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: Two thirds of obese children show early signs of heart disease

I found the news that two out of every three severely obese children already have at least one health problem that increases the risk of heart disease very sad today. Heart disease isn”t for kids…its for the elderly who have lived their lives to the full and unfortunately been struck down by this awful illness.

Basically be the age of 12, the study found that the kids had high blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood glucose.

 

The figures could mean that thousands of British children are also affected after experts here warned children as young as seven were being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, which is linked to obesity.

Just over half of these 307 children were boys. They tended to be more severely obese at the younger end of the age spectrum; the reverse was true of girls. So what can we do?

Starting heart-healthy habits right now, that’s what! Don’t smoke, for one. And be sure to eat healthy, exercise, and maintain a healthy weight. Your heart and blood vessels will thank you later!

Most kids don’t need to be on diets……but here’s something kids can do to eat healthier and that’s learn the difference between GoSlow, and Whoa foods.

Go Foods

These are foods that are good to eat almost anytime. They are the healthiest ones, like all fruits, vegetables, low fat diary, lean protein and water

Slow Foods

These are sometimes foods. They aren’t off-limits, but they shouldn’t be eaten every day. At most, eat them several times a week, like oven-baked chips, bread, hamburgers, popcorn and fruit juice.

Whoa Foods

These foods should make you say exactly that — Whoa! Should I eat that? Whoa foods are the least healthy and the most likely to cause weight problems, especially if a person eats them all the time. That’s why Whoa foods are once-in-a-while foods like sweets, fried foods, cheese, donuts, hot dogs, fizzy drinks and creamy sauces.

You also need to avoid anything with Trans Fats in…..they clog up your heart, as your body can’t process them! This kind of oil is used in crackers and snack foods, but it’s been found to be very unhealthy for your heart and can be listed on packaging as either Trans fats or Hydrogenated oils.  YUK!

 

Children’s Fitness Academy; Let children play in the street to prevent them getting fat,

Over-protective parents must let their children play in the street to save them from obesity, Labour’s Diane Abbott recently the Standard (thisislondon.co.uk).

Ms Abbott, the shadow public health minister, said: “I think London kids are especially at risk because so many mums and dads are fearful about letting them play in the streets. I think parents need to be tougher on their kids’ diets to save them from ill-health. Carrying on with the chips and PlayStation 3 culture is not an option.”

NHS figures have revealed that more than one in five children in London are obese by the time they leave primary school. The problem is worse in the capital than in any other UK region.

Ms Abbott, MP for Hackney North and Stoke Newington, said Londoners needed a “revolution” in their approach to children’s lifestyles.

“Schools should be on the front line in the battle against obesity. Healthy school dinners and the teaching of domestic science are crucial tools in improving health.

“It is important that we develop an environment where people can make healthy choices – and that we understand the significance of issues like safe play areas for kids, physical activity and also of the advertising of junk food, sugary soft drinks and alcohol.

Childhood obesity costs the capital £7.1 million a year to treat, and the National Child Measurement Programme found that 21.9 per cent of London children were obese when they left primary school, compared with 19 per cent nationally and 16.5 per cent in the South Central region, which includes Oxfordshire and Hampshire.

Children raised in towns and cities were more likely to be overweight, suggesting that outdoor play and exercise could be a factor.

Scary figures eh?

I think we do have to be very careful of letting our kids run around in the streets. But if you have a big back garden why not encourage them to get outside and play. Playstations and computer games are really not as fun as old-fashioned games like IT or tag. Why not take advantage of parks too? Swinging and climbing and swinging all use far more muscles that pressing a remote control, which burns calories and helps fight this obesity crisis affecting us. Come on parents, its time we took charge of getting our children fighting fit and in the best shape for their future!

 

 

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!

Why you and your Children should step away from the TV and exercise instead!

Ok, we are all guilty of watching the x-factor on a Saturday night (can you believe it was on for 2 1/2 hours on Saturday??!!) but did you know that every hour we spend watching TV shortens our lifespan by 21.8 minutes!!! 

Researchers at the University of Queensland say that all that sitting down increases your risk of obesity, heart disease and diabetes – not good!

I’m not saying don’t watch TV because I know your kids would hate me but why don’t you make TV watching a bit more active by playing TV bingo?

Whatever the show, choose words that will prompt you to get up of the coach. Watching X-factor? Every time you hear ‘Fun’ or ‘sing’ or ‘rubbish’ get on your feet and do a jump.

Or why not do five sit ups every time someone looks at the floor after they have been told by Gary Barlow that they were rubbish?

Who said watching TV couldn’t be fun as well as active?

What has your Kid’s Fitness Trainer, Lucy Miller been up to?

Running 13.2 miles that’s what!

I applied for the Royal Parks Half Marathon (http://royalparkshalf.com/) back in May – you know one of those things you think sounds like a wicked idea at the time!

It was actually good fun – I did Run To The Beat just two weeks before so I knew my legs could handle it. The problem is I went out far too fast and blew up at mile 9! My legs just didn’t want to go any further. I didn’t give it though. I just walked 50 steps, and ran to the next mile mark, telling myself that every mile I could have a 5–step breather.

That’s the thing with exercise – everyone session and every race is different, you just have to listen to your body and go with it. Sometimes you just can’t push as you hard as you would like to.

I finished three minutes slower than Run To The Beat but felt I gave it everything. My next goal is to beat that 1 hour 40, in another half marathon every next year – goals are so important in life because they keep you focused and motivated.

Now its time for a hot bath and a chill on the sofa – my work today is done!

I can’t wait to see what talents your children have. As I said everyone person is different, which is why I love working with children and helping them make the most of themselves and give them confidence to run their first race, get on the stage for their school dance or be an important team member in that team game. Exercise is fun and should be a way of life. The fitter and healthier you are, the more you can take part in races like I have today. Its so great to sit down on a Sunday afternoon and feel that I have achevived something and had fun doing it! If you want something in life – there is never a good enough reason not to go and get it!

Happy Sunday!

Time for a rest!