Keeping Kids Healthy over the Holidays
It’s such a wonderful time of year, catching up with special friends, family and sharing delicious food. Often those “sometimes foods” became “multiple times daily” foods! So how do we keep our children healthy during this next few months until school goes back?
As a mum, I appreciate any good ideas thrown my way, so here are 6 tips for you!!...
1. Keep the colour coming!!
· Throw as many different coloured vegetables at them as you can! Different colours equate to different nutrients.
· Turn a side salad into the main affair and make it lots of fun by getting the kids involved. Pre- prepare lots of little individual bowls with a large variety of ingredients. Choose whatever you want from: baby spinach, chopped cos lettuce, grated carrot, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, snow peas, cheese, haloumi, hard-boiled egg, tuna, beetroot, nuts, seeds, olives, corn, roasted veggies. Get them to fill their own bowl with the mixture of their choice and then top with yummy dressing (eg. extra virgin olive oil and a good tasty vinegar such as balsamic). Owning their own salad will make them much more likely to eat and enjoy it!
· There are also so many amazingly delicious summer fruits to try! Kids love fruit kebabs - which can either be pre-prepared, or the kids can use their imaginations to make their own!
2. Make sure they move their bodies!
· Children need to be active for 60 minutes EVERY DAY. Soccer, ballet, swimming, cricket - you name it, there’s probably a summer camp for it. Being involved will not only get them moving, but can also teach them lifelong skills such as teamwork, and also helps to keep them on a schedule.
· Limiting “screen time” (TV, iphone, ipad, play station) is important. Kids need to use their imagination, so let them get bored!
· Keep your family active by going on evening walks to look out for Christmas lights in your area. I have fond memories of this on a warm summer night – I was always on the look- out for that yummy ripe nectarine hanging over the fence just waiting to be picked!
3. Get baking
· If you’re worried about the constant deluge of sweet treats being presented to your child over the Christmas break then start making more of your own cookies, muffins or cakes.
· You can bring them to parties with you. A homemade option is usually much better for them than shop bought treats
4. Stick to schedule
· Whilst it’s so nice to slip into the “holiday time zone” with late nights and sleeping in, younger children especially do thrive on structure. Keeping some degree of “normality” with mealtimes will actually help their appetites and will also help to make the transition back to preschool/school a lot easier.
· Try to discourage too much mindless snacking between meals
5. Out of sight, hopefully out of mind!
· Firstly, try to leave as much junk as you can on the supermarket shelf….but if it does make it into your cupboards, it should be treated as sometimes food.
· By keeping these types of foods out of sight and out of reach, you're removing their temptation firstly to ask for it, and secondly it prevents them from grabbing it and munching on these foods when you're not in the kitchen.
· Snacking is important for younger children as their nutritional needs must be met for growth. Having lots of good options available will make it easier for your children to eat healthy throughout the day.
· Ideas such as fresh cut fruit, sliced vegetables with hummus or pesto, cubes of cheese, grainy crackers with peanut butter, nuts, yoghurt ice creams, homemade muffins or muesli biscuits, hard boiled eggs, tins of baked beans, baby corn, chopped cucumber in a balsamic and oil dressing (one of my daughter’s favourite).
· Try to remain firm and make the everyday desert fruit or yoghurt based, rather than making ice cream “the norm”. Homemade ice blocks using milk or yoghurt blended with fruit is a brilliant option to regular ice cream.
6. Make water THE option ….and make it fun!
· It’s very important for little ones to stay hydrated, so keeping cold water in the fridge (and keeping the sugary stuff) will help them to stay hydrated in a healthy way.
· Water can be made fun and tastier by adding some fresh orange and lemon pieces, or adding some mint, strawberries and cucumber.