A recipe for a healthy life

EAT WELL, DRINK WELL, SLEEP WELL, SAYS FIT­NESS EX­PERT

Llanelli Star - - FAMILY HEALTH - MICHELLE CHILDS

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.

EAT BREAK­FAST

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.

GET AC­TIVE

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.

SLEEP WELL

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

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