Making Healthy Happy For Children

*collaborative post*

 

Much like most parents, there is nothing more important to me than my children’s health and happiness. Having a son with Type 1 Diabetes means that I am really aware of the need to keep a healthy balance for the boys when it comes to diet and exercise.

 

However, I know a lot of people are always shocked to hear that someone with Type 1 Diabetes can eat the exact same foods as everyone else. There’s no need for special ‘diabetic’ foods, and just like anyone else he can eat anything … well, anything he will agree to eat anyway.

 

I want my children to be as healthy as possible and to eat as healthily as I can manage as well. However, I don’t want this to happen in a way that makes them unhappy. Yes, I do make them eat things that they don’t want to sometimes, as otherwise, no vegetables would ever cross their lips.

 

I do allow them treats as well. I would hate for them to end up sneaking food otherwise or suddenly eating non-stop junk when they get older with the allure of forbidden fruit … well not fruit, but you know what I mean. Food is a big part of life, and I want being healthy to still mean being happy for my children.

 

This is where the balance comes in, between what we eat and what we do physically.

 

We love a good picnic as a family, there’s something pretty special about being able to sit together and watch waves crashing against the cliffs, or listening to the sounds of small animals and birds in the woods. Having a picnic always means a long walk for us as well.

 

Having a picnic ready to eat at our destination, can make the walk seem a lot more worth it and fun to the boys.

 

Bedruthan Steps - Carnewas

 

Living in Cornwall, we really are spoilt for choice when it comes to picnic locations. I even like to have my own mini picnics sometimes, when I go for a walk with my camera. Just my camera, backpack and me. Pretty much as blissful as it sounds.

 

For the boys, when it comes to having healthy options, I stick to ‘normal’ food. I do however choose a healthier option of that type of food. The boys love yogurts, but it is alarming quite how many of the ingredients I often don’t recognise when reading the labels. They don’t really taste like yogurt, they taste like squidgy sugar to me.

 

I was pleased when Yeo Valley asked me to feature them in a post, as I hadn’t actually come across their children’s yogurts before. Although I eat the more grown up ones myself. I popped out and bought the four pack Little Yeos which are creamy Yogurt, some puréed fruit (real organic strawberry, raspberry, apricot or peach) and just a little bit of organic sugar.

 

Yeo Valley Yoghurts

 

Everything in the yogurts is organic and the label shows all ingredients that I actually understand what they are. I do like to know what I am giving to the boys.

 

Yeo Valley also sells natural and fruited fromage frais Little Yeos in a smaller portion size. Perfect for weaning, as they don’t have added refined sugar and are only made wth organic British milk. We bought the bigger, more grown up looking yogurts for the boys for school, and they actually taste like yogurt.

 

We make other small choices that the boys don’t really notice as well. Neither of them will eat wholemeal bread as they say it is too filling. They do however, love small bread wholemeal thins. Unlike vegetables, luckily they willingly scoff a lot of fruit. I love to have a rainbow of colour for them food wise, so long as those colours occur naturally of course!

 

Both are also big fans of chocolate topped rice cakes, which I find a much better alternative to chocolate or chocolate biscuits for a small treat. They do still eat chocolate etc, but when I can I do get them to eat an alternative. They see the rice cakes as a fun treat though, mostly as they know that I love them, and don’t children just always love stealing your food?

 

Picnic Lunch with Yeