Happy New Year!
At the start of a new year, many people start to think about the excesses of the festive season and how to make some healthier changes. It’s also a great time to not only look at your own eating habits but also your children’s approach to food. According to Public Health England, approximately 15,000 reception aged children are classed as obese, rising to 22,000 by the time they reach their final year of primary school. As parents are often the ones in charge of what goes on their plate or in their lunchbox, we have a real responsibility to help our children make positive relationships with healthy foods that can last a lifetime. Schools and nurseries also have a role to play here: at Overton’s Preschool’s recent OFSTED visit, the inspector was particularly impressed by the children growing and harvesting vegetables, contributing to being rated “Outstanding”.
I’ve often fallen victim to a lack of planning and the morning panic means it feels much easier to just chuck in a packet of crisps, the same old sandwich and whatever cereal bar I can find in the back of the cupboard. However with a bit of easy prep, we can make some healthy and delicious meals that even the pickiest child would find hard to resist!
1. Protein power! Protein is vital in helping children grow while also filling them up. Mini quiches can be made with eggs, cheese, ham and any veggies like peppers, broccoli or spinach. Just whisk the eggs and add the extras, then pour the mixture into a lined muffin tray and bake til golden on top and cooked through.
2. Super salads! Pasta salads can give lots of energy to help them through the school day, and a great way to pack in those colourful veggies. Add a dollop of pesto and a swirl of cream cheese, then chop in some cherry tomatoes, cooked peas, courgettes or mange tout.
3. Fun fruit! If you often find a rather sad looking apple or pear left behind in the lunch box at the end of the day, you’re not alone. Generally kids love fruit presented in new ways, so why not chop it up and stick it on a cocktail stick to make fruity kebabs? Or buy frozen berries and pop a few in a little Tupperware pot- they will be defrosted by lunchtime. Homemade smoothies can also be a great swap for sugary squash.
4. Ask around! Here’s some yummy ideas from a few local mums:
- Little Oat Pancakes (1 egg, oats, yogurt, bit of flour) – then add fruit and cinnamon, or cheese and veg. Alternatively grated carrot, raisins and and honey for carrot cakey ones.
- use cookie cutters to make sandwiches fun shapes
- stuff mini peppers with ham or cheese
- look on Instagram or Pintrest for new ideas
Good luck with all those New Year Resolutions!