Healthy Packed Lunches Tips for the New School Year

Step away from the usual fizzy drinks and boring sandwiches that you keep putting in your child’s packed lunch and take inspiration from the British Dietetic Association’s (BDA) infamous New School Year Resolution: Healthy Packed Lunches.

They have recently issued some quick and handy tips to create, not only healthy packed lunches, but packed lunches that are full of flavour and variety.

Rachel Cooke, British Dietetic Association Spokesperson and Bristol Healthy School Dietitian, said:

“What children eat at a young age has a massive impact on their eating habits for life, so it is essential we get the younger generation into choosing and enjoying healthy nutritious food.

“When putting together a packed lunch, it is so easy to go down the usual route of packets of salty savoury snacks crisps, bars of chocolate, fizzy drinks and the same old boring sandwich day after day.  Many adults wouldn’t accept eating the same things day in day out, so why should children?

“Packed lunches can be exciting and full of healthy options and variety.  They need to provide children with the energy
and sustenance they need to grow and develop healthily and help them to concentrate in the school class.”

The BDA Tips for a Healthy Packed Lunch:

Back to basics – bread, cereals and potatoes…
Try to keep a selection of breads in the freezer for sandwiches. Using a different type of bread each day can make
sandwiches more interesting. Try multigrain and seed rolls, bagels, baguettes, pitta breads, wraps…the list is endless! (Children have reported they like meat / cheese or fish etc and bread separate so it doesn’t go soggy)

You could also raid the fridge for leftovers – some foods taste just as good cold such as pizza or pasta. Cook extra pasta, couscous or rice. Mix it with cut-up vegetables, a few nuts flaked tuna or mackerel.

Filling the void – meat, fish and alternatives…
Try to include lean meat, chicken, fish, eggs, nuts, beans or pulses in your 
lunchbox like
* Tuna with cucumber, green pepper, sweetcorn or tomato
* 
Low fat hummus and cucumber
* Egg and cress
* Cottage cheese and dried apricots
* 
Cooked chicken or turkey, tomatoes, and
lettuce
* 
Peanut butter and banana (my fav!)
* 
Grated cheese and tomato
* Oily fish, such as salmon sandwich or mackerel pasta salad

Remember, if you are using a spread choose a reduced fat one – or do without it completely if you are using a moist filling.

Vegging out or Feeling fruity..?
It’s important to eat 5 (or more) portions of fruit and vegetables every day. You won’t be stuck for choice when it comes to lunchtime:

* fresh fruit e.g. apple, grapes, banana, kiwi fruit (children have also said they like different fruits every day and not
always the traditional choices e.g.. wedge of  melon / peeled orange / kiwi and spoon / pot of strawberries. Why not
surprise your child with a different fruit / veg choice every day of the week?)
* 
dried fruits, e.g. raisins, apricots
* chopped raw vegetables e.g. carrot sticks, cherry tomatoes or a mixed salad
* tinned fruit in natural juice – pop in a small container or buy small tins with a ring pull

Dairy delights…
Try to include some dairy products in your lunchbox – important to keep your teeth healthy and your bones strong (remember to look at sugar levels – 5g equals about one teaspoon):
* low fat yogurt – plain or fruit flavoured
* low fat fromage frais
* small pot of rice pudding or custard
* 
Milk / fruit-based milkshakes

 Tasty treats…
Fancy something sweet in your lunch-box? There’s nothing wrong with this. Just try and make healthier choices when you can:
* currant bun, scone or fruit loaf,
* plain popcorn
* cereal bar (remember to look at sugar levels)
* 
fun sized bar of chocolate

Put in a drink…
Choose from:
* 
Plain water (still or sparkling)
* Plain milk (skimmed or semi-skimmed) or plain yoghurt combined with fruit e.g. smoothies, pureed fruit with plain yoghurt
* Pure fruit juice in small cartons or in a small bottle
* Hot drinks in the winter, e.g. soups

Keep cool…
Use a cool bag and pop in an ice-pack or freeze a carton of juice and place in with food to keep cool
* 
Keep in the fridge until morning if you make it the night before
* Don’t store your lunch next to a radiator or in the sun

Children’s fitness Academy; How to put an end to Childhood obesity

Childhood obesity is a complex issue with no simple solutions, but involving the entire family in weight loss and health may help kids achieve their goals!

A scientific statement released Monday in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Assn. reviews strategies shown to be successful in helping kids slim down.

For example why not try changing the kitchen around to make more wholesome foods more accessible?  Some studies this to be helpful in losing weight in the short-term.
or
Set small, achievable goals that are age-appropriate that may get kids to stick to more healthful habits, like walk to school three times this week, or try a new vegetable EVERY DAY!

Other useful approaches include praising kids for what they’re doing right — instead of punishing them for what they’re doing wrong – give them 50p extra pocket money when they have eaten all the vegetables on their plate, or take them to see their friends to play once they have helped you create a healthy shopping list for the week.

Sometimes a little something goes a long way – and who can put a price on health and well-being these days? No one! xx

Children’s Fitness Trainer – doing her own fitness things!

I learn a lot writing for Health and Fitness Magazine, especially when it comes to how to use your workout time effectively!

At the moment I am on a strict Paleo diet – where you literally eat like a caveman e.g. If you couldn’t get it back in the caveman days then you don’t eat it. So lots of green veg, nuts and fresh lean meat so to be honest I haven’t got the energy to go and do some crazy long and hard run at the moment. So instead of sitting down and wishing my energy levels would rise I went to my local park and did some running drills.

I basically found a football pitch and did one minute of skips, running backwards, side running, high knees and leg kicks mixed in with two minutes of sprinting up one end of the pitch and then recovering to the other end. I got a really good workout, all without being too far away from my house.

Next week I plan to do hill sprints. I would have finished the 14-day strict paleo by then so should well and truly have my energy back.

The thing is you really need to listen to your body when exercising. I knew I couldn’t afford to go all out today so I didn’t BUT the key is I didn’t skip my workout. I tailored it to my needs and did what I could.

Exercise is definitely a way of life and this is what I want to get across to your children – exercise is fun and a necessity – especially if they grow up to have office jobs. It really does help to get moving before or after work to counter-balance all that sitting down, the yummy office lunches and off course it helps concentration levels too!

Children’s Fitness, Children’s Food

To stop children getting too hungry, and lacking in energy, which can result in MOOD swings and LACK OF CONCENTRATION, we need to be feeding them every two to three hours. Adults also need this – it will help to get the metabolism going and help you deal with stress etc.  However, it’s not always easy to think of snack ideas to have between main meals. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

* Apple and a handful of unsalted nuts

* Low fat yogurt pot

* Cashews and raisins

* Mixed seeds and dried cranberries

* Raw fruit bar (read labels carefully for added ingredients)

* Cucumber and carrot slices with humus

* Mashed avocado on wheat free rye bread

* Rye bread with almond butter

* Yoghurt, blueberries and crushed almonds

* Roasted veggies and humus

* lean ham and melon slices

Cup of vegetable soup

* 2 x Hard boiled eggs

* Avocado and Prawns

Your snacks are the ideal opportunity to get in as many good nutrients as possible rather than simply be hungry between meals (that’s no fun!!!).  If you still feel hungry after snacks you may be dehydrated, so  have a glass of water to fill that gap. Coconut water is also another yummy option!