A Healthy Home is a Happy Home
Obesity in children has reached a shocking high. With children nowadays being glued to their phones and being surrounded by sweets and fizzy drinks it’s no wonder obesity is on the increase. Here’s a list of nine ways to make the switch to a more healthy lifestyle for you and your family.
Plan your weekly meals:
Life gets busy, with work, with kids, with your social life etc. In order to stay on top of the nutrition side of your life, set aside 10-15 minutes per week, to roughly plan what you’re going to eat for that week. Meals can be as basic as a spaghetti-bolognaise, just ensure it has a good balance of nutrients. ie. a protein, a carbohydrate and a fruit or veg source.
Make a grocery list:
As a follow on from the above point, It’s all well and good to want to eat healthier but it involves actually buying healthy food so when it comes to cooking, the food you need is in the kitchen, available to you. Write out a grocery list after you’ve made your rough weeks meal plan. This will help ensure you have all the necessary ingredients. Your shop will be more focused and it will prevent you from impulse buying and forgetting ingredients.
Pack in the vegetables:
Some children detest vegetables, some adore them. Either way they need them. By chopping vegetables up nice and small you can easily bulk up meals with lots of different veggies. The smaller they are, the harder it is for children to pick them out. Blending vegetables into a home made soup can be an excellent way of incorporating more vegetables into the little ones diets. Soups can be a great sauce for a dinner too.
Avoid using treats as rewards:
Easier said than done, but try to limit the amount of sugary treats you give to your children. This one takes organisation, but is worth it in the long run. Set up a star system or something similar. Every time your child completes their chores or are well behaved give them a star.Then when they’ve received a set amount of stars, treat them to a toy they’ve been wanting or a trip to the cinema to see a new movie. This way you avoid giving them sugary unhealthy treats but they are still rewarded for good behaviour.
Involve the children in their food choices:
Obviously if they request Mcdonalds for breakfast, lunch and dinner this isn’t feasible. Children are never shy about telling you what food they do and don’t like, so be sure to listen and make more of the things they do like but mix it up a bit each time so they don’t grow tired of it. Do remember that pleasing everyone isn’t possible, so don’t exhaust yourself trying. Getting your kids to do something as simple as whisking a few eggs makes them feel involved in the meal process and when children are involved, they are more likely to want to taste the final product.
Don’t go cold turkey:
If you and your family are making the switch to a healthier life stye you need to know that it will take time and needs to be done slowly for it to be sustainable. Going from having fizzy drinks, crisps and chocolate in the house and mcDonald’s or take away once a week, to carrot sticks and salads the next, is never going to work out. Sugar is addictive, reduce it from your diet slowly but surely and never eliminate it entirely or you’ll pick your child up from a party one day absolutely wired to the moon. Just focus on categorising treats as exactly that- treats and not everyday foods.
Get more active:
Eating healthy should coincide with exercise. Try doing more family activities such as evening cycles, Sunday hikes or maybe something as simple as a game of rounders or football on the local green. Get children off their game consoles and encourage them out into the fresh air. Everyone will be in a better mood after the exercise, even if they didn’t want to go in the first place.
Lead by example:
Nature versus nurture the big debate. Personally I think it’s a bit of both. Children definitely mimic actions they see, so make sure they see good habits. You can’t expect your child to eat broccoli and carrots when you’ve just ordered take away. Eating healthy as a family, is a group effort so everyone must participate or it just won’t work.
Make sure you aren’t overfilling plates. Children don’t need the volume of food that adults do. Try using smaller plates. Children like small bite sizes so make sure to cut up foods nice and small. Whole Grain pasta and rice tastes quite different to white pasta and rice. Try starting off with half whole-grain, half white until they become used to the texture and then never look back!