12:01am Saturday 29 February 2020

Don't let summer treats replace healthy, balanced meals

“Any snack needs to be in proportion to a person’s nutrient needs based on age, gender and activity level,” said Dr. Karen Cullen, associate professor of pediatrics-nutrition at the USDA/ARS Children’s Nutrition Research Center at BCM and Texas Children’s Hospital.

How often, how much

Consider the frequency and portion size of summer treats, said Cullen. Referring to the food pyramid for adults, children and pre-schoolers can help determine where treats fit into a healthy diet.

“Be sure not to let these snacks replace or interrupt regular meals,” said Cullen.

Experiment with variety of fruits

Summertime is also a great opportunity to discover new fruits that are in season, including watermelons, mangos and strawberries. Fresh vegetables are also available at reasonable prices. Taking children to a farmer’s market can be a fun activity with great benefits for the whole family.

Because of the warm summer weather, Cullen says that all foods should be refrigerated properly and all hands thoroughly washed before food preparation begins.

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