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The Summer 10

The Summer 10
Submitted by Janice Carr, M.Ed., BSN, RN, BC
Health Promotion Specialist – Norman Regional Health System
Sponsored by: Healthy Community Coalition

It’s July, the summer heat has set in, the excitement of schedule free days have transitioned to boredom, sluggish, days filled with movies, video games and complaints of “it’s too hot to play.”

What’s a mom or dad to do? How do I help my child remain active, energized and enthusiastic for the next month until school starts? Do I really need to worry about all that? I don’t have any extra money to spend so…. Maybe I should just let them watch another movie.

STOP…. What did that article say about weight gain during summer months?

“BMI’s of young children increased on average more than twice as much during the summer break as compared with the school year. The increase was even greater among African American and Hispanic students and children who were overweight at the start of kindergarten.”*

My child could add 5-10 pounds over the course of the summer if we are not active and making healthy choices. Hum, what can I do?

Just last night we grilled out burgers and hot dogs. That can’t be too bad can it? Oh, but maybe the chips and dip were a little too much. We had that creamy deli cole slaw too. It was all good, but maybe we could make better choices.

We are really busy tonight, Cindy has softball practice and Tom is going to drama camp. With pick up and drop offs, there will be no time for grilling. We usually pick up something that’s fast food.

We have got to get active during the day. But, not now… it’s this hot outside and we would be chased by a flock of mosquitoes and wasps bigger than a B-52 Bomber. Exercise equipment? Isn’t that in the garage being used as a clothes hanger?

It’s so hot; the kids want kool-aid or lemonade to drink. It seems like we are just craving sugar and salt and too many extra calories.

I need a plan! We can make some changes:

THE GRILL: What about grilled barbecue chicken. The kids would eat low fat turkey dogs and not know the difference. We could grill veggies and even grill peaches for dessert. I think I saw a great recipe for grilled peaches in a magazine.

THE RUN AROUND: I could pack sandwiches, carrots and light ranch, grapes, and bottled water in a cooler for a dinner on the run. We could also keep some snacks in the car that won’t spoil. I could put them in the zip lock baggies. Let’s see… healthy low fat trail mix, beef jerky, a high fiber and low fat granola bar.

ACTIVITIES: Early mornings or late evenings are going to be the best times for us and it will also be cooler. We can go to the community pool or our friend’s pool after work, the kids will love this. I can make a few calls and maybe arrange this for everyone. If I air up the tires in the bikes and dust off the helmets, we could take an evening ride around the neighborhood together. Tom and Cindy would love to throw a ball or Frisbee around at the park or in the front yard. We could even set up an obstacle course with some of the kids toys in the back yard or at the park. AND, I also have lots of household chores. Let’s see, we could plan a fun activity and some chores for each day. That chore list is long: wash the car, de-weed the flower beds, clean out the garage for garage sale, organize clothes and toys - plan to give away some items, sweep the garage, vacuum the house and car, walk the dog, paint the bathroom, redecorate Cindy’s bedroom. During the daytime, we can pick one inside activity or chore each day.

LIQUID CALORIES: I could buy the sugar-free lemonade. I have heard that this is a better nutritional choice. We could also make our own – juice from one lime or lemon, 1-2 pkgs. of no calorie sweetener, one glass of cool water and ice. My friend Amy mentioned she is buying G2. I have heard this advertised as a low calorie Gatorade – only 25 calories for 8 ounces. The kids will like that. And of course we need to drink more water. It’s the low cal, low cost option.

With just a few changes, I think we can stave off the summer 10 and stay healthy. It sounds like a lot of fun too. The kids will like this new plan.

*Based on a study by Indiana University and Ohio State Researchers who studied 5.380 kindergarteners and first-graders.

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