Summer Nutrition for Kids

Contributing Author: Olivia Rubino

Happy Summer!!!

As the weather is warming up and the school year is winding down, you may be thinking about ways to keep your kiddos occupied and having fun for the next few months. Signing up for summer sports or camps are great ways to keep your kids active and busy, but spending hours playing under the sun can harm their health without taking the right precautions. Luckily, I have a few tips to make sure your little ones are staying safe and healthy while having fun in the sun!

  1. Hydration 

Spending more time outside is a great way to keep your kids active, whether it be sports, camps, or just fun in the backyard – but summer heat is no joke. Younger children are an especially vulnerable population for dehydration, since their total body water is higher compared to adults. They also may not always be able to tell you when they’re thirsty, and they may not always comply with your reminders to keep drinking water. Here are some suggestions to make sure your child is staying hydrated throughout the day:

  • Make sure your child is taking regular breaks throughout the day to drink water. Oftentimes, kids get so caught up in playing that they forget to take breaks! Having a talk with your child about the importance of drinking water can make a difference.
  • Make drinking water fun! Have your kids pick out a water bottle they like, maybe with a fun straw or design, and pack it with them everywhere they go. You can also cut up some fruits and vegetables, like strawberries, oranges, or cucumbers, to place in their water and give it some extra decoration!
  • Bring some hydrating snacks; if your kid is out playing in the sun all day, make sure they are snacking on some water-rich foods, like watermelon, peaches, cantaloupe, sliced cucumber, celery sticks, or even popsicles!
  • When we sweat, we are not only losing water, but also electrolytes like potassium and sodium. If your child is not a big water fan, bringing electrolyte-rich drinks, like Gatorade, is a good idea to help replenish what they lose.

  1. Macronutrient Balance

“Macronutrient” is a word used to describe the three nutrients we all need in larger amounts to keep us healthy: carbohydrates, proteins, and fats! Here is a quick run-down of what these essential nutrients are: 

  • Carbohydrates are the body’s favorite fuel source. So many foods have carbohydrates in them, such as bread, pasta, crackers, fruit, and some vegetables. Some carbohydrates are healthier than others, and it is important to know there are two different kinds – simple and complex. Simple carbohydrates are easy to digest. You may have heard that simple carbohydrates are not too healthy – that’s true for the more processed foods, like white bread, candy, baked goods, etc. But everything in moderation is always okay, and simple carbohydrates are a great source of quick energy! Complex carbohydrates take longer to digest – these are considered the healthier carbohydrates, and they have more fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Before your child goes out to play for the day, serving a breakfast with complex carbohydrates, like oatmeal and berries, or whole grain toast with nut butter or jam, will help keep them sustained for a few hours. Packing simple carbohydrate snacks, like dried fruit, or crackers with nut butter, will give your child a boost of energy to keep playing all day long!
  • Protein helps to grow and rebuild muscle. Getting enough protein in is so important for kids because they are still growing and developing. Protein can be found in animal-based foods, like meat, dairy, and fish, or plant-based foods, like beans, seeds, and nuts. Simple snacks like string cheese, or trail mix, are great for in-between playtime. Try pairing a protein with a carbohydrate! It keeps us full and reduces blood sugar spikes.
  • Fats help store energy and keep our organs protected; they also give us energy and help us absorb other nutrients! Like carbohydrates and protein, fats are essential for growth and development. Good sources of healthy fats are foods like avocado, nuts, chia seeds, and full fat yogurt. Try incorporating some of these fat sources into your child’s snacks!

Making sure your child is eating a good balance of macronutrients throughout the day will make all the difference in keeping them happy and energized! 

  1. Sleep

During the summer months, there may be less of a schedule for your kids without school in session, which can make it easier for them to want to stay up late. But with long summer days full of activity and sunshine, it is so important that your child gets enough sleep. Without enough rest, there is more risk for your child to experience impaired cognitive function and growth. Kids should be getting around 10-13 hours of sleep per night. Here are a few tips for making sure your child gets a good night’s rest:

  • Keep a consistent bedtime routine – you can create a routine that works well with your child. Include calming activities, such as reading a book or taking a warm bath. 
  • No blue light 2 hours before bed – tablet or phone screens emit blue light, which stimulates the brain and makes it more difficult to fall asleep.
  • Create a sleep friendly space in your child’s room – dim the lights, make the bed comfy and cozy, and make sure the room temperature is around 65 degrees.

With these summer nutrition and wellness tips, your child can enjoy everything under the sun while staying healthy and safe. 🙂

This recipe is from one of my ebooks, Fueling Families, which you can find on my website! It has a great blend of carbohydrates from the oats, protein and fat from the nut butter, and sweetness from the chocolate chips 🙂 These energy bites will keep you and your child ready to go!

Chewy Almond Oat Energy Bites 


¾ cup rolled oats

½ cup chopped almonds

½ cup unsweetened shredded coconut

¼ cup dried cranberries

¼ cup white or dark chocolate chips (I prefer minis!)

2 Tablespoons chia seeds

1 Tablespoon honey

½ cup peanut butter or almond butter


1. Line a large plate with wax paper.

2. In a medium mixing bowl, combine oats, chopped almonds, shredded coconut, dried cranberries, chocolate chips, and chia seeds.

3. Mix honey and peanut butter into oat mixture. For easier pouring and mixing, you can warm the peanut butter in the microwave for 30 seconds. Oat mixture will be a bit dry.

4. Using your hands, form 12-14 balls (about 1 inch diameter). The mixture will come together as you roll it between your hands. If the mixture is too dry, add a little more nut butter. Place the balls on the wax paper lined plate.

5. Refrigerate at least 1 hour to allow energy bites to set.


Cole, Emily. The Players’ Plate: An Unorthodox Guide to Sports Nutrition. New Degree Press, 2022.

“Kids and Sleep (for Parents) – Nemours Kidshealth.” Edited by Mary L. Gavin, KidsHealth, Jan. 2021,,years)%3A%208%E2%80%9310%20hours.

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