The current situation is that 1 in 4 children starting primary school are overweight. This then increases to 1 in 3 when they go to secondary school. Now even if your child is not overweight you want it to stay this way – right? And you want them to be as healthy as possible.
Here are my top 10 tips to keep your child healthy.
I know you’re not going to like this but it is absolutely vital. You must ditch the breakfast cereals. They are full of sugar and not a lot else. If the thought of this frightens the life out of you, why not reduce the number of days you rely on cereals (try two) and opt for wholegrain versions such as shredded wheat. Adding eggs at breakfast has been shown to increase a child’s concentration at school. Have a look HERE for more help.
Most snacks will really up a child’s sugar intake. If your child struggles to eat their main meals then dropping snacks altogether may be the best option. Children will often ask for snacks because they are bored or thirsty. Always make sure that a snack is needed. For help with low sugar snack options click HERE.
We all know that stress really puts a huge strain on our bodies and our kids are no different. Living in today’s fast paced world is tough on the young. Arm your child with tools to deal with stress. There are some great products for this. I like Happy Kids Cards, Sitting Still Like a Frog and When You Worry Too Much.
There are three key nutrients that I would recommend.
· Vitamin D (especially from September to May) is an immune regulator and is vital for bone health. In studies, it has been shown that we are a nation very deficient in this important nutrient. For more information click HERE.
· Omega 3 is an essential fatty acid needed for many processes in the body. It supports the heart, brain, skin and immune system and provides an anti-inflammatory role. We now have a diet high in omega 6 which upsets the ratio to omega 3. I give my children a supplement of omega 3 and aim to give them foods that help to increase their intake (e.g. walnuts, flaxseed, salmon, egg). For more information click HERE.
· Probiotics are friendly bacteria that support your gut ecology. More and more research is being carried out to confirm the importance of these microbes. Stress, diet, antibiotics and many other factors can easily destroy the good gut bacteria. This has a direct impact on the immune system. Click HERE for further information.
5. Eat a rainbow
Colourful foods are full of powerful nutrients that help to protect you from many diseases including cancer. Obviously, I’m not talking about a bag of M&M’s but a range of fruits and vegetables. Click HERE to find out more.
During sleep your child will be growing and repairing. It is a fact that when you’re tired your blood sugars get disrupted and this increases your chance of gaining weight. Children need a lot more sleep than adults. One of the biggest disruptors to sleep is screen time before bed. Avoid use of any ‘screens’ at least 1 hour before bedtime. Avoid blue night lights in the bedroom and keep to a routine. Using lavender in the bath, relaxing music and bedtime stories can all help get your child off to sleep.
To find out how much sleep your child needs, click HERE.
Children spend less time doing exercise now the focus is on maths and English. Primary school children only get 1 hour of PE a week! Children need to move. Exercise is key. Little things like walking to school, going to the park, riding a bike, dancing around the kitchen with Mum (that might just be me and my kids!!!) or ANYTHING that means they are moving, regularly, consistently, EVERYDAY!
Keeping hydrated is absolutely vital to the smooth running of your body. Many children get distracted and completely forget to drink adequate amounts of water. You can encourage them by setting a good example yourself, having a jug available for them to help themselves, make sure you dilute any juices and keep these to a minimum, flavour water with fresh ingredients and avoid the sugar loaded squashes.
9. Eat together
You cannot under estimate the impact of eating together as a family. It encourages a healthy relationship with food and will help you to eat better. I know many parents who try to feed their kids a good meal but rely on quick fixes for themselves.
10. Get the kids involved
I know you know this but you really must take it on board. Get your kids cooking. This is so incredibly important. They absolutely need to know HOW TO COOK! You can also grow food, get them involved in meal planning or choosing food at the supermarket. This is a vital tool for their future health. If you can’t cook, know where your foods comes from, know how to shop for fresh ingredients you stand no chance. I love these knives from Lakeland.
For help with super quick meals click HERE.