August is Family Fun Month, leaving plenty of time to enjoy summertime activities before school starts again. If theme parks, baseball stadiums or driving trips are on your August schedule, then food will surely be a part of your experience. Fortunately, many of these entertainment spots have a variety of food choices so you can find a nutritious meal for the entire family no matter where you go.
While spending a day at a Six Flags, Disney or another theme park, staying well hydrated is essential on hot August days. Drinking plenty of water and sugar-free, low-calorie beverages – like diet soda or light lemonade – keeps fluid intake up and calories down. With parks offering an array of dining options, it’s not that difficult to pick nutritious meals. Try a salad with grilled chicken, a brisket or pulled pork sandwich paired with a side of cole slaw. When pizza is on the menu, opt for a cheese pizza for the family with side salads all around.
When you’re walking into a major or minor-league baseball game, the familiar aroma of hamburgers and hotdogs is sure to greet you. Sometimes it’s not the food but the amount and what you add that makes a difference. So try a small hotdog topped with mustard or catsup, onions and a sprinkle of cheese rather than a foot-long chilidog. Look for other leaner items like grilled chicken sandwiches, entrée salads (but go easy on the dressing) and even sushi at some parks. Peanuts in the shell are a great treat. They take longer to eat and each one (2 nuts) has about 10 calories
When you’re driving the kids around town from camp to sports practice to dance class or taking a vacation by car, fast food restaurants are a quick and easy meal stop. But it doesn’t have to spell diet disaster. Many children’s meals now come standard with fruit, kid-size fries and low fat milk as the beverage. For mom and dad, lighter fare includes a variety of salads and wraps. Even the small burgers are a good choice along with a side salad. You can also ask to hold the mayo and choose grilled over crispy chicken on sandwiches and salads.
Whether your August is spent on the road or at home, good nutrition and a healthy lifestyle can be fun and easy. Just remember to drink plenty of fluid, eat nutritious meals and get active outdoors in the sunny weather.
Neva Cochran, MS, RDN, LD is a registered dietitian nutritionist based in Dallas. She was a freelancer with Woman’s World magazine for 20 years and currently serves as a nutrition communications consultant to a variety of food and nutrition organizations, including the Calorie Control Council and the Egg Nutrition Center. She is passionate about promoting fact-based food and nutrition information to help people enjoy nutritious eating. Follow her on Twitter @NevaRDLD and check out her blog at www.NevaCochranRD.com.