It is really important our children get off to a healthy start in life
When they are young it is the ideal time to develop healthy habits of eating well and moving more. Start them of on a ‘healthy’ path and as they get older it will become second nature.
The Department of Health recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first 6 months of life.
Me sized meals
Tips for eating healthy on a budget
Healthy school lunches
Around six months your baby needs more than milk alone and is able to eat solid foods in addition to breast or formula milk this often refereed to as weaning. Weaning is the gradual introduction of a wide range of foods, until baby is eating the same healthy foods as the family. Weaning first steps will provide you with useful information.
Me sized meals:
Children often eat the same sized portions as grown up but when they eat more than their bodies need, it converts to stored fat in their bodies. So many families are making a conscious effort to serve ‘kid-sized portions’. Give portions that match their age, 5-year old needs less than 10-year old and 10-year old needs less than a grown-up. Try these tips:
Make a fist
Look at the size of your child's fist compared to yours. Not only are their fists, hands and feet smaller than yours, their stomach is too, so when you are serving up remember to give your kids smaller amounts of food than adults, it will still fill them up. Feeding our kids more won't make them grow any quicker, it just leads to fat storing up in their bodies.
We all love to see clean plates coming back from our kids. Give them the chance of finishing their food by giving them a portion that matches their size to begin with.
Don't nag them to eat up
We've all done it. Our parents did it to us. But it's healthier to serve them a kid sized portion and, if they're still hungry, let them ask for more. Think about what snacks they are having throughout the day to ensure they're not filling up on snacks as they are less likely to eat well at meal time.
Watch packaging sizes
Many foods and drinks (like cans of sugary drinks) are packaged for adults and for sharing like ‘Grab Bags’. Don't automatically give it all to a child, try saving some for later, or dividing it out - it's better for them and will save money too. Change4Life will provide you with additional information.
The eatwell plate shows the different types of food we need to eat and in what proportions to have a well balanced and healthy diet.
Eating healthily is about eating the right amount of food for your energy needs. In England, most adults are either overweight or obese. This means many of us are eating more than we need.
Fruit and vegetables are part of a balanced diet and can help us stay healthy. That’s why it so important that we get enough of them. That is five portions of fruit and veg altogether, not five portions of each.
Getting your 5 A DAY is easy. There are plenty of ways to add more fruit and vegetables to your everyday eating habits.
Here are some ideas to get you started:
- At breakfast, add fruit to cereal, porridge or lower-fat yoghurt.
- Frozen fruit and veg count towards your 5 A DAY
- Canned fruit and veg count too BUT choose fruit canned in juice rather than sugary syrup, and veg canned in water without added salt or sugar.
Tips for eating healthy on a budget:
- Plan your shopping to avoid costly impulse buys.
- Buy store brands
- Be wary of BOGOFs (Buy One Get One Frees). They can be good value but often tempt you to buy more than you need&help;
- Check prices at your local market
- Cut down on takeaways and ready meals. They can often be more expensive than preparing the food yourself and high in fat, salt and sugar.
- Eat breakfast you will be less tempted to buy a mid morning snacks
- Make your own sandwiches using fresh vegetables, salad or chicken.
- Choose fresh fruit and vegetables that are in season they will not only be cheaper, but they will taste better too.
- Canned fruit or frozen vegetables can be cheaper than fresh ones and can be just as nutritious. Choose the reduced salt and sugar versions.
- Vegetables are often cheaper than meat and are loaded with important vitamins, minerals and fibre. Try cooking more veggie meals like vegetable curry or a stew.
Healthy school lunches:
A healthy enjoyable lunch gives your child the energy they need to learn and play at school.
Healthy packed lunches
A healthy packed lunch should contain a mix of foods from the Eat Well Plate. A good packed lunch contains:
- A starchy food, such as bread, rolls, pitta bread, naan bread, potatoes, rice, noodles.
- A good source of protein, iron and zinc such as meat, fish, beans, nuts or eggs.
- A good source of calcium such as milk, cheese, yoghurt or fromage frais.
- And one portion of fruit and one portion of vegetable or salad to provide all the other vitamins and minerals. A piece of fruit could be a 100% juice or piece of fresh fruit, dried fruit or tinned fruit in fruit juice. A piece of vegetable could be a fresh vegetables such as carrot stick, salad or a vegetable soup or vegetable dish.
No single food contains all the essential nutrients the body needs to be healthy and function efficiently so it is important that the content of the packed lunch is varied.
The school food trust can provide you with additional information.
There are lots of ideas for healthy lunch boxes and lighter lunch boxes for children and young people.
Healthy hot school meals
North East Lincolnshire Council in partnership with Cygnet catering provides healthy hot school meals.
The Healthy Hot School Meals Menu meets the national nutritional standards. These ensure that children are provided with a healthy, balanced diet.
The new standards, introduced in September 2006, require the following:
- High-quality meat, poultry or oily fish regularly available
- At least two portions of fruit and vegetables with every meal
- Bread, other cereals and potatoes regularly available
Additionally, there are controls on the following foods:
- Deep-fried food limited to no more than two portions per week
- Fizzy drinks, crisps, chocolate and other confectioneries removed from school meals and vending machines.
North East Lincolnshire Council also provides free school meals which you may be eligible for.