My secret ingredient to the best fruit salad? Mix in a dash of yogurt.

I look around my pantry and fridge right now and it’s filled with kids’ delights. The problem? Those kids’ delights are food choices that make me cringe on the healthy eating scale, but choices that are definitely “party food” worthy. Since party food is not typical for our home, I quickly realized that I need to clean out the fridge and re-access.

With summer here, we all want to look and feel our best, especially during these months, and our kids are no different. They might reach for junk, but I really believe it’s because it’s easy. We just need to make healthy options easy and accessible.

I had a startling revelation last week when my son requested something that makes every mother’s heart soar.

“Mom, we need more greens in this house.”

Now, the irony here is that I got quite defensive because our fridge is filled with greens, but in his mind, six bound heads of romaine lettuce that needs to be washed is not quick and easy for him to grab. Yes, he can do this himself, and often does, but I heard him.

Our kids really do crave foods that are healthy for them, especially when they begin to understand the difference it makes in how they feel.

It’s no different than why I order a big huge salad when I go out to eat. It always tastes better when someone else makes it, (and then I kick myself for not doing that at home.)

My desire this summer is to have healthy options ready for not just the kids, but me as well. That means having bags of lettuce washed and cut up, ready to go. It means having “broccoli bites” and ranch ready to grab. For those with younger kids, it means presenting fruit in colorful bowls so that it seems fun to them. At nearly every party I host, I add a bit of slightly sweetened yogurt to my fruit salad, and only yogurt. The funny thing is that everyone asks for the recipe. They chuckle when they find out my secret ingredient.

(My easy homemade granola layered with yogurt makes a delicious and healthy treat all summer long.)

Dannon Oikos, which has launched a great “Grab your Spoon” campaign, and Keri Glassman, a certified nutritionist, have put together a few tips to help us live a healthy lifestyle this Summer. Yes, it’s all things we may have heard before, but it’s a great reminder to actually put them into action, which is what I need.

  • Every Meal Is A “Monday Morning”. Focus on eating better, one meal at a time. Otherwise it can be easy to get discouraged – forget the worry! Your only mission: Make the next meal you eat nutritious, balanced and satisfying.
  • Don’t Eat Around A Craving. Honor your craving with a conscious indulgence – take a few deep breaths and find a healthy alternative! Try satisfying your sweet tooth with Dannon Oikos® Greek nonfat yogurt, it is nutritious but still has an incredible taste.
  • No-Excuses Exercise. Sometimes the biggest barrier to working out is just getting there so a good option can be to make it as easy as possible—throw in a workout DVD or even going for a walk takes away excuses and gets you moving!
  • Satisfying Proteins. A moderate-protein balanced diet with a reasonable amount of fiber, carbohydrates and the appropriate amount of healthy fats is the best way to maintain a healthy weight. (I’ve been trying to make our family eggs nearly every day.) Dairy is a great source of protein, try a creamy Greek nonfat yogurt that has twice the protein of regular lowfat yogurts, like Dannon Oikos Greek yogurt. (Oikos Greek Nonfat yogurt has 12 -14g Protein (24%DV) while regular lowfat yogurt: 5g protein (10%DV) per 5.3oz.

I’m including “drink lots of water”. Remember when I was doing the 30 Day Shred and my goal was to keep water in the fridge that I had to drink by the end of the day? I am going back to that because I know I am not getting enough of that miracle worker in my system. Water is a great detoxifier.

How do you change up your food choices/healthy eating/diet routine for summer?