Todays’ feature for Children’s Mental Health Week is all about helping children to make healthy food choices. It’s very easy to go straight for a quick sugar fix, whether that be a chocolate bar, a chewy pack of sweeties or a fizzy drink. But having too many of these quick fixes during the week will of course do no favours for our children’s health now, or in the long term.
That’s why teaching children about healthy alternatives and getting them to experience a wide range of healthy foods from a young age is really important for their overall health and wellbeing.
Getting your kids involved in preparing healthy snacks is important as you want them to understand how to put together a simple tasty healthy treat and why eating healthy is good for our minds and bodies.
Thankfully most schools across the UK adopt the ‘Healthy Snack’ at breaktime approach, which means a banana, apple or sliced veg such as carrots or celery are now commonplace in lunch boxes as a snack.
Other great healthy snacks include a slice of malt loaf, low-fat yogurt, plain rice cakes or a pancake. You want to make sure that healthy snacks are filling for your children, so if they are wanting to eat a bowl of fruit or sliced veg along with a rice cake or pancake, then let them.
Preparation is key when it comes to making sure little tummies are filled with good food. Get your children to help slice, dice and sort veg and fruit into airtight containers to keep in the fridge so the food is ready to go. Offer kids a range of brightly coloured veg and fruit and explain to them what part of the body it will aid, tomatoes for the heart, broccoli for disease prevention and bananas for energy.
When out and about it’s always a good idea to pack some healthy snacks before leaving the house. You’ll certainly save money and time by having to go look for something to eat when little ones start to feel peckish.
Don’t forget the simplest trick in the book! If you don’t have sweets in the house, you can’t eat them. When doing the weekly shop, try and shop smartly. Cut down on the number of biscuits, crisps and sugary food that you buy and try to replace with more healthier options like nuts, fruit and veg and healthy snacks.