School is out. Summer is in.

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child with watermelon

What happens when the school doors close for the summer? Research shows:

Our kids gain weight two to three times faster during the summer than during the school year. It may be due in part to the attitude of their parents. In a 2012 University of Minnesota study, parents often excuse excessive snacking or junk food choices because they didn’t think consuming unhealthy foods would harm kids who were otherwise healthy and active. Obesity prevention effort that target the school year exclusively may be undermined since weight gain typically occurs outside of school.

Here’s how to keep you and your family away from summertime spread:

Control breakfast

When you’re running the roads, breakfast tends to be the easiest meal to control. After a long night of bad decisions, a quiet morning usually follows. By having a solid breakfast, you will ensure at least one quality meal even on a very busy day.

Cross train

Take advantage of new surroundings and have fun. At the beach, walk quickly or sprint in the sand to exercise different muscles. Going for a swim is even better. Doing 5 minutes of heart pumping exercise 5 times a day will add up to a significant calorie burn.

Plan to take a break.

Where is this “rest” muscle, and how do I train it? Taking a rest week from work, dieting, heavy exertional exercise can be the perfect segway into your next phase of success. You will come back physically and mentally refreshed, without feeling guilty about it.

Change one thing that takes less than 5 minutes.

Time is precious when the kids are home from school and work is still requiring plenty of attention. Consider cutting up fruit before you leave so that there’s great food ready for them when they want a snack.

healthy travel

Travel smart.

Splurge on one meal a day, and eat lightly and inexpensively for the other two. Choose restaurants that have choices that will support your plan. Ask for the nutrition information from fast food restaurants if you need additional help on making your choice the healthiest. Be the first person to place your order so you are not tempted by others.

Bring it with you.

You’re going to get hungry. Having some healthy snacks available will help you make the right decisions. Summertime fruits come prepackaged with peels for easy transport, so grab a few pieces on your way out the door – recent studies show you can eat all the fruit you want without risk of diabetes.

Dr. Mary planned this article while cutting up fruit for her daughter, who is now out of school for the summer!

 

Posted on by Mary Clifton, MD

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