(This is written using the guidance from the British Nutrition Foundation)
The importance of a healthy and varied diet...
Healthy eating is important for everyone, especially children, to ensure that they receive all the nutrients they need to grow and develop. Eating well and being physically active will improve your children’s health as well as their ability to learn and achieve at school. Encouraging your children to eat healthily now will make them more likely to adopt a healthy lifestyle as they get older.
What does healthy eating mean in practice?
In practice, eating healthily means encouraging you children to:
The need for a healthy breakfast
Breakfast is important to top up children’s energy stores for the morning’s activities. Children who eat a healthy breakfast are less likely to snack on foods that are high in fat and/or sugar later on and tend to concentrate and perform better at school.
The best drinks between meals are milk and water as these do not harm teeth. Drinks that contain sugar (e.g. fruit squash, flavoured milk, fruit juice, carbonated drinks) are best kept to mealtimes. Regular visits to the dentist and brushing teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste will help keep children’s teeth healthy. Carbonated drinks are not permitted in school. Water is the drink of choice!
Snack foods, such as cakes, biscuits, crisps, chocolate and sweets, can be high in fat and/or sugar and should make up a relatively small part of the diet. These are kept to a minimum in school. Snacks should complement other meals, so select healthier options by thinking about the foods that your children eat at mealtimes. Ideas for healthier snacks for children: Fruit (e.g. bananas, grapes, strawberries), Vegetables (e.g. baby carrots, cherry tomatoes)
At Greenfield we have a NO NUT policy as some of our children have an intolerance. This covers all biscuit/bars and sandwich spreads.
Do children need a vitamin supplement?
A varied and balanced diet will provide all the vitamins and minerals that children need.
Encouraging physical activity
Being physically active will help children to stay healthy and fit. Encourage them to participate in a wide variety of activities such as cycling, skateboarding, walking, swimming and dancing.
Healthy hot lunches in school
Our school meal provider is AIP. All food is pre-ordered through a local high school and there is a good variety-including Vegetarian options.
Your child may prefer a packed lunch. Here is some guidance on what to put in a healthy lunch box-from NHS choices:
School meals are a great choice for your child, but if you choose to make a packed lunch for them instead here are some tips for preparing a healthier lunchbox.
What to include in your child's lunchbox
A healthier lunchbox should:
The Eatwell Guide shows you how to have a healthy balanced diet and can help you decide what to put in your child's lunchbox.
Find healthy lunchbox ideas at Change4Life.
Healthier breaktime snacks
Children often like food they can eat with their fingers. Try these ideas:
Dried fruit is not recommended as a snack between meals as it's high in sugar and can be bad for teeth, but it's OK when eaten as part of a meal.
Try these ideas for healthy food swaps.
More healthy lunchbox tips
It may take a while for your child to get used to a healthier lunchbox but keep trying. These tips may help: