We're raising our children in a world where overweight is the norm, and junk food is seen as an easy option. The effect this has on our kids is huge, and definitely a contributor to the epidemic of childhood obesity in the UK. Studies show that instilling healthy habits in young children can help their long-term healthy eating habits and keep them as healthy as possible. Holidays are a good time to change routines and spend extra time in the kitchen and garden with kids. With this in mind, here are a few ideas to help you along the way...
Get them cooking
Having your kids to help out in the kitchen is a great way of getting them excited about different foods. Let them help you to prep some vegetables, or get them involved in helping make some healthy, home-cooked meals. Also allow them try a bit of things as you go along - getting them to try things away from the pressure and routine of sitting at the dinner table means they might be a bit happier to give new things a go.
Simply swapping processed foods for fresh, homemade versions will be automatically healthier. You'll know exactly what is in them too - no nasty chemicals or excessive sugar and salt.
Healthy snacks on hand having fresh fruit in the kitchen fruit bowl keeps the healthy option visible and accessible for the whole family. Our teams' 'go to snacks' for children include:
• Nakd Bars: A regular favourite with adults at Vavista HQ, they are equally popular with younger generations. From strawberry crunch to the cocoa range, there's one for every taste bud.
• Bear Nibbles Yo-Yos: These rolls are simply dried fruit and a little veg, gently baked. With no added sugar, they are one of their '7 a day' fruit and veg. Kids will love the collectable, subtly educational cards in the pack too!
• Nut butters: As long as your children are not allergic, these are a great, high protein savoury snack that keeps them full. Try on ricecakes or oatcakes.
Taking fruit, natural sultanas and water with you on family days out or car journeys this summer will also help keep you healthy, save you money and keep kids happier, making life pleasant all round!
Set a great example
If your children grow up in a household where fresh, unprocessed food is the norm, vegetables are part of every meal and they see their parents following healthy eating and activity habits then, even if they don't follow suit just yet, they will subconsciously register that behaviour.
At the end of the day, we're only human and there will be some trial and error when it comes to making sure your kids eat a healthy balanced diet, so don't stress too much. By making a big issue out of healthy eating, we may only end up making things worse as kids love to antagonise us! We also don't want to see our kids becoming unduly concerned about their weight or eating habits - which can result in teenage dieting and other similarly unhealthy behaviour. Children will always want a little of something naughty, and we shouldn't stop them from eating junk food entirely. It's about creating a healthy balance, teaching them to make sensible choices for themselves and ensuring they know which foods will help them to become healthy, happy adults!
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