Eat an apple a day

Eating Habits Start at Home

With a growing awareness of our nations struggle with increased childhood obesity and the health problems associated, we are left with little or no excuse not to take action

However in our hectic lives it can sometimes be hard to implement healthy eating habits for our children and many of us are guilty of making excuses. Unhealthy eating habits have been adopted by many of us, with lots of families choosing convenience over the desire for healthy, home-cooked and nutritious meals.

Childhood obesity leads to some major health problems in children including high blood pressure, high cholesterol and type 2 Diabetes. In the past these conditions were not often see until adulthood.

Our children learn how to live by watching our example. Eating is no exception to the rule; our own relationship with food provides our children with a very clear message. It is no good providing youngsters with healthy, fresh and nutritious meals and snacks, if they then see us making do with a convenient ready meal.

Let’s be honest, how healthy are your kitchen cupboards, what hides at the back of your freezer? Do you have a small drawer full of little boxes ready to pop into the microwave? Or perhaps you have already started the crusade for healthier living and are just looking for some inspiration and new ideas?

It’s not realistic to imagine that we can change our eating habits overnight so we have put together some of the action we have taken in our own families. Simple tips that can be put in place right now, that will have a positive impact on your whole family.

  • Eat as a family as often as possible. It can be hard to juggle everyone to be present for a meal, and the more children you have and the older they get the more difficult it can become. Studies have shown that families who eat together are less likely to eat the wrong foods and that children may not ask for snacks so often. Make sure your family associate sitting down at the table with food and are not grabbing snacks whilst taking part in other activities.
  • Include your child in shopping, preparing and cooking their meal. If you have the opportunity you can even encourage them to grow some healthy vegetables and fruit in the garden. Children love to be involved and may surprise you in what they will eat if they have chosen and prepared it themselves.
  • Now this is a real challenge for the adults in the house. Take sometime to look through the cupboards and check the ingredients. Where are the hidden sugars in your household? Is there anything that you can substitute for a healthy option?
  • This is a really easy tip to do but you may receive some resistance. Remove drinks with added sugar, and pops, energy drinks or juice. Try and encourage your children to drink plain water. If they see you enjoy a nice glass of water they may be more likely to enjoy one themselves! Cut down on sugary drinks like tea and hot chocolate too.
  • Choose to serve healthy meals, even if your children don’t eat them or enjoy them to start with, seeing other members of the family enjoying them will encourage even the most reluctant child. (Yes Dad! That means you have to eat all your vegetables!)
  • Be very aware of portion size and with younger children it may be sensible to research exactly how much they should be eating. We often hear about children who are fussy eaters but it can be just as much of a problem if your child enjoys their food so much they just want ‘more’ all the time – we have one of those and yes he is called Oliver!

Healthy Snack Options

  • Cheese Sticks/Bread Sticks
  • Unsalted Rice cakes
  • Apple Slices (we like ours with a sprinkle of cinnamon)
  • Orange Slices
  • Bananas
  • Carrot Sticks/Celery Sticks/Cucumber Strips
  • Mixed Berries (strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and blackberries)
  • Raisins
  • Sugar Free Ice Pops (the children will have as much fun making them as eating them)
  • Watermelon Slices
  • Cherry Tomatoes
  • Whole Grain Crackers


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