Summer Break: Helping Kids Stay Healthy


Summer can provide everything you and your family need for a healthful time—more physical activity, more fresh produce, and more rest. However, in recent years, some experts have become concerned that children in America are gaining weight over summer break. These tips might help.

Scheduled meals

Make sure that your kids remain on a good meal routine—three square meals and two small snacks between meals.

Physical activity

Focus on physical activity when planning vacations. Try swimming, canoeing, bicycling, hiking, golfing (walk the course), skating, playing ball, etc.

TV time

Set a limit on “screen time.” This includes time watching television, playing video games, and sitting at the computer. Limit it to 2 hours/day.

Goal setting

Help your children set goals for what they would like to achieve over summer break. Have them write a list of things that they enjoy doing, so that they always can refer to it to give them ideas when they get bored. Many children end up eating more out of boredom during the summer.

Fruits and vegetables

Try new fruits and vegetables. Serve these nutritional gems at every meal.


Stick to water to quench thirst. Avoid sugar-laden beverages.

Healthy choices when eating out

Help your children pick healthy choices at restaurants. Many books are available that detail nutrition information for various restaurants. In addition, many restaurants list this information on their Web sites.

Indoor exercise area

Set up an indoor exercise area for days when it is just too hot to play outside. Ask your children for input on what they want to include in the area—hand weights, a Wii™, a jump rope, etc.

Unhealthy foods

If you children are old enough to help themselves to food and snacks, it is best not to keep unhealthy foods in the house. It is better to go out and treat your children to ice cream every once in a while, rather than keeping a large tub of ice cream in the freezer.

Meals and snacks

Children do need to eat more often than once every 4 hours, but they do not need a snack for a short car trip or a jaunt around the store. Food should never become a way of controlling children’s behavior—“If I give him a cookie, he is always good while I am grocery shopping.”

More great tips to ensure your kids has a safe and healthy summer

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