With the government implementing a scheme to tackle obesity in the UK, good tips for a balanced and healthy diet are not hard to find for teens and adults. £1.5 billion has been set aside to go to 5 local councils around the UK to help tackle obesity amongst teens and young adults. With the introduction of the ‘Eat out to help out’ scheme making it easier to nip out to a restaurant for dinner, we must continue to look to the health and wellbeing of our children when it comes to diet and exercise in these strange times.
Here are some of our top tips at School of Sport for maintaining a healthy diet for you and your children.
Tip Number 1 – You Can Only Eat What You Buy
This may seem like a silly tip but is actually something that we can quite often put to the back of our minds. If you are one of those people, like myself, who will buy a 24 box of Jaffa Cakes and eat them in under an hour, then you will understand the struggle. One of the most effective ways I made this change in my diet, was to go old fashioned and write down my shopping list for the week, with pen and paper and limit myself only to what I had written down. Obviously, without buying more of the sugary snacks and fizzy drinks I was unable to consume them at home, and I soon realised that I had got used to not having them without even noticing. Now, of course, this does not mean you have to cut these treats out of your diet completely but making an effort keep them out of your cupboards, will make the job of cutting down, a lot easier. Here are some of our favourite healthy snack replacements: Vegetable sticks and dip (for example, hummus or guacamole), light popcorn, low-sugar yogurts, homemade smoothies and of course, fresh fruit!
Tip Number 2 – Consistency is Key
Consistency for meal times and snack times is really important for kids, so helping them to achieve consistent eating routine is just as important as actually eating the healthy foods themselves. Children are the masters of burning calories, but it is also important that we supply them with enough energy to balance that out. Active children should eat 3 meals a day and at least 2 snacks in between. A good rule of thumb is to snack a couple of hours after one meal and at least 1 to 2 hours before their next meal.
Leaving snack times until a couple of hours after a meal, helps prevents children from refusing food at a meal and then immediately asking for more as a ‘treat’ just after they have eaten. On the other hand, stopping your child from snacking immediately before a meal encourages a healthier appetite at mealtimes, so it really is about finding a good balance that works for you and your children and then keeping it consistent!
We also assist with this in our Holiday clubs as the children have 2 schedules snack times, one before, and one after lunch to maintain their energy levels throughout the day so they can keep enjoying themselves and releasing all that energy into healthy amounts of exercise.
Tip Number 3 – Get Active!
Of course, none of the above will make half as much difference without a good amount of exercise, and with children being little balls of energy, what better way to stay healthy than to play sports and get outside for some fun and effective physical activity. Experts suggest that children should do at the very least 60 minutes of exercise a day, including ‘vigorously intense physical activity’. With our holiday clubs/out of school sessions and lunch provision work offering a variety of developmentally based and fun practices, we are often able to see physical changes in our students, including heightened energy and enthusiasm and even positive changes in their social and scholastic experiences.
…So there has never been a better time to join one of our clubs returning in September. To read about more benefits that sports clubs may have for your child, check out this article about Post Lockdown Sports Club Benefits. https://www.schoolofsport.org.uk/post-lockdown-sports-club-benefits/