This month, we’re putting the spotlight firmly on how you and your family can adopt a healthy lifestyle by making quick and easy changes to your diet and by getting more active together. To kick-start things, here are five simple changes you can introduce to encourage healthy habits for kids!
1. Introduce healthy foods from an early age
Start your baby on their healthy eating journey early by introducing them to a variety of solid foods when they’re ready to start weaning. With a host of finger foods available for little ones to try, it’s the perfect time to get started. Why not try cooked sticks of broccoli and carrot, banana, mango, dried fruits and breadsticks.
Avoid sugar and salt completely in weaning foods – homemade meals are the best way to monitor this. It’s also important to note that small round foods like whole cherry tomatoes and grapes can cause choking. These should be chopped up before being given to your tot. By introducing your little one to a variety of solid foods from six months old, they’ll grow up accustomed to eating healthy fruits and vegetables.
2. Get active as a family
Encourage your little ones to get active by increasing your own physical activity too. Set aside time every weekend to do something active together as a family. Whether that’s taking the dog for a long walk in your local woodlands, swimming at your local pool or beach, going on a bike ride or playing football in the park – there’s something to suit everyone. On rainy weekends, make the household chores into a fun activity for everyone to get involved in. Give each family member a task to do about the house and race to see how fast you can get it done.
What’s more, getting active as a family is a cheap way to spend time together and have fun, plus you’ll also reap the health benefits.
3. Make time for getting outdoors
With so many distractions like tablets, mobile phones, computers and televisions, your little ones will regularly spend long periods of time with their eyes glued to a screen rather than getting outside and having adventures! Encourage them to decrease their screen time by getting outdoors with them. Help them to build their very own den in the garden, buy a trampoline or register them for a sports club they’re interested in, whether it’s dancing, karate, swimming or football – there are endless options available.
4. Make sure the whole family eats breakfast
As the old saying goes, ‘breakfast is the most important meal of the day’ – yet many still skip it out! Children who eat a healthy breakfast every day will remain fuller for longer. Therefore they’ll avoid the temptation to delve into snacks mid-morning! Time often isn’t on your side in the morning so try quick, simple and healthy choices. Why not try porridge with fresh banana, wholemeal toast with scrambled egg or a fresh homemade smoothie.
Don’t forget to sit down and eat your breakfast with little ones to set a good example!
5. Limit sweet treats to encourage healthy habits for kids
With more than a quarter of children in the UK being classed as overweight or obese* and over 9,000 tooth extractions being performed on children aged four and under in 2015-16** – it’s time to take action and cut back on the number of sugary treats you and your family enjoy.
So, how can you cut down on the sugar in your family’s diet?
Firstly, if you don’t buy it, then it’s not lurking in your cupboards to tempt you and the kids! That applies to sugary drinks, energy drinks, biscuits, cakes, ice cream and other desserts. It’s also important to note hidden sugars in many of the everyday food items that you might class as healthy. This includes tomato-based pasta sauces, bread, BBQ sauce and salad dressings. Change4Life have created their handy sugar smart app which allows you to scan food product labels to show you how many cubes of sugar are hidden within them!
Good to know!
The maximum daily amounts of added sugar are:
- 4-6 years – 20 grams (5 sugar cubes)
- 7-10 years – 24 grams (6 sugar cubes)
- 11+ years – 29 grams (7 sugar cubes).
Also, for a sugar-free alternative, why not swap ice cream for sugar-free yoghurt and fresh fruit or switch a chocolatey pudding for sugar-free jelly! Limit sugary food and drink to special occasions making them ‘treats’ not every day foods. Make sure you stick within the maximum daily allowance for your child’s age.
By implementing a few small changes, you and your family can start to feel the benefit of leading a healthier, happier life together!
What are your tips on how to lead an uber healthy life with your family?
* Source: Action on Sugar
** Source: The Telegraph