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Summer Fun with Kids

By Noel Ugarte, MS, RD |Nutrition Educator

Every summer, as the sizzling sun sets, I still think back to my childhood when my family would go to the park to play a few friendly rounds of kickball. Afterward, we would cool down with snacks before walking home. I loved these park competitions when I was a child. They were the perfect opportunity to let loose, be myself, and have fun with adults. That’s what summer fun with kids is all about! The good news is that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) agrees that physical activity can help children grow strong bones and muscles, improve brain function, and prevent chronic conditions.

Ready to get started with a fun summer with your kids?

#1. Choose an Activity

Having summer fun with kids is always going to be active! School-aged kids and adolescents should get at least 60 minutes of moderate or harder physical activity every day. Whatever activity you pick, it should increase heart rate and breathing. Think of fun activities you can do as a family and if it’s too hot outside (hello, Arizona summer!), get active inside!

Here are some ideas to get started: 

  • Water balloon toss or tag
  • Hiking/biking at a local location or National Park
  • Tug of war
  • Swimming
  • Jump rope
  • Races – one-on-one, relay, sack races (hopping)
  • Dance party or dance-off competition
  • Obstacle course race

#2. Fuel and Hydration

It is really important to keep your body fueled when you’re doing activities – especially in the Arizona heat! The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics has easy suggestions for how much water kids should drink but remember it might be more with exercise or hotter temperatures. Be sure to drink lots of water throughout the day. NOAH’s team shares these recommendations.

Age RangeGenderTotal Cups Water Each Day
4 – 8 yearsBoys and Girls7
9 – 13 yearsGirls9
 Boys10
14 – 18 yearsGirls10
 Boys14

What kids eat is important too. Food gives us energy and important nutrients. Keep snacks available to refuel before, during, and after physical activities. Try to find non-perishable foods – things that won’t spoil or melt at high temperatures – to pack if you’re going outdoors. Some food examples include: 

  • Trail mix
  • Peanut butter crackers
  • Popcorn
  • Almonds, walnuts, peanuts
  • Tuna pouch and crackers
  • Chewy or crunchy granola bars (if hot, avoid chocolate chips!)
  • Pretzels

Taking perishable foods is still a good idea if you can keep them cool with ice packs or in a cooler. Some suggestions include: 

  • Fresh cut fruit or vegetables
  • Dairy products such as cheese, yogurt, milk
  • Meat, poultry, eggs

The USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service recommends packing cold perishable foods between at least two cold sources (frozen gel packs, frozen water bottles, frozen juice packs) to prevent foodborne illness. 

Enjoy a safe, happy, healthy, and active summer with the kids in your life!

Hydration Tips by our Nutrition Experts

July is Hydration Awareness Month

As we continue into the summer months, there are many ways to keep ourselves healthy, and that includes staying hydrated! Below is some information provided by the NOAH Dietitians on the reasons for hydration, how much to drink, and the many ways to hydrate. And remember – Every sip counts!

Why is water important?

  • Keeps body temperatures normal.
  • Improve brain function and mood.
  • Prevents constipation.
  • Gets rid of waste from the body in urine, sweat, and the digestive track.
  • Lubricates joints and protects your spinal cord and other tissues.

How much should you drink?

That’s not as simple of a question as it sounds. The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine determined that an adequate daily fluid intake is 15.5 cups (124 oz.) for men and 11.5 cups (92 oz.) a day for women. All beverages (even coffee and tea) count as fluids, and plenty of foods are good sources of fluids, like fruits, vegetables, and soups. The common wisdom of 8 cups of water a day (64 oz.) is great place to start!

When do you need more water?

In general, you need more water when you lose more water by sweating or your digestive track.

  • In hot Arizona summers.
  • More physically active.
  • Running a fever.
  • Having diarrhea or vomiting.

How can you tell if you’re not drinking enough?

You may have one or more of the signs below if you need more water.

  • Thirst.
  • Darker than light yellow urine.
  • Dizziness or headaches.
  • Muscle cramps or fatigue.

Tips for getting enough water?

  • Carry a water bottle. Try freezing one overnight for ice-cold water all day.
  • For a little extra flavor, add something! Lemon, lime, mango, mint, cucumber, strawberry, melon, jalapeno or a low/no calorie flavorings can enhance the taste of water.
  • Have a glass of water with meals and before, after, and during exercise.
  • Still having trouble remembering – try an app. Apps like Water Coach and WaterMinder will help you set goals and send you reminders to keep you on track.
  • Snack on watermelon, cucumbers, other water-rich fruits and vegetables or reduced-fat yogurt. You’ll benefit from the extra fluid and healthy nutrients.
  • Use a large water container such as 1 gallon (128 oz.) and mark off times to indicate how low the water level should be at different points in the day such as 12pm, 4pm, and 8pm.
  • Place water bottles or cups in different areas of the home or office where you spend a lot of time, such as the chair you usually read in. These can serve as a physical reminder to drink more.

5 Winter Skin Care Tips

That uncomfortable dryness to the skin of the face, hands and feet can be so distracting, not to mention, it can be downright painful. For some, the problem is worse than just a general tight dry feeling. Skin can get so dry that it results in flaking, cracking, burning and even eczema can occur which is when the skin becomes inflamed.
When it’s cold outside what do we do? We run indoors and crank up the heater. While our body defrosts, our skin dry’s out. Know the difference between dry and dehydrated skin and follow our tips to prevent any further damage.

Dry skin
• Smaller pore sizes
• Feels dry all over the face, scalp and body


Dehydrated skin
• Lacking water
• Affects any skin type
• May feel oil and dry at the same time


Both skin types
• Itchy
• Tight feeling
• Flaky
• Dull looking
• Feel sensitive
• Products may sting/burn
• Rough skin texture
• Fine lines may look accentuated


Now that we know what our symptoms are, let’s learn how to prevent further damage to our skin.


Moisture more – find an ointment moisturizer that is oil-based rather than water-based as the oil will create a layer on top of the skin to protect it and help retain more moisture than a cream or lotion.


Don’t forget your hands – the skin on your hands is thinner than most parts of the body and has fewer oil glands so be sure to keep your hands moist when it’s cold and dry outside to prevent itchiness and cracking of the skin. Wear gloves when outside and use an ointment on your hands throughout the day. I always moisturize at night by applying a thick layer of ointment on the tops of my hands before going to bed. If you can, buy a pair of cozy loose-fitting socks that you can place over your hands to keep the ointment from getting on your sheets.

Use your humidifier – while many of us use a humidifier when someone’s sick, during the winter months, I use it daily to add moisture back into the air. When you turn your central heating system on, your blasting hot dry air throughout your house/office. Using a humidifier will help disperse moisture back into the air to keep your skin from drying out.

Hydrate – Not only is water good for overall health, it helps your skin stay hydrated. Drink at least 8-12 glasses a day. If you drink caffeinated beverages, you need to increase your water level to replenish the dehydration you get when drinking caffeine.

Grease those feet – daily exfoliation of your feet along with a moisturizer is super important all year long for your feet. During winter, you want to keep up with your daily exfoliation but it’s important to set your moisturizer aside and use a petroleum-based lotion instead. Exfoliation removes the dead skin cells so your lotion will skin in faster to repair the skin deeper. At night, I usually use Aquaphor or petroleum jelly on the bottoms of my feet and wear a cozy pair of loose-fitting socks to keep the sheets clean.

If you find that these tips just aren’t doing the trick and your symptoms are worsening, call your provider at NOAH and schedule an appointment to talk about other options you can try to heal your skin.