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Keeping your Child Active during the School Holidays

Active children

If your children do a lot of sports and after-school clubs, you may find that they are bursting with energy during the school holidays. Keeping their energy level up is a great idea to promote continued health and fitness, although this is often easier said than done! It can make things very [...] Read more →

healthy snack

Healthy Snacks for Kids

Snacking can be really bad for children, but most children will crave tasty treats throughout the day.

Most children do need some additional food between mealtimes, to help to sustain their growing bodies and to give them vital nutrients. Snacks are especially important for really active children, such as those who do a lot of [...] Read more →

healthy drinks

Healthy Drinks for Kids

Keeping your children hydrated is very important, especially if they are very active.

Dehydration can be serious, especially for growing bodies, so it is important that you keep an eye on how much fluid your children consume during the day. As well as making sure that they are drinking regularly enough, you must also make [...] Read more →

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Healthy Snacks for Kids

Snacking can be really bad for children, but most children will crave tasty treats throughout the day.

Most children do need some additional food between mealtimes, to help to sustain their growing bodies and to give them vital nutrients. Snacks are especially important for really active children, such as those who do a lot of sports or outdoor activities. However, you should always try to restrict snacking to a maximum of twice a day; once in the morning and once in the afternoon.

healthy snack

Healthy snack

It is possible to give kids healthy snacks that they will love to eat. Here are a few of the best snack ideas for kids, which beat pre-packaged crisps and chocolate:

Frozen Yogurt Pops

Yogurt pops are a perfect treat when the weather is warmer.

Low-fat and low-sugar yogurts can be put into moulds with a lolly stick and then set hard in the freezer. They taste just like ice cream treats but they are normally less sugary than shop-bought frozen treats. You can add an extra dimension to frozen yogurt bars by stirring in frozen berries before you set them to freeze.

The calcium from cow’s milk yogurt is great for helping to build strong bones and teeth in your children.

Dips and Vegetables

Vegetable sticks are really great for your children to snack on after school, especially when they are served with tasty dips like hummus.

Crunchy vegetables like pepper strips and carrot sticks are good choices, because they are strong enough to hold and dip without them starting to bend. Celery sticks are particularly good because their crescent shape means that they are able to pick up lots of dip.

Dips made with pureed beans (such as borlotti beans) and a few spices are really tasty and offer lots of essential vitamins. Small pots of dip and vegetables can also be packed into lunch boxes for your children to enjoy whilst they are at school.

Fruit Kebabs

Mixed fruit “kebabs” are a fun choice for children who are old enough to use kebab skewers safely. There are so many different fruits available that it is possible to make skewers which include every colour of the rainbow.

Making fruit kebabs can give children the opportunity to experiment with different colours and textures. The wide variety of fruits that you can use means that it is easier for you to get your children to eat all of the vitamins and minerals that they require, without needing to eat the same things every single day.

Although fruit kebabs are a great treat, they should not be consumed at every snack time, because some of the fruits that you use will be high in natural sugar. Although fruit sugar is not considered to be as bad as refined sugar, it can still be bad for their teeth. However, if you do want to give your children an occasional treat, you can put a light drizzle of melted chocolate over the kebabs before serving. Cool the kebabs for a few minutes after drizzling the chocolate on top to allow it to have time to set.

Baked Crisps

Your children can eat crisps sometimes, as long as they eat them in moderation. Banning foods altogether will only make them seem more appealing in the long run!

If you children are craving crisps, offer them baked options instead of the fried ones. Baked options usually contain far less saturated fat than normal crisps do. If you are good in the kitchen, you can also make your own baked crisps, including crisps from non-potato options.

Kale crisps are very popular for home-bakers, as they crisp up easily. Just give them a light spritz of oil and then bake them in the oven. Other “vegetable crisp” options include beetroot crisps or parsnip crisps. If you do want to try making your own baked crisps, you need to be able to slice the vegetables very thinly to allow them to bake well.

Mixed Seeds

Mixed seeds are an excellent choice for a light snack, because they tend to be very high in essential vitamins and minerals. A handful of seeds will often include the recommended daily intake of certain vital nutrients.

