A recipe for a healthy life
EAT WELL, DRINK WELL, SLEEP WELL, SAYS FITNESS EXPERT
THE British Nutrition Foundation (BNF) set five goals for its recent Healthy Eating Week: Eat breakfast; eat five portions of fruit and vegetables a day; drink plenty of low-calorie, low-sugar nonalcoholic drinks; get active, and sleep well.
Your family may have slipped out of the habit of eating a healthy breakfast every day, or your water intake may be less than it should be.
Now’s the time to take stock and find some simple ways to improve your family’s health.
OFTEN hailed as the most important meal of the day, a huge number of us regularly skip the first meal of the day.
A good breakfast is vital to set you up for the day ahead and ensure you have enough energy to make it through to lunchtime without snacking.
It’s also extremely important for enabling your children to concentrate and learn well at school.
Why not make a point of sitting down as a family and enjoying breakfast together?
If you find you’re always rushing in the morning, make overnight oats the night before. You can even put it in a Tupperware for eating on the go (or at your desk)!
Choosing a breakfast high in wholegrain, high fibre and protein will ensure tummies feel fuller for longer and our bodies are prepared for the day ahead. Try to stay away from sugary cereals as you’ll be hungry in no time and could end up snacking more.
Breakfast is a good way to get the first of your five a day – whether that’s a glass of juice, beans on toast or fruit on your porridge.
EAT YOUR FIVE A DAY
EATING five portions of fruit and vegetables a day is one of the easiest of the BNF’s challenges to meet.
A couple of pieces of fruit, and vegetables with every meal, will ensure you and the kids are enjoying nutritional benefits.
It’s also important to remember to include a variety of vegetables and fruit so that your bodies are provided with different vitamins. Aim to ‘eat the rainbow’ and you’ll get everything you need to stay healthy.
Why not set a challenge to see how many different-coloured fruit and veg you can eat in one week?
DRINK MORE WATER
DRINKING water is one of the easiest things to fall short on when we’re busy. But it’s vital that we all – no matter what our age – drink six to eight cups of water every day.
Our bodies are made up of about 60% water. It helps us keep the correct body temperature, digest our food, pump blood round our body and transport vitamins and minerals to where they need to be.
Dehydration – not drinking enough – causes headaches, tiredness, irritability and the inability to concentrate. So, it’s important to keep topped up throughout the day.
If it’s difficult to stay on top of how much you’ve drunk, keep a water bottle with you. There are hundreds of refillable bottles to choose from, with some designed to keep your water ice cold for 24 hours and others that have a handy guide so you can measure how much you’ve drunk.
Likewise, if your kids struggle to drink enough, make it fun. It could be a novelty cup, sugar-free concentrate or even adding fruit slices to flavour their water – let them pick their own mix of fruit so they feel really involved.
THE Government recommends adults do 150 minutes of movement each week. Kids need to be doing an hour a day.
If you take a look at the past week or so – do you meet this target? If not, don’t worry! It’s actually pretty easy to change things for the better. If you’re busy you can cut those time targets into blocks of 10 minutes at a time.
Walk the kids to school (at a decent pace). Use the stairs instead of the lift, or take a lunchtime stroll. If you have time, try a fitness session or two.
If your kids spend more time at their desks or computers than you would like, why not set them a target to move around more, especially at the weekend? A swimming session or trip to the park is a nice way to move more together.
A GOOD night’s sleep is essential for your body to relax, recover and repair. Adults need eight hours of sleep a night, with children needing considerably more. Clearly, this is easier said than done, especially with younger children.
A regular bedtime routine isn’t only beneficial for children, it prepares anybody for a good night’s rest. Going out for an evening stroll, doing some relaxation exercises, turning off screens half an hour before sleep or listening to an audiobook/podcast are all ways to wind down. Keep to the same routine each night to see the maximum benefit.
These targets are easily achievable, and just as easily missed. Why not use this week to look at which areas need work for you and your family, then try to change them over the next few months?
Michelle Childs, is Head of Health Development at Life Leisure (lifeleisure.net)
Eat the rainbow – try to make your five a day as colourful as possible
Keeping active is key, and a trip to the park would be good for the whole family
A healthy, nutritious, breakfast, above, will keep you going all morning and be sure to stay hydrated