Having your own kids gives you a good insight into how they see and react to the world around them. Children really do look to us, their parents, for guidance and support to help steer them in the right direction. This is important when it comes to their health and wellness.
The Irish Nutrition and Dietetic Institute (INDI) research shows that one in four children in Ireland is obese. It is important to instill good eating and fitness habits early on in their lives. Here are a few tips that I find helps me on a weekly basis.
Always start the day with a good breakfast. These foods will give them energy, help their concentration and stop them feeling hungry. Porridge, Weetabix or a boiled egg are all nutritious, slow-release foods. Be careful of juices, as they are high in sugar. Instead give them a freshly peeled orange, grapes or a glass of milk.
For lunch, Wholemeal bread gives energy. Keep an eye on processed meats. Add some colour with veg and fruit – peppers, carrots, apples and oranges are all good. Yogurt is a good source of calcium and stops them feeling hungry. The milk scheme is a great idea; even if they don’t drink milk at school get them to drink it when they come home.
The evening meal is important because in today’s society it can be the only meal where the whole family can sit down together. I tell my kids, especially when they complain about vegetables, to eat them first and then they have the nice things left, like the meat.
They don’t need to eat their vegetables with their meal. I sometimes cut and peel a few carrots, peppers or celery, throw them into a bowl and leave it on the table. Kids love colour and picking at food, so don’t be surprised if the bowl is empty. Soup is another way to get their vegetables into them. Make a big pot and it will last a few days. It saves time and money, and it’s great on cold days.
Veronica Mannion runs EasySlimFitness classes in Westport, Castlebar, Claremorris and Ballina (www.easyslimfitness.com). She can be contacted at 087 2308946 or firstname.lastname@example.org.