Mixed seeds are available in flavoured and non-flavoured choices. Although some of the flavoured options are delicious, you should always check the nutritional values before you buy them. For example, maple roasted seeds are available which may contain high levels of sugar, whereas soy-roasted seeds may be high in sodium.

If your children enjoy growing sunflowers, it can be great fun to harvest the seeds at the end of the season and then dry them out to eat them. Lightly toast the seeds in the oven before you eat them to help to produce a delicious flavour. Add a few spices if you want to try a different flavour.

Healthy Drinks for Kids

Keeping your children hydrated is very important, especially if they are very active.

Dehydration can be serious, especially for growing bodies, so it is important that you keep an eye on how much fluid your children consume during the day. As well as making sure that they are drinking regularly enough, you must also make sure that they are drinking the right things.

Certain drinks, such as fizzy drinks, should only be given to children as special treats, because these drinks can be very bad for children to consume regularly.

The Dangers of Fizzy Drinks

Fizzy drinks can actually cause serious health consequences for children if they are consumed in high volumes. They tend to be high in sugar, high in calories, and hold little-to-no nutritional benefits.

Many leading soft drinks also have a caffeine content which can alter the behaviour of young children. The high sugar content will lead to advanced tooth decay over time and can cause hyperactivity in many children. Excessive sugar consumption can also increase the risk of the child developing diabetes.

Consuming too many calories over the course of a day can also lead to childhood obesity. Obesity during childhood may cause lasting detrimental health effects. The calorie count in fizzy drinks can mean that calorie limits are reached after a few glasses.

Are Fruit Juices Good for Children?

Fruit juices are marginally better for children than traditional soda drinks are; however they are not the healthiest choice of drink for children.

Fresh fruit juices and fruit juices which are made from concentrate often have a high sugar content. When fruit is pulped, blended or juiced, it releases all of its natural sugar into a form which can increase the risk of tooth decay. When juice is swilled around the mouth, it coats the teeth with sugar which gradually eats away at the enamel on the teeth. On the other hand, fresh fruit juice is normally rich in essential vitamins and minerals. A 150ml glass of fresh fruit juice will count towards one of their 5 portions of fruit and vegetables per day. However, only one portion per day can come from juice because of the health risks that are associated with drinking it.

Consumers must also take care to look at the label of the product that they are buying, if they are intending to get fruit juice to drink for the health benefits. Some products which are labelled as “juice drink” actually contain only 10% fruit juice or less, and they are therefore not considered to count as one of the 5 portions of fruit and vegetables per day. I

f you do want to give your children fruit juice to drink, you should limit their consumption to one glass of juice a day after a meal. Drinking fruit juice with a meal can help to lessen the impact of the sugar within the drink.

Water

Plain water is one of the healthiest choices that you can give to your children to drink.

Water is great for rehydrating children, especially if they are playing sports or doing any other physically demanding activity. Cold water tastes great when you are thirsty, because it is so much more refreshing than a drink that contains a high sugar content. You should try to encourage your children to drink water when they are feeling thirsty and throughout the course of the day.

Many schools in the UK let children keep a bottle of water on their desk with them during school hours, because adequate hydration is known to help to boost concentration and improve learning.

healthy drinks

Healthy drinks

Milk

Cow’s milk is a perfect choice for your child, if they are able to drink it. Many children prefer the taste and creamy texture of milk to the flavour and texture of plain water. It is easy for them to drink milk whilst they are at home, although fresh milk should not be taken out and about because it needs to be kept refrigerated.

Young children should have whole milk, rather than skimmed or semi-skimmed milk. Whole milk is best for children between the ages of one and two because it contains vital nutrients which help children to grow. Lower fat options should not be considered for younger children, as they are not as beneficial for children of a young age. Skimmed milk options are not suitable for children under the age of 5.

Milk does not decay the teeth in the same way that fruit juice and fizzy drinks do. The calcium content of the drink is great for healthy teeth and bones. An adequate calcium intake is essential for growing children.

Variety

You don’t need to stick to one drink all of the time. Choosing a mixture of water, fruit juice and milk is likely to give your child a really healthy start to life.