6 Mindful Tips to Keep You Feeling Those Summertime Vibes at Mealtime


As the school year winds down, parents often breathe a collective sigh of relief, anticipating a break
from the bustling routines of early mornings, packed lunches, and
endless after-school activities. Summer brings a sense of freedom and
the joy of having kids around more, but it also comes with the challenge
of providing more meals and snacks for your increasingly hungry brood.
On top of that, the abundance of fresh produce from local seasonal
markets is a wonderful perk of summer, but it can also feel overwhelming
with so many choices.

If you’re finding yourself counting down the days to warmer weather, but then feeling a little overwhelmed once it actually gets here… you’re not alone. In fact, you’re so
not alone that we’ve got a whole host of tried-and-true tips, tricks,
and hacks to get your summer off to a great start! Here’s how to ensure
you stay stress-free and mindfully make the most of this bountiful

1) Mindful Planning

Let’s start with the cornerstone:
planning is key to managing mealtimes during summer. Start by creating a
weekly meal plan that incorporates the fresh produce available at your
local market. This not only helps in organizing your shopping trips but
also ensures you’re utilizing seasonal fruits and vegetables

Maybe you’ve tried meal-planning
before, and it hasn’t stuck. If this is you, put a Mindful Foodie spin
on things! Take a mindful approach by considering the nutritional value
and the joy each meal can bring to your family in addition to considering exactly what you’ll prepare and eat.

Take any summertime food you love and
think about different options for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and maybe
even snacks. For example, delicious peaches become available mid-summer
where I live. For breakfast, they go great in pancakes or cereal; for
lunch, they are perfect in a salad; for dinner, they pair well with pork
chops or chicken; and there are countless dessert or snack recipes like
cobbler or cookies. Peaches that are getting too soft, and usually at
their sweetest, are delicious in smoothies or fun to turn into popsicles
for the kids.

A meal plan can include simple,
nutritious breakfasts, easy-to-make lunches, and versatile dinners that
enhance the carefree, laid-back vibe of summer days while allowing you
to enjoy the memorable flavors of summertime. Which brings us to…

2) Embrace Simplicity

One of the things you learn if you
stick closely to farmer’s markets and produce stands is to “eat what’s
in season”. It’s so important to also consider aligning how
you eat with the seasons! While winter meal planning might scream
rib-sticking food, like roasts and soups, summer meals don’t need to be

Embrace the simplicity of fresh
produce by focusing on easy, no-fuss recipes. Salads, salsas, gazpacho,
frittatas, vegetable quesadillas, stir-fry or grilled vegetables are
quick to prepare and highlight the natural flavors of seasonal
ingredients. Mindfully savor these simple dishes, appreciating the
freshness and the effortlessness they bring to your table. Consider
theme nights, such as taco Tuesday or pasta night, where you can easily
incorporate a variety of fruits and vegetables and keep the menu
exciting yet straightforward.

3) Involve the Kids Mindfully

Turn meal prep into a mindful, fun,
and educational activity by involving your children. Take them to the
farmers' market with you and let them pick out fruits and vegetables
that catch their eye. This can spark their interest in trying new foods
and make them feel invested in the meals you prepare together. Encourage
them to use their senses—touching, smelling, and tasting the
produce—making the experience more engaging and mindful. Simple tasks
like washing produce, mixing ingredients, or even helping to cook can
teach them valuable skills and lighten your load, while also giving you
quality time together.

4) Batch Cooking and Prep

Make the most of quieter moments by
embracing batch cooking and ingredient prep for the week ahead. Batch
cooking involves preparing large amounts of food in advance to save time
and add flexibility to your meals. Chop and store veggies, create
smoothie packs, or whip up a big batch of grain or pasta salads for easy
portioning throughout the week.

For breakfast, try baking zucchini
muffins or making egg cups to store in the freezer for a mess-free,
hassle-free breakfast that kids can make themselves. This reduces daily
tasks and ensures there's always a healthy option available. Allocate
time purposefully for these tasks, acknowledging the peace of an
organized kitchen and the flexibility it provides at mealtime.

5) Mindful Snacking

Kids are notorious for their constant
snacking, especially when they’re home all day. Keep a range of healthy
snacks on hand to satisfy their cravings and keep them fueled.
Vegetable sticks with hummus, dips like yogurt or chocolate for cut up
fruit, homemade popsicles, slushies smoothies and slushies and one of my
favorites fruit kabobs are all great options that are nutritious and

Encourage kids to be mindful about
eating and listen to their hunger cues and then satisfy it by choosing
snacks that are good for them and also fun to eat . When kids select
snacks visually appealing, tasty, and engaging, kids are more likely to
enjoy them and develop positive associations with healthy foods. By
combining mindfulness with nutritious and enjoyable snacks, children
develop lifelong healthy eating habits that contribute to their overall
well-being, enhancing your summertime peace of mind and joy.

6) Balance and Flexibility

While it’s great to strive for
healthy, balanced meals, it’s also important to remain flexible. Summer
is a time for enjoyment and relaxation, so don’t stress too much over
occasional indulgences. Ice creams, barbecues, and spontaneous picnic
lunches are all part of the fun. Aim for balance throughout the week
rather than perfection in every meal. Mindfully enjoy these treats and
the joy they bring to your family.

Similarly, if your meal plan needs to
shift a bit, get creative (perhaps with the kids!) about how to juggle
what you’d planned to accommodate those barbecues and picnics. Becoming a
Mindful Foodie is all about responding to joy and spontaneity in a way that also honors values of health, preventing food waste and bringing out your creativity .

The Bottom Line

Summer is a season of abundance, both
in time spent with our kids and fresh produce. By planning ahead,
keeping meals simple, and maintaining flexibility, you can manage the
increased demands of mealtimes without stress. Embrace the vibrant
flavors of the season and mindfully enjoy the extra time with your
family, making memories that will last long after the summer sun has

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