Summer Stomachs: Family-Friendly Summer Meal Tips

tips for healthy kids summer diet

School stomachs eat around the same time daily. Whereas summer stomachs may be on a total free for all.

A few weeks ago, a mother made a comment during her child’s nutrition assessment, “I told my kids to bring their school stomachs home for the summer.” This family was working on creating a meal and snack schedule that fit their routine for the summer to help keep them on track with their goals throughout the summer. Sounds like a great idea for all of us.

Assess Your Kids’ Eating Summer Schedule

If it seems like your child is constantly reaching or asking for a snack this summer, assessing their eating schedule may help. Try using the following tips:

  1. How how often are the kids eating? Kids and adults typically eat every three to four hours. Giving your digestive tract a break from working throughout the day (for 3 to 4 hours) is healthy. Imagine if someone were constantly knocking at your front door – that would get annoying! When you are constantly snacking or grazing throughout the day, that constant knocking is likely how your digestive tract is feeling. Let’s give it a break from working for at least three hours in between meals/snacks. 
  2. Hydrate! During the 3-4 hour break from eating, just stick to just water.
  3. Reduce Snacking: If kids are snacking throughout the day, they may end up being full when it is time to sit down and eat a meal. This is especially important for young children and toddlers, as family meals is a great opportunity for trying new foods. The hungrier they are the more likely they will try that new food!

If they are constantly snacking, assess if they are feeling bored or are they physically hungry.

Tips to avoid eating out of boredom

  • Separate yourself from the food environment, perhaps go outside for a walk or bike ride.
  • Use your hands to stay busy. For example, draw on the sidewalk with chalk, paint a picture, or read a book.
  • Brush your teeth and use mouthwash.
  • Close the kitchen and place a physical barrier in the way, such as a chair or piece of tape.
  • Call or Facetime a friend.
  • Pour a glass of water because you may be dehydrated.

Questions or interested in setting up a nutrition consult? Schedule an appointment with one of our pediatric dietitians at Feed to Succeed by phone (847-724-8015) or email Follow us on Facebook and Instagram for daily doses of cooking tips, nutrition tips and fun facts.