Nourishing Your Children during the School Year
Follow these Top Tips to get this school year down to a clever start!
Is the most important meal of the day! A good night's sleep followed by food in the morning helps children to stay active and concentrate at school. It also means they are less likely to feel hungry during the morning.
A healthy lunchbox a day keeps the yawns away…
It may come as little surprise to learn that, according to recent research in Ireland, the most popular items in a lunchbox are a sliced white bread sandwich with a filling of ham, cheese or chicken; crisps, a chocolate bar or biscuit; and a yogurt or cheese snack. While there’s nothing wrong with any of these foods on an occasional basis, if children eat them every day, they won’t get the range of nutrients they need for good health and energy. As children get older they can develop tendencies for sweet or savoury cravings leading to frequent trips to the local sweet shop This can be prevented through healthy breakfasts and lunches. The key to a healthy packed lunch is nutritional balance and a wide variety of foods.
A home-made packed lunch is a great way for your child to learn about healthy food. Allowing and encouraging kids to participate in meal planning and food preparation can empower them with a wonderful interest in food and provide them with great skills later in life!
Are an important part of a healthy diet for active children.
Make snacks nutritious, not just high in energy. Fruit and vegetables: Fill up lunchboxes with a small apple, satsuma, pear, grapes, berries, celery sticks or peeled carrot sticks together with Irish soft cheese, which makes a delicious, filling snack that kids love. Also consider small bags of dried fruit; mixed fresh fruit salad; puréed fruit; chopped, sliced or a fruit & veg smoothie.
Is the spice of life! Mix things up a little with the kids’ food and try something new. Sandwiches don’t always have to be centre stage in the lunch box. Savoury muffins, wholemeal wraps, pittas, oatcakes, rice cakes and cracker breads are all great options.
Good examples of protein include lean cooked free-range or local chicken, turkey or beef; cooked fish and prawns; boiled eggs; seeds, seed butters, pulses and hummus, vegetarian sausages or cubed seasoned cooked tofu. Fish options are cooked or canned boned salmon, trout, mackerel, sardines and tuna, which all make great sandwich fillings especially blended with a little crème fraiche.
Foods to use only in moderation either at home or in school lunch boxes:
- Processed or packet meats such as salami, ham and luncheon roll;
- Processed cheese;
- Crisps and salty nuts;
- Sugary biscuits, muesli bars or breakfast bars;
- Fizzy drinks, cordials, sweetened juices or soft drinks—encourage your children to drink plain water instead!
- Sugary yogurts
Get moving! Nourishing your children can also be done through exercise!
Physical activity is an important part of good health. Encourage children to do something active each day, such as hobbies, games or sport. Get out and move with them…which is fun and exercise for all the family!