How To Create Structure for Your Family This Summer

Creating a structure and a routine for you and your kids over the summer months can have great benefits for the whole family.

Does creating a routine during the summer seem stressful & overwhelming?

Trust me, I know how easy it is to throw a schedule out the door when summer break starts. 

But this may have consequences! You lose focus on all the things you’ve worked on throughout the year, including the balance you’ve created in your life, and your kids’ lives.

Scientific studies have even shown that when the structure is put in place, people have a greater chance of sticking to lifestyle changes and habits.

So, let’s talk about the importance of creating a structure for you and your family this summer and some tips that I’ve found helpful.

Why Is Structure Important?

Stress increases for parents when school is out, and some of this is due to the lack of schedule and structure in everyone’s life. 

The chaos begins with kids home all day, camps and vacations, and endless pool time (which is all SO fun!).

But we all can benefit from having a schedule of some kind in place. Having a routine in place will help both you and your kids stay focused during the summer months.

Let me be clear, that doesn’t mean planning every minute of every day. What it DOES mean is having some idea of what will happen each day that week.

Don’t worry- having structure does not need to be as complicated as you may think! You can follow these tips below that have worked for me & my family, as well as my clients.

Tips for Creating Structure 

  • Plan your workouts ahead of time each week. 
    • Schedule them into your planner and make them a non-negotiable! 
    • You may need to start early morning workouts to ensure they get done.
  • Look ahead and see what days you will try to do a playdate at a friend’s house, have kids over for playdates and pool days, and hire a babysitter to give you some time.
  • Involve your kids in the planning! You would be surprised how much they like to give input & it makes them feel as if they have a say too.
  • Have a general morning and night routine in place that you can do consistently. 
  • Consider a summer camp program that is educational or involves physical activity. This gives you some more time during the day & keeps kids engaged!
  • Even though structure is important, part of a good routine is flexibility! Make sure to leave room for “flex days” or days where things just might not go as planned. 

Use these tips above to help you build a foundation and balanced routine for yourself and your family this summer!

The Takeaway

If you’re feeling like your stress levels are high or the kiddos are misbehaving, think back to the structure you all are used to during the school year and how that is different at home.

Try to implement habits and activities that feel familiar and work well for you and your family.

I know parenting and keeping a routine during the summer months can be challenging, but it is well worth it to create a sense of structure in your life! For both you and your kiddos. 


Healthy Snacks: A 5 Step How-To Guide

Learning how to build healthy snacks is important for your overall health! Snacks help to keep us full throughout the day, balance our blood sugar levels, and prevent overeating later on in the day.

But have you ever been in a grocery store and felt overwhelmed by all of the snack options? Have you struggled to find an option that was balanced and satiating (keeps you full)?

I am sharing my guide for building healthy snacks as a registered dietitian! 

So you can skip the stress at the grocery store and have more control over the ingredients you are eating. 

Let’s get started and make sure to save this post for later! 

1. Pack It with Protein

Protein is important for keeping your body strong and building muscle. Protein also helps to keep you fuller for longer which makes it a key component in a balanced snack!

  • Aim for at least 10 grams of protein in your snacks. 
  • Examples of adding protein to your snacks:
    1. Greek yogurt
    2. Hummus
    3. Canned tuna
    4. Protein Bars
    5. Boiled eggs
    6. Roasted chickpeas/lentils
    7. Protein powder
    8. Smoked salmon slices
    9. Nuts/trail mix

2. Add a Fruit or Vegetable

Fruits and vegetables are full of vitamins, minerals, and fiber which your body needs daily to function. 

Putting an extra focus on including fruits and vegetables in your snacks is a great way to make sure you are fueling your body. You can eat them whole or sliced up!

  • Examples of fruits and vegetables for snacking:
    • Baby Carrots
    • Sliced Cucumbers
    • Celery
    • Sliced Bell Peppers
    • Apple Slices
    • Strawberries
    • Grapes
    • Bananas
    • Oranges

3. Choose the Whole Grain

Whole grains have lots of fiber and nutrients that are important for your body’s digestion! They can help give your body energy to last throughout the day.

Examples of getting more whole grains in your snacks:

  • Whole-grain pretzels
  • Whole-grain crackers
  • Whole-grain energy bars 
  • Whole-grain toast
  • Brown rice
  • Oatmeal
  • Buckwheat cereal
  • Toasted quinoa

4. Add a Healthy Fat

Healthy fats help control your hormones, hydrate your skin, and lower your risk of heart disease. Having a good source of fat in your snack can help keep you fuller for longer!

Examples of healthy fats to add to your snacks:

  • Avocados
  • Olive oil drizzle
  • Nuts + seeds
  • Egg yolks
  • Olives
  • Nut butter (peanut, almond, etc.)

5. Pair It All Together

Boost your snack by having more than one macronutrient (carbs, fats, protein) at each snack!

As a dietitian, I recommend choosing at least one protein source and then a carb/fat source (or both). 

Some great combo snack examples:

  • Vegetables and hummus
  • Fruit and peanut butter
  • Avocado and whole-grain toast with smoked salmon slices
  • Greek yogurt and nuts
  • Jerky, cheese, and whole-grain crackers

I have other great snack ideas and travel hacks in my latest blog post on balanced eating while traveling!

