Balance your Family Right This Summer!

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By Helen Agresti

familyAre you setting your child up for a healthy life? Your willpower as a parent will most likely determine the health of your child’s life as an adult. Naturally, children acquire their parents eating habits and practices.

Now that summer vacation is upon us, most parents stress over the abrupt change of schedule and finding enough activities to occupy their kids. Whether you’re a stay at home parent or a working parent, it’s a challenging time to be a chauffer, cook, and housekeeper. In the midst of this chaos, most parents find themselves taking the “whatever’s easy” or “convenient” path to feeding their family.

Even with game filled nights of lacrosse, soccer, or a swim meet, planning healthy family dinners 3-4x a week should be achievable. If we can make time for camps, practices, and games, we can find the time to eat healthy meals at home with our family. Many people often ask, but how do I balance our busy summer schedule with having enough time to prepare healthy meals at home?

Here are a few things you can do to achieve that balance:

1. Schedule family dinners on the calendar at least 1 week in advance. Pencil in an entrée on each of those days. For example, grilled salmon, barbecue chicken, pork tenderloin or pulled pork sliders.

2. Grocery shop with a plan. Work around your entrées for the week. Purchase enough produce to create easy to prepare side dishes. For example, corn on the cob, asparagus, salad greens, and zucchini.

greenpeppers3. Save time by having your vegetables washed and your entrée marinating prior to dinnertime.

4. Don’t commit to everything. Avoid spreading your family too thin. There’s nothing wrong with putting what’s best for your family first.

5. Limit your time on social media. Program your phone to alert you when it’s time to disconnect. We’re much more productive when we allow ourselves a specific amount of time to be social.

6. Enjoy the moment. Get your kids involved with preparing family meals. Use this time to talk and listen to your kids. Sitting down at a table with your family should be free of distractions from the television, phone, and laptop.

Cheers to a Healthy, Happy, and Safe Summer!

– Helen Agresti is a Registered Dietitian with Professional Nutrition Consulting, LLC. For more healthy tips and recipes visit her on the web at