Useful articles on a variety of family topics including hydration, fussy eaters and exercise
One of the best nutrition tips we can pass onto our children is to encourage them to drink more water. Staying hydrated is essential to good health and should be encouraged at school and at home. 6-8 glasses a day is a good goal for most children.
To boost the appeal of water without adding sugary cordial or additional calories try the following Cooking Good tips:
- Make fancy ice cubes - find fun ice cube trays for star wars fans, lego lovers and funky star or love hearts. Good old rectangular ice cubes can be made more interesting by adding berries, fresh mint, a lemon slice etc for a hint of flavour and burst of colour.
- Fruit garnish - Drop sliced fruits, cucumber, mint or berries directly into your water jug or try the water infuser bottles.
- Look out for fun re-useable water bottles that measure their intake.
- Do a family water challenge - be a good role model and don't buy sugary drinks for at home. Always have water only with meals.
- Have the toilet chat - kids love toilet humour! Explain that dark urine is a sign they need to drink more water and lighter urine is a sign there are better hydrated.
Snack Attack - Healthy Snack Ideas
Ever noticed how some days your little one's demands for snacks are never ending!! Here at Cooking Good we want to encourage children's participation in meal prepping and the enjoyment of new recipes so hopefully snacking will be reduced. When school holidays come around however, the need to have some healthy snack ideas up your sleeve really will be useful!
Try some of the following ideas to keep on track with health eating and introduce your kids to new tastes and textures:
1. Apple slices with nut butter dip
2. Celery and cream cheese.
3. Hummus and cucumber sticks.
4. Hard boiled eggs.
5. Apple slices with cheddar cheese.
6. Home made popcorn with a light sprinkling of icing sugar or cinnamon
7. Sliced pears with cream cheese
8. Banana and Blueberry muffin - see Cooking Good recipe
9. Plain yogurt with honey
10. Veggie pitta pocket - mini wholemeal pitta stuffed with grated carrot, lettuce & cucumber
11. Fruit smoothie made with frozen fruit and milk
12. Turkey and cream cheese roll up
Healthy Breakfasts - An alternative to sugary cereals
Ever wondered why breakfast cereals dominate an entire aisle of the supermarket? They provide a quick, attractive and easy breakfast solution for hungry kids and busy parents. They are sold as a healthy option and the colourful boxes highlight the goodness of essential fibre, whole grains and vitamins. What cereal company's often keep quiet about however, is how laden the cereals are with sugar and as a result how hungry children can be soon after eating them!
To help you with cereal aisle confusion Cooking Good aim to encourage children and parents to try out some other breakfast options found in our recipe section. Try making your own granola for example where you know exactly what is inside, or prepare our mini frittatas the night before so you have a filling and nutritious breakfast waiting for you. Other non-cereal breakfast ideas include the following which we hope you will try a few times a week to break the sugary cereal habit and try out healthy and fun alternatives
1. Soft boiled eggs and wholemeal marmite soldiers.
2. Mini frittatas - see the Cooking Good recipe.
3. Porridge - see the Cooking Good recipe with plenty of healthy topping suggestions.
4. Mushroom & cheese omelette.
5. Greek yogurt with mixed berried and seeds.
6. Peanut butter on wholemeal toast and fresh raspberries.
7. Scrambled eggs with avocado on wholemeal toast.
8. Breakfast smoothies with frozen fruits and oats to keep you fuller for longer.
9. Easy banana pancakes - see Cooking Good recipe
10. Banana and blueberry muffins - see Cooking Good recipe.
Savvy Shopping - Tips for making your weekly food budget go further.
There is no denying that food shopping is expensive. Being healthy and cooking meals from scratch can seem off-putting if the cost of ingredients eat too heavily into your budget. Cooking Good have ensured our carefully selected recipes keep things simple and cost effective. They are based on family classics that are nutritious, easy to put together and don't include a long list of pricey and difficult to get hold of ingredients.
See below our top tips for making your weekly food budget stretch that little bit further and help support you in your healthy eating journey. We would love to hear what you think and welcome additional suggestions as you work your way through our recipes.
1. Make double! Many of the Cooking Good recipes can be made in bulk to freeze for another day. Pound shops stock great stackable containers for the fridge and freezer.
2. Meal plan - Try downloading the Cooking Good meal plan from the Resources section to help you plan ahead and get organised.
3. Make a shopping list - once you've planned your meals for the week shopping lists are more straight forward. It saves duplication and going off track.
4. Check online prices. Not everything is cheaper online but shopping online certainly avoids any temptation from extras.
5. Buy shop branded goods. Usually much cheaper and very difficult to tell the difference. Put cereals in re-useable containers etc for the more fussy consumers.
6. Never go shopping hungry! Always eat before you go.
7. Pay with cash. The danger of always using cards means it is easier to go over budget.
Why Exercise is So Important
According to the NHS children up to the age of 18yrs need a minimum of 60mins physical activity each day. This can range from moderate activity such as playing on a playground or cycling, to more active exercise such as running. Children and young people should also try to reduce the amount of time sat watching TV, playing computer games or time spent in the car.
Being active for at least 60mins per day is linked with better general health, stronger bones & muscles, and better self-esteem & mental well-being.
Fun exercise ideas to try at home include:
- Kitchen disco - put your favourite music on and dance around kitchen whilst preparing your favourite Cooking Good recipes!
- Walking - ditch the car or park a bit further from school and walk - nothing beats fresh air to make you feel good.
- Yoga - try some free family yoga websites such as www.cosmickids.com and have fun as you move and stretch.
- Hula Hooping
- Ball games
- Create obstacle courses at your local park with boxes and ropes and set the timer
- Follow the leader - add to the movement with energetic movement such as squatting, lunging and jumping.
- Clean up race - who can tidy rooms the fastest!
- Hop scotch - use chalk or tape outside
Tips to encourage fussy eaters - Help is at hand!
If you have fussy eater's on your hands please don't despair! We have put together a helpful tip list that will hopefully support and gently encourage your children to broaden their tastes and try a wider range of healthy foods.
- Remember that fussy stages are normal.
- Involve your child in food buying and food preparation - many of the Cooking Good recipes are designed to do just that!
- Make food fun - think about the presentation and colour.
- Repeat offerings - evidence shows that it can take up to 15 times before children accept certain foods.
- Serve small portions of new foods at the same time as foods they like.
- Praise and encourage for giving new foods a try - try the Cooking Good sticker charts and see how many Eat the Rainbow fruit and vegetables you can try in a week!
- Introduce your child to as many different foods as you can, as early as you can - remember though it is never too late!
- Hide your frustrations and praise positively when they try new foods, however small.
- Rewards can be motivational - make these non food related such as playing a favourite games after dinner or extra long bath time etc.
- Make food interactive and fun- Cooking Good recipes are aimed at the whole family to join in with!
- Learn where food comes from - Story books or a day out at the local farm really help excite children about food.
- Be a good role model and eat the food you want your children to eat, together.
- Sneak in veggies into recipes by cutting/grating small.