After Christmas we can all feel like we have over-indulged somewhat and we begin to make plans for a healthy start to the New Year.
However, when the waistband of my jeans starts to feel a little too tight for comfort, I can’t help but think about the young people and how our excesses at Christmas might affect them. The television and newspapers are always telling one story or another about childhood weight problems and I can’t help but feel they are on to something.
The fact is children eat as their parents do; so if you like to have a takeaway five nights a week, then that’s what your children are doing too. And the thing is, nowadays there are so many places to go to for help; doctors, libraries and the internet have plenty of tips and helpful suggestions between them that can make it all so much easier for everyone involved to get fit and stay healthy.
For example, when making up your child’s lunch box, keep things simple and just include one each of the following:
- Starchy food – Sandwiches, rice, potatoes or pasta for example
- Protein food – Meat, fish, eggs, beans or tofu
- A dairy item, such as a yoghurt pot or cheese snack
- Some vegetables or salad, and a portion of fruit
To go super healthy you can replace chocolate bars and cakes at break time with fresh fruit, dried fruit or unsalted nuts. Vary the fruit choice each day and you can encourage children to try new things, like kiwi or melon.
This website is great for giving you a variety of inspired lunchbox ideas: http://www.nhs.uk/Change4Life/Pages/healthy-lunchbox-picnic.aspx
Get healthy as a family and you’ll find it more fun to stay fit – and it also helps keep your children interested as well. At dinner time a simple way of getting everyone involved is to prepare your meals together. This way, your children get some fun out of their food before they eat it and you get to have some quality family time as well.
You should also get into the habit of having two different vegetables on the dinner table. Most children will come across at least one vegetable that they claim they don’t like, but if they see you having a go without drawing attention to it, they will be more likely to try it themselves.
Get children involved early and you’ll find it much easier to get them to eat healthier as they grow up. The trick here is to try and keep your own personal preferences to yourself. If you detest Brussels sprouts, as many people do, that’s fine, but don’t make a fuss about them in front of your impressionable youngsters. They’ll pick up on it and claim they don’t like something before they’ve even tried it.