Can I get my children to eat more healthily?
- After all that feasting over the holiday period, aim to reduce the number of days your child’s lunchbox contains a food high in fat and salt, such as crisps and salted savoury snacks. Why not try limiting the number of times they are included to twice a week?
- Try adding a bag of plain popcorn, breadsticks or pretzels for a change. These are all healthier options as they are lower in fat and salt.
- Add a bag of dried fruit such as apricots or raisins. Not only do these count towards 5 portions of fruit and vegetables a day, they also contain fibre. Your child may be surprised how good they taste.
- Add a piece of easy to eat fruit, such as pears, or a bunch of grapes, a small banana or clementine. (Young children sometimes find clementines tricky, so if you have time, peel it and wrap up before putting in the lunchbox.)
- Vegetables can add a crunch to any lunch, for example carrot sticks taste great on their own or with a tomato salsa dip.
- Add a lower fat snack such as a scone, slice of malt loaf or currant bun. These are all healthier alternatives to cakes and biscuits.
- Do not forget dairy foods – individual small pieces of cheese or cheese triangles, cheese and grapes on straws, fruit yogurts or flavoured milk drinks are important in the diet as they provide calcium.
What about foods high in fat, salt and sugar?
- Snacks can be part of a healthy lifestyle, but as with all foods, different snacks provide different nutrients so variety is the healthy way.
- Eating a balanced diet does not mean avoiding foods containing fat, salt and sugar completely, just ensuring that these foods are eaten occasionally and in smaller amounts. So do add a plain chocolate biscuit or puffed savoury snack to your child’s lunch occasionally.
- Crisps, biscuits and chocolate can be eaten as part of a healthier lunchbox. Choose just one of these foods per day, rather than all three. Try to limit the number of times you provide these in a week.
- Nominating one day a week as ‘chocolate day’ is one helpful way of getting a better balance. Only on this day of the week add a chocolate bar or chocolate biscuit to the lunchbox.