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Get Healthy and Active With Your Family during National Picnic Month

National Picnic Month

It’s July and the kids are out of school, so that means you’ve got some high-energy youngsters and a wealth of family time. It’s also National Picnic Month, making it the perfect time to eat healthy, get active and focus on hydration. Use this to your advantage to spend quality time outdoors with your family, creating memories that will last you long past the summer months.

Family Standing in Front of Home — Image by © Corbis

Good Nutrition & Family Cooking

Get the whole family involved in planning a picnic. Start by taking a trip to the grocery store to purchase fresh produce and healthy snacks. In terms of cooking and picnic prep, there are several ways you can get your kids involved in the process.

These can include:

  • Measuring and pouring ingredients
  • Stirring, mixing and combining ingredients
  • Gathering ingredients: kids can fetch things you need from the fridge or the pantry
  • Clean-up: kids can easily use a mop or a handheld dustpan if they’re old enough
  • Packing the picnic basket: tell them they each get to pick one healthy thing to bring

Fitness

Picnics are also an opportunity to incorporate family fitness. Set aside time during the picnic where everyone puts down their phones and gets up for an activity. This can be as simple as playing a game of catch, tag or kicking a ball around. Maybe even suggest a 15-minute walk around the park. If you want to make a day out of it, consider bringing everyone’s bicycles and take short rides together throughout the day. Mix it up by bringing a picnic to the local pool. Swim some laps while your kids play pool games and refuel after with a nutritious lunch or snack.

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If your kids are in summer sports leagues and typically go in a group to get fast food or pizza after practice and games, propose a team picnic, where everyone packs a healthy meal to eat together on the field. It’s likely that the other parents will thank you, and you’ll all be healthier for it.

Live in a place where it’s not so hot and sunny outside? Fitness is still possible indoors. Create a mock picnic set-up with a couple blankets on the living room floor and have family jumping jacks or jump rope challenges. These are movements that are typically considered fun but actually provide some of the best cardio.

Hydration

As the temperatures rise and the summer days get longer, hydration should also be a major focus, especially if you’re picnicking outside. Getting enough water is crucial to your health because your body is actually about 60-70% water. Water is key to digestion, food elimination and basically every bodily function. It controls your body temperature, maintains energy levels and ensures your muscles and joints work smoothly. Drinking the proper amount of water every day can seem like a daunting task, or just something else on your to-do list but it doesn’t have to be.

Luckily, hydration is not limited to just water. In fact, it can be easy to hydrate with some of your favorite summer foods, like the watermelon and cucumbers from the farmers’ market! This doesn’t mean that you can eat these foods as a replacement for water but that does mean that these are excellent choices for supplementing your daily water intake. These are also surprising sources of hydration for your kids, who might need to be prompted with reminders to get enough water. Kids are not always interested in drinking plain water and instead tend to prefer things like juice and soda. Ease the transition from these not-so-healthy options by adding fruit slices or fun-shaped ice cubes to their water to make it tastier and more fun.

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Post Activity Nutrition

After the family wraps up their activity, they’re more than likely going to be hungry. We recommend packing an Herbalife Nutrition Protein Bar Deluxe (http://catalog.herbalife.com) to help with mindless snacking. The Protein bars are a great choice for a picnic, especially after getting active as they help to fill you up and build lean muscle.

For more healthy tips from Susan check out discovergoodnutrition.com.

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Susan Bowerman, M.S., RD, CSSD, CSOWM, FAND – Director, Worldwide Nutrition Education and Training, Herbalife Nutrition

Susan Bowerman is the director of nutrition training at Herbalife Nutrition , where she is responsible for the development of nutrition education and training materials, and is one of the primary authors of the Herbalife sponsored blog, Discover Good Nutrition. She is a registered dietitian, a board certified specialist in sports dietetics and a fellow of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Susan graduated with distinction in biology from the University of Colorado, and received her master’s degree in Food Science and Nutrition from Colorado State University. She then completed her dietetic internship at the University of Kansas. Susan has taught extensively and developed educational programs targeted to individuals, groups and industry in her areas of expertise, including health promotion, weight management and sports nutrition. Prior to her role at Herbalife, she was the assistant director of the UCLA Center for Human Nutrition, and has held appointments as adjunct professor in nutrition at Pepperdine University and as lecturer in nutrition in the Department of Food Science and Nutrition at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. Susan was a consultant to the (then) Los Angeles Raiders for six seasons, and was a contributing columnist for the Los Angeles Times Health Section for two years. She is a co-author of 23 research papers, 14 book chapters, and was a co-author of two books for the public: “What Color is Your Diet?” and “The L.A. Shape Diet” by Dr. David Heber, published by Harper Collins in 2001 and 2004, respectively.

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