Hey parents, coaches, teachers, grandparents and other child-minders, summertime is all the more reason to give the children in your care water-rich foods along with their favorite electrolytic beverage.
I love summer for it’s long walks in shady parks, splash pads, and WATERMELON – yum! After 20 minutes in plus 25 degrees humidity your garden is likely going to want some watering. Children are our most precious flowers and they need the water (and the minerals and vitamins that come with water-rich foods) more than we do because of their lower surface area.
Whether they are playing hard or just chillin’ under a tree, kids of all ages will enjoy crunchy bell peppers, cucumbers, celery and zucchini sticks, cherry tomatoes, Romaine lettuce and all sorts of fruit for their natural, sweet juiciness. These foods have the added value of immune-boosting vitamin C, calming magnesium and filling fiber. Pair with a cocoa banana smoothie (see below), coconut water, water with lemon, water with mint leaves, or just plain ol’ water at snack time, and you have the winning recipe for children with even-kneel energy, alertness and health.
Parents I advise often ask, “What about juice?” I cringe at the thought of really young children getting juice. What a dentist’s nightmare! They suck it back like mother’s milk, except it displaces mother’s milk or whatever ever milk they are drinking.
From a body weight standpoint there are studies that say juice is bad, or good. For sure, it is bad for blood sugar control as it is just fructose (fruit sugar) or in some cases glucose-fructose (even worse) with no fiber. So what you get is a child on an internal roller coaster of energy spikes and drops. No matter which way you slice it, fruits and vegetables with a tall glass of water will always, always, always be the healthier choice.
Still, juice boxes are a convenient source of calories and fluid when in a pinch. Treat juice like a treat, if this convenience is something your lifestyle demands. Water it down, half in half, and insist on a neutralizing source of protein such as nuts, seeds or cheese afterwards.
Here’s my quick ‘n’ dirty recipe for a smoothie most kids will go for:
Cool Cocoa Banana Blast
1/2 really ripe banana
1 tbsp pure cocoa powder
1 cup almond milk (or whatever milk agrees with your child’s system)
handful of baby spinach (honestly, they won’t taste it)
4 ice cubes (if desired)
Blend it up and serve with a big straw. If on the go, pour into a frosted sippy cup and enjoy the smiles!