Encouraging children to make healthy choices
Here are ten ideas to get you going:
- Make your weekly food shop a family outing and let your children see what you're buying. Invite them to choose a couple of healthy items – see if they can identify fruits and their countries of origin.
- Eating breakfast helps children stay alert during lessons and energised throughout the day. Try wholegrain cereals topped with low fat yoghurt and fruit to help them reach their five-a-day.
- Pack lunchboxes with healthy eating options, like pittas and bagels filled with tuna and sweetcorn. Low-fat yoghurt and a small packet of dried fruits will satisfy a sweet tooth.
- For after-school snacks, make sure there are fruit and nuts to hand. Beans on toast or mashed banana sandwiches are healthy ideas for really hungry youngsters.
- Try to make healthy food fun and tasty by blending fresh fruits together into a smoothie, instead of offering sugary fizzy drinks.
- Think up quizzes and fun games about food, such as asking your children to design a healthy picnic.
- Get your children to take part in regular healthy cooking days – mixing and mashing ingredients can be fun and educational. Children always love to eat what they have cooked.
- Meals can be made to look interesting by using lots of different coloured fruits and vegetables. Get your children to serve and arrange the food on the plate.
- Don't forget to practice what you preach. Set a good example by eating healthily yourself. Children love to feel grown up.
- Allow your children to have an occasional treat, such as crisps or cake – but make sure it's not more than once or twice a week. Here are 9 delicious healthy treats.
Did you know the importance of vitamin C?
In the old days, sailors used to get a disease called scurvy from not eating any fruit or vegetables while at sea for months. It tired them out, made their gums bleed and their legs hurt.
Then one day, a Doctor called James Lind, was on board a ship and decided to try an experiment. He divided all the sailors on board into groups, and gave different treatments to each group to see if it would cure their scurvy.
It was only the group that were given oranges and lemons who not only felt better but in a short time no longer had symptoms. This is how we first found out about the importance of vitamin C that we get from fruits and vegetables in our diet.