Keeping the kids hydrated (getting in and out of the pool and ocean all day dehydrates kids, which often leads them to believe they are hungry when they are actually thirsty.) This goes for adults, too. Don't forget that the sun is beating down, you are being active, and therefore your body is using more water than usual. Hydrate! -Keeping them busy! This sometimes involves jumping in the pool to start a game, getting out a board game on a rainy day, or simply saying that it is not time to eat yet and that they need to find an activity. Keeping kids active and engaged keeps them out of the refrigerator. -Helping the wind-down process before bed by disallowing chocolate and junk food. Try to cut off the munching an hour or two before bedtime. I hope that you all have a wonderful vacation this summer, one as great and rejuvenating as mine. I hope that you can benefit from these tips in order to feel better about what your kids (and you!) are eating on vacation. All of these tips apply to adults, too--stay active by swimming, sunning, reading and interacting with your friends and loved ones. Put on music and dance. Talk a walk or bike ride on the beach. Enjoy actively and remember, what you eat to excess on vacation, stays on your hips well after vacation. Indulge, but in moderation. You'll enjoy yourself more and feel mentally and physically happier if you are eating moderately and exercising. Good food and exercise are luxuries!