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Keeping Kids Energized

Three tips for fueling summer adventures

July 2024

story courtesy Family Features

Summer is the time to get outside and remember the importance of outdoor activities that can be enjoyed as a family. Encouraging children at an early age to participate in outdoor exploration can help foster lifelong skills.

For example, research recently published in the “International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health” found associations between nature exposure and improved cognitive function, brain activity, blood pressure, mental health, physical activity and sleep. What’s more, kids who play outside and take part in outdoor adventures more adeptly learn skills like problem-solving, according to the American Academy of Pediatricians.

However, for many families with little ones, this summer might be their first foray into activities like exploring playgrounds or enjoying backyard campouts.

Opportunities to be more active outdoors bring apparent benefits. With that in mind, it’s essential that families embark on these activities with the proper fuel.

All the energy kids burn playing outdoors and taking on new adventures can work up an appetite, making it an opportune time to introduce new foods. It might even be a little one’s first time trying seasonal fruits and veggies that can help nourish family playtime.

“A healthy curiosity and freedom to explore are essential ingredients for successful adventures, but fueling all of that fun is equally important,” says Sarah Smith-Simpson, Ph.D., principal food scientist at Gerber. “Kids need well-balanced nutrition from various sources to fuel their summertime play.”

Ensure your family is ready to make memories and enjoy the exciting adventures ahead with these tips from Smith-Simpson:

Get Colorful with Fruits and Veggies

Serving a rainbow of colors with an assortment of fruits and veggies means nutrient-rich snacks that are equally flavorful and fun. One of the best parts about fruits is that they’re easily transportable for warm days exploring a nearby park. They’re perfect for a quick snack on the go — just cut them according to your child’s age and developmental stage to avoid hazards like choking, and then pack them in a small cooler to keep them from spoiling.

Pack Plenty and a Variety of Snacks

It’s the time of year when infants and young children need extra fuel for playtime, making it essential for parents to offer a variety of nutritious foods and flavors. A crucial part of inspiring exploration in young children begins with nutrient-rich snacks that help fuel their adventures. Introducing diverse foods can help expand palates and provide a wide range of nutrients to support the entire family.

Hydrate on the Go

Avoid dehydration by ensuring you’re bringing enough water for the entire family on all your summertime trips, whether they’re around the block or across the country. Use refillable bottles for mom and dad, and for little ones, be sure to pack non-spill sippy cups for toddlers that help avoid messes. Fill a larger container with clean water from home, which you can use to refill everyone’s cups, bottles and canteens to stay hydrated throughout the day.