It is important to encourage breakfast. A good night's
sleep followed by food in the morning helps your child
to stay active and concentrate at school. It also
means your child is less likely to be too hungry during
the morning. Be a role model and let your child see
you eat breakfast too. A bowl of cereal with milk
and fresh or stewed fruit is a great starter for the
While some schools have a canteen, without some help the
food your child chooses may be high in cost and energy but
low in nutrients. An alternative is a packed lunch from
home, which is a great way for your child to learn about
healthy food and help with preparation. Lunch box suggestions
or pitta bread with cheese, lean meat, hummus or peanut
butter and salad
slices, crackers with spread and fresh fruit
and cut up raw vegetables or fresh fruits
water bottle or tetra pack of milk, particularly in hot
processed, sugary, fatty and salty foods should only make
up a very small part of your child's diet. Foods to limit
in everyday school lunches include:
lunches - foods to limit
meats such as salami, pressed chicken and strasbourg
sweet biscuits, and muesli bars and breakfast bars
bars and fruit straps
sweetened juices and soft drinks
and peer pressure
Peer pressure to eat particular 'trendy' foods at this age
is strong. Let your child eat these kinds of foods occasionally,
such as at parties, special events or when the rest of the
family enjoys them. It's best to limit the amount of money
children are given to spend at school or on the way home.
The occasional lolly, bag of chips or takeaway food doesn't
do any harm. However, if they are eaten too often you might
enough nourishing foods are eaten.
child is becoming overweight or obese.
spending a lot of money - it's much cheaper to provide
homemade snacks and lunches.
missing a chance to teach your child about healthy
For schoolchildren, family mealtimes are a chance to share
and talk about the day's activities and events. The evening
meal together is an important time to do this.
of this age may have swings in appetite depending on activity
levels, so allow them to choose how much they need to eat
while offering a wide variety of healthy foods. Some children
only eat small amounts at the evening meal, so make sure
that the afternoon snack is nutritious, not just high in
energy. Some suggestions of possible snacks include: a sandwich
with a glass of milk, cereal and fruit, or a bowl of soup
and toast. Family mealtime suggestions include:
talk and sharing of daytime activities.
distractions such as the television, radio or the telephone.
your child decide when they are full - don't argue about
children to help with preparing meals and shopping.
some simple nutrition such as 'milk keeps your bones strong'.
activity is an important part of good health. Try to encourage
your child to do something active each day, such as a hobby,
play a game or be involved in sport. Some parents may also
worry about their child's weight, so, to increase activity,
Children should be encouraged to drink plain water. Sweet
drinks such as cordials or sweetened fruit juice are not
needed for a healthy diet and aren't recommended.
the amount of time spent watching television for the whole
something physical and active together.
and watch your child play sports.
daily activity, not just exercise.
the car less - that means everyone!
tips for school aged children
Children need a variety of different foods each day.
Snacks are an important part of a healthy diet for active
snacks nutritious, not just high in energy.
to share meals as a family.
talking and sharing the day's happenings at mealtimes.
children tell you when they're full.
lunch from home.
children help with food preparation and meal planning.
physical activities for the whole family.
children to drink plain water.
Colourful and crunchy fruit and vegetables can be an enjoyable
part of your child's life. Most babies eat fruit and vegetables
as one of their first solid foods. After the first year,
you may notice your children become fussier as they become
more independent eaters. Often this fussiness may include
an unwillingness to eat fruit and vegetables.
start to eat less fruit and vegetables from time to time,
this may worry parents, but usually it causes no harm. It
is not possible to force children to eat more fruit and
vegetables. The best way is to set a good example for them.
If you eat and enjoy fruit and vegetables every day, your
children may eventually follow your lead. It may take time,
but this is how children learn best. So keep trying.
of fruit and vegetable consumption
high levels of vitamins, minerals, nutrients, fibre
and antioxidants, all essentials in the efficient
functioning of the body.
been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease,
stroke and cancer by up to 20%.
incidence of asthma, diabetes, colds and flus.
the overall quality of the diet through eating healthily,
which helps to reduce the risk of obesity.
Improve sleeping patterns leading to better concentration
Here are some delicious and nutritious fruit and veg recipes
from Bord Bia:
for recipes from the Irish Heart Foundation visit www.irishheart.ie
and click on ‘Recipes’.