—Photo by JellyBean Pictures

With Memorial Day behind us, summer is [unofficially] in full swing. (Woot! Woot!) But before you stock up on sunblock and sand toys, check out these indispensable bits of advice from our talented panel of experts.

Episencial founder Kim Walls taught us that the foods we feed our kids can significantly enhance their ability to prevent and heal sunburn. Who knew? 

“While it does not replace sunscreen, an organic, antioxidant rich diet filled with brightly colored, nutrient rich foods and essential fatty acids or omega 3s  gives the skin cells an added measure of protection against the free radicals that can cause sun damage. Here are ten ways to bump up your kids’ skin protection, the natural way.

1. Twenty-four hours before a day in the sun, load up on antioxidant-rich fruits and veggies like berries, apples, plums and peppers. 

2. Throughout the summer, eat at least one bright red apple a day for an added dose of protection against sun damage.

3. Add omega 3-rich foods like wild salmon and raw nuts and seeds to your diet a few times a week.
4. Try to have at least ten servings of veggies like beets, spinach, and broccoli each week to boost your skin’s natural SPF.

5.  Make daily smoothies with your favorite berries, a frozen banana, and milk or milk substitute. Toss in a big handful of spinach (and a tablespoon of flax oil) and call it a green monster. Your kids will love it!

6. If the kids do get too much sun, overload on brightly colored fruits and veggies like blueberries and bell peppers, which are packed with phytochemicals to help prevent infection and speed up healing.

7. Increase the intake of L-Cysteine, an amino acid that promotes healing. It’s found in high protein foods as well as  garlic, broccoli, and wheat germ.

8. Keep super hydrated with water and lemon. Non-sugary sports drinks with sodium and potassium are also great, as both are lost when the body’s cooling system is in overdrive.

9. Organic fruits and veggies have an estimated 30 percent more antioxidant power (and nutritional value) than conventionally grown counterparts.   

10. Go crazy with sweets and spices: dark chocolate, especially the unsweetened baking variety, beats out even most berries in the antioxidant showdown. Also, don’t underestimate the antioxidant-filled power of spices: cinnamon, oregano and curry add more than just flavor to your foods.

  —Get more fun tips from the StrollerTraffic experts in our Summer 2011 Survival Guide.