Never skip breakfast
As we all know, breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but sometimes fitting in a healthy start can be a challenge when racing against the clock to begin the school run and get to work on time. A healthy breakfast doesn’t have to take up your morning. It can be as simple as adding some frozen fruit to their porridge or sprinkling their favourite cereal with sliced banana.
If you are spoilt for time, why not treat the kids to pancakes for breakfast, but with a twist. Banana pancakes made of just two eggs and one banana mixed together are surprisingly filling and naturally sweet. You could even top with berries or sliced apple for added goodness.
And for children who aren’t a fan of fruit, why not make a homemade smoothie? They will never guess that their least favourite fruit is hidden in the ingredients.
Preparation is key
Preparing your kids’ lunch boxes for five days of the week can be a tedious job but it doesn’t have to be. Why not half the work and get your children involved? Sliced carrots and cucumber with hummus can make for great snack additions to a lunch box, while simply adding salad into a sandwich is a quick solution for making your children’s lunches healthier. (It’s best if adults handle any slicing or chopping!) For those who are fussier with veg, why not make a large portion of pasta with finely chopped vegetables hidden by their favourite pasta sauce. These lunch options can be prepared a few days in advance if necessary, making your mornings less stressful.
Struggling to get your children to eat their lunch? Why not try getting creative and cutting their sandwiches and snacks into shapes. If kids find their food visually stimulating and fun, they are more likely to eat your homemade dishes.
Say no to processed snacks
We have all been there: in a rush, hungry and looking to grab a snack. We naturally reach for a cereal or granola bar, which are often high in saturated fat and hidden sugars. Or worse, a packet of crisps with lots of added salt! Plan ahead and make homemade granola bars, which can be frozen for future use and work great as snacks on the go for the whole family. Swap crisps and chocolate with yogurt, healthy popcorn and dried fruit. There is always a nutritious alternative to your child’s favourite treats.
Hydration is essential
Children spend a large part of their day releasing energy, whether it’s running around a sports field or thinking hard in a maths class. Packing a securely sealed bottle of water in their school bag is crucial. Including foods high in water in a lunch box is another alternative to ensure your children are staying hydrated. Sliced water melon, celery, strawberries and grapes can all contribute to hydration levels and act as one of their five a day.
Finish the day off with a hearty meal
While breakfast is essential, we consider dinner to be just as important, especially when it comes to packing in your five a day. It’s a time for eating with the family following a busy day at school and work, and a great opportunity to ensure your family are getting the right nutrients. Turning the family favourite of pizza into a healthy alternative has never been easier with wrap or pitta pizza recipes, allowing everyone to get creative with their favourite vegetable and meat toppings on a healthy and filling base.
Frozen veg, low priced meats and fish, and healthy desert options readily available make dinner time a great opportunity to ensure the family are getting a balanced meal, packed with their five a day.
Martin Ricketts is CEO of Plutus Health
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