Building healthy snacks doesn’t have to be difficult. Listen to your body and choose your ingredients based on what you enjoy and what makes you feel good!

Focus on nutritious snacks that have lots of vitamins, minerals, and fiber. These will keep you satisfied for longer and help prevent overeating later on. 

If you are having trouble creating a list of snacks you enjoy eating that are also nutrient-dense, schedule an appointment with me for nutrition coaching today. 


Balanced Eating While Traveling: 4 Tips That Can Help

Traveling for a vacation or business conference can often lead to feelings of stress or being overwhelmed over what types of food to eat and what you will have access to.

However, traveling is supposed to be exciting and food can be a memorable part of the trip! 

In this article, I will be going over some of my best quick tips as a registered dietitian to reduce your stress about food and help you better manage balanced eating while on the road!

Use these four tips below to help yourself feel prepped and ready to go with your travel nutrition before your next trip. 

1. Plan Your Food Stops Ahead of Time

Planning your food stops ahead of time can help save you both time and stress when trying to decide where to eat and find food that fits your lifestyle.

  • Markets: You can find a lot of healthy food options in markets during your travels. Look for foods like hummus, pre-cut fruits and vegetables, sandwiches, and salads.
  • Local Delis: When eating at the local delis on your trip, choose whole-grain breads, and leaner proteins (like turkey and chicken), and load up on the lettuce and tomatoes for your sandwiches! To create a more balanced meal, opt for a veggie-heavy side such as celery sticks and peanut butter. 
  • Fast Food: Does your trip location only have fast food options available? Don’t panic! You can still find healthier options to manage more balanced eating here too. Look at the menus’ nutrient analysis online ahead of time to pick foods that are lower in sodium, saturated fats, and added sugars.
    • A few ideas are: grilled chicken patties, yogurt parfaits, protein-style burgers, chili/soup with whole-grain crackers
  • Restaurants: Trust me, you don’t have to get a salad for every meal while on vacation in order to eat more balanced! There are a ton of ways to continue to choose more balanced options like: 
    • Selecting vegetables as a side item
    • Adding a side salad with dressing on the side
    • Asking the restaurant to season your food with herbs/spices instead of salt or cook with olive oil instead of butter

2. Pack the Non-Perishable Foods

Snacks are a must-have when traveling! Be prepared for any trip by packing these healthier non-perishable foods:

  • Whole fruits (apples, bananas, oranges)
  • Beef jerky and Babybel cheeses
  • Pre-portioned nuts and seeds
  • Whole-grain crackers or pretzels
  • Carrot and celery sticks
  • Nut butter (peanut, almond)
  • Protein granola bars (hint: look for bars that have at least 10 grams of protein and little to no added sugars)
  • Pre-made trail mix

Bonus tip:

  • Buying pre-portioned food options can sometimes get pricey. If you are looking to save on costs and have the extra time, buy the food in bulk at Costco or Sam’s club and portion it into baggies yourself. 

3. Choose Foods from the 5 Main Food Groups

If you’re having a hard time trying to keep your eating balanced, think through your meal choices by comparing them to the five main food groups for healthy nutrition.

If you are mindful of what you are eating and how much you are eating, chances are your meals will be more balanced. Focus on eating meals and snacks that contain at least two of these healthy food groups.

  1. Fruits (examples: strawberries, apples, bananas, grapes, oranges, blueberries)
  2. Vegetables (examples: cucumbers, celery, carrots, lettuce, spinach, bell peppers)
  3. Lean Proteins (examples: eggs, chicken, fish, turkey, beans, organic tofu)
  4. Whole Grains (examples: whole grain bread/crackers, whole-wheat pasta, brown rice)
  5. Low-Fat Dairy (examples: string cheese, greek yogurt, low fat milk)

For snacks:

As a dietitian, I typically recommend my clients pair a protein with a carb/fat source for a balanced snack that will keep you full and satisfied. 

Check out one of my most recent Instagram posts that goes over six different balanced snack ideas while traveling!

4. Identify What Food Storage You Have Access to on the Trip

Identifying what food storage you will have access to while traveling can be a huge game-changer that is often overlooked. Make sure to call your hotel or Air BnB ahead of time to figure out what options you have while on your trip!

  • Refrigerator/Mini-fridge: Do you have access to a fridge? Great! Keep quick foods on hand so that you can easily access them when you are hungry at your hotels. Stocking up on some of the foods mentioned above is a great way to add more balance to your eating habits on the go.
  • Coolers: Going on a road trip? Taking a cooler is a great way to keep snacks and drinks cool during your adventures. Stock your cooler with water bottles, smoothies, pre-cut fruits and vegetables, greek yogurt cups, and more! 
  • Storage Containers/Bags: Packing storage containers can be helpful when on a trip so that you can save your leftovers for another day to help with prepping for later and proper portion control. This will save you money and help prevent food waste, so it’s a win-win! 

Balanced Eating Takeaways

The most important thing to remember when traveling is to have fun! Don’t let yourself become too stressed about food choices that could ruin your trip. Also, don’t forget to hydrate!

Keeping these four tips in mind will help you enjoy a trip full of balanced eating and still have a good time! So make sure to save this post for later. 

If you need some additional support and help with your nutrition, reach out to me, and let’s chat! I am currently accepting clients for my nutrition coaching program

Do you have a favorite travel nutrition tip or travel snack? Comment below!

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