As I explored in my last article, Self-Care Ideas: Give 1/Get 8, it’s important for educators to prioritize their own physical and social-emotional health as they support children and families. Finding a strategy that works for you can be a challenge. For me, I find balance and a chance to recharge by spending time in nature and trying new healthy recipes.
If you’re searching for inspiration to support physical self-care, below are 6 ideas to try this summer. With Park and Recreation Month just around the corner, I’ve focused on portable and packable snacks that are perfect for a fun day at the park.
Cantaloupe “Sparkle Pops”
Start by watching the Healthier Generation “Sparkle Pop” video to learn how to make this simple summertime treat. Then, let your creativity run wild! One of my favorite variations is a cantaloupe version with lots of mint from my indoor garden. Find even more recipe inspiration in Foods of the Month: Tropical Fruits and Melons.
Bonus tip: reduce waste with an inexpensive reusable pop mold
This hydrating and Instagram-worthy treat is a perfect companion for a hot day (and it looks like bottled sunshine too!) My recipe was based on the Healthier Generation Jack-O-Lantern smoothie, but there’s nothing spooky about the ingredients inside. Blend up your favorite (or maybe not-so-favorite) seasonal yellow and orange fruits, pour it in a washable glass jar, and head outside.
Bonus tip: toss in reusable ice cubes to keep it cold without watering it down.
Good Morning Breakfast Bites
One of my favorite nutrition education activities right now is a “DIY Chef Challenge” that my teammate, Stephanie, taught me. Students are given a list of ingredients and asked to create their own new recipe. The recipe for Good Morning Breakfast Bites was invented by a group that Stephanie and I trained this spring. Just mix steel cut oats, chopped dates, cinnamon, and sunflower seed butter and roll into balls. Play with the proportions for different flavors and textures. I even rolled one batch in coconut!
If you’re headed to the park with friends, bring along supplies for your own pizza party picnic –watermelon pizza that is! A tote bag, blanket, small watermelon, knife, and your favorite toppings in reusable containers is all you need. Get the full recipe here.
Bonus tip: “personal size” watermelons make cutting the fruit into discs (i.e. the pizza crust) much easier.
Ants on a Log (Deconstructed)
Dates, berries, seeds, and a little nut butter – quick and easy. Save money by buying dates and seeds in-bulk and berries in-season. I like to use a washable snack pack container to keep everything tidy.
Bonus tip: use frozen fruit for a self-cooling snack!
The Mindful Clementine
Of course, the most perfect packable snack is a whole piece of fruit. The next time you start peeling an orange or clementine, give yourself a moment to do so mindfully – observe how it looks, feels, smells, tastes and any sounds you hear. Take a few deep breaths. [Thanks to my teammate Laurie for this idea.]
What are your favorite portable and packable summer snacks? Share your ideas on social media and mention @healthiergen and #BOOSTblog.
For breakfast, I had a Green Monster Smoothie.
Daniel W. Hatcher
Oops! The Watermelon Pizza recipe link is missing: https://www.healthiergeneration.org/articles/afterschool-snacks-watermelon-pizza