5 tips to get you and your family to eat healthier this summer

By Maria Y. Diaz, Health Equity Fellow at UnidosUS

Comprando Rico y Sano, led by community health workers or promotores de salud, is a national program with the goal of reducing hunger and food insecurity and instilling healthy shopping and eating habits among Latinos through nutrition education and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) enrollment assistance. Developed by UnidosUS, the program is entering its fifth year and is currently implemented in 26 communities nationwide, thanks to the continuous support of the Walmart Foundation.

Healthy eating

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In 2017, Comprando Rico y Sano made a positive impact in 24 communities across 11 states and the District of Columbia, resulting in an increase of 47% in fruit intake, 55% in vegetable intake, and 63% in healthy meals prepared at home, among program participants. Additionally, 25,636 eligible Latinos were provided with enrollment assistance in SNAP and 73,602 Latinos were reached with face-to-face nutrition education and SNAP information.

With the academic school year at an end and long summer days, our promotores de salud often hear from parents who sometimes find it challenging to manage their children’s eating habits during the summer. UnidosUS’s Comprando Rico y Sano encourages families to be healthier with a few tips that are sure to benefit the entire family.

  1. Berries, Berries, Berries.

Berries, along with an array of other fruits and vegetables, are in season during the summer. Berries are high in antioxidants which help protect against many health issues such as those of the immune system and heart problems, and reduce the risk of age-related illnesses. Blackberries, blueberries, strawberries, cucumbers and other seasonal fruits or vegetables make an excellent snack for children and adults.

  1. Eat more fiber.

Speaking of snacks, when it comes to snacking, seek out fiber-rich foods. Fiber helps to lower cholesterol levels, fight disease, and keeps us feeling fuller for longer. Foods high in fiber include those made with whole grains and many fruits and vegetables—like raspberries, carrots, bell peppers, celery, and avocado. Need some ideas or looking to add protein? Pair bell pepper strips with a bit of hummus, celery with some peanut butter, or avocado with a hard-boiled egg. Depending on the portion size, these options can go from being a snack to a lighter meal.

  1. Moderation is key.

Parents are told to not give their children sweets, but is it always true? Summer is often a time for more gatherings and barbecues, and during special occasions like birthdays or other get-togethers, children should be allowed to eat sweets, but with moderation and in small portions. Learning to moderate their eating of unhealthier options is important to build a healthy relationship with food. Moderation is key, both in frequency and in portion size. This also applies to eating out, since restaurants often serve oversized portions.

  1. Stay hydrated.

Summer days can be hot, and because approximately 60% of our body weight is water, always keep a filled water bottle near you. If you find yourself wanting to spruce up plain water, give it a flavorful boost by adding fresh seasonal fruits! Drink sparkling water if you find yourself craving other unhealthy carbonated drinks. Plus, some benefits of water include healthier-looking skin and energized muscles.

  1. Sweat the calories away.

Along with nutritious foods, engaging in physical activity helps reduce the risk of many health problems. Physical activity is good for mood regulation since the brain produces many “feel good” chemicals that can cause improvements in mood, and also provides us with more energy. Whether done indoors or outdoors, physical activity comes in many forms—hiking, dancing, walking, running, swimming, etc. A good rule of thumb is to allow at least 60 minutes of moderate exercise a day for children and 30 minutes for adults.

Let us know some of the ways you keep up with healthy eating and shopping during the summer—comment below! Stay tuned for other blog posts from our Comprando Rico y Sano program throughout the year. Every year UnidosUS strengthens the program based on promotor de salud and participant feedback, and we are excited to launch a small pilot around online grocery shopping this year.

This blog post is part of Comprando Rico y Sano, a program supported by the Walmart Foundation.


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