Dos And Don’ts Of A Healthy Lifestyle Routine
Caroline O’Donovan, Nutritionist with the National Dairy Council, shares her list of dos and don’ts when it comes to a healthy lifestyle routine.
Back to school marks a fresh beginning and structure for the next nine or 10 months of your family’s year, so it’s a good opportunity to encourage healthy lifestyle routines and habits from the get-go.
DO get the kids involved
Learning about food and nutrition are important life skills and should be encouraged from an early age. Children are more likely to be interested in their lunches if they have helped to choose and prepare them. Don’t be afraid to let them experiment.
DO try new foods
Trying new foods from an early age plays a huge role in a child’s willingness and acceptance of different foods.Children’s food preferences evolve as their palates mature. Continuously encouraging them to try new and different foods is a crucial step in their development of good eating habits.
DO shake things up
Variety is key, not only does variation in the diet provide nutritional benefits, but it reduces boredom and lack of interest in food. This is particularly important for children and teenagers, as they can be prone to becoming fussy eaters.
DO tailor lunches to the time of year
For example, a flask of soup with brown bread during the winter months or a pasta salad during spring and summer.
DO make it look appetising
It is worth spending that extra few minutes on presentation, especially for younger children.Aim for a variety of shapes, colours and textures in the lunchbox. The more pleasing a packed lunch looks; the more likely kids are to eat and enjoy it. It may be worth investing in colourful, easy-open Tupperware, lunchboxes and thermos flasks to liven up the school lunchtime.
DO be prepared and organised
Preparation in advance will not only save you time, but will reduce the chances of opting for last minute ready-made lunches or convenience foods which can be high in sugar, fat and salt.
DON’T leave it to the last minute
Lack of time may increase the chance of filling lunchboxes with unhealthy, convenience foods.
DON’T repeat the same lunches over and over
While it’s a good idea to establish a number of reliable lunches that work, try not to overdo it. Mixing it up will increase the variety of nutrients provided.
DON’T forget about portion size
This should be specifically tailored to your child/teen’s age, size and activity levels. Younger children will generally need smaller portions than older or more active children.
DON’T forget about hydration
Research suggests dehydration can lead to reduced concentration and performance in children. Water and milk are two excellent tooth-friendly choices; try to avoid sugary drinks.
DON’T forget about breakfast
It’s no myth that ‘breakfast is the most important meal of the day’. Break the overnight fast and set the school goers up with a bowl of milky porridge or mixed berries with yogurt and granola. It can be a long wait until small break, so opt for a breakfast that will fill and fuel.
Do you have any tips for a healthy lifestyle for the whole family? Let us know in the comments below.