Healthy Eating for Kids!
A balanced lifestyle involves eating a healthy diet and being physically active on a regular basis. A balanced diet is important for your child’s health, growth and development and getting the balance right can be a challenge for many families.
Lunch boxes should be made up of the following five basic categories:
Tips for a healthy lunchbox!
Need help creating fun yet healthy balanced lunchboxes? Use our clever tips below:
- Don’t forget that children must eat breakfast every day. No lunchbox will make up for the energy they’ve missed from this important meal.
- Pack lunch in a cooler bag with an ice pack to keep food fresh and safe.
- Try to pack food items that have different colours – a colourful combination is fun and appealing.
- If you have time, experiment with cutting food into different shapes.
- Buy little plastic containers for smaller bits to keep things tidy. Make sure to mark these containers with your kids’ initials.
- Many children are resistant to eating wholewheat or high fibre breads. Choose bread that provides as much fibre as possible and explain to them that fibre means healthy tummies. There are breads on the market that have added fibre, without the kernels and seeds, and these can be used as an alternative.
- Fruit juices are high in natural sugar, and so it is best to dilute them with water. Children do, however, use up a lot of energy, so 100% fruit juice would be suitable for an afternoon activity. Encourage them to drink water, and give them an extra water bottle to take with to school if possible.
The below Food Pyramid shows the importance of a balanced diet across all of the food groups. This helps us to choose the best kinds of foods to eat to keep us healthy and energetic in a balanced diet.
Active Children require fluid before, during and after exercise. When people sweat they lose water though their skin. Sweating cools the body down, but if you lose too much water this way, you could get dehydrated. If you get too dehydrated you won’t feel well or perform well. Serious dehydration can make you feel very sick and may require medical treatment.
On average a child requires 6-8 glasses of fluid. Water and milk are the best drinks for child. Being physical active can greatly increase the amount of fluids children need to drink. Children also are typically having too much fun to recognise or act on their thirst. Therefore you need to be aware of your child’s fluid intake and schedule fluid breaks for children playing outdoors, especially in hot weather.
Guide to Eating and Drinking around Exercise
Include food from the four major groups of the food pyramid at regular meals and snacks for the best nutrition before sport.
Nutritious meals before sport:
- Jacket Potato with cheese, tuna, baked beans plus salad
- Pasta with tomato-based sauce with meat and vegetables
- Rice, pasta or noodles with chicken, fish or beans and vegetables
- A bowl of wholegrain cereal with milk and banana
- Lentil, vegetable or chicken soup with wholemeal bread
- Wholemeal sandwich/roll/wrap filled with tuna/cheese/chicken/peanut butter and salad
The most important thing is to stay hydrated. Water is the best choice to stay hydrated. If children are hungry or have been very active, offer fruit as a healthy, hydrating snack.
In most cases, water and healthy snacks or regular meals are all kids need to get back the nutrients and fluid they lost during physical activity. Milk is another great option for after game hydration and re-fuelling after exercise.
Nutritious Snacks after Sport:
- Glass of milk
- Wholegrain crackers with cheese
- Yogurt with fruit slices for dipping
- Cube of cheese and a piece of fruit
- Pitta bread slices dipped in humus
- Wholemeal bread with peanut butter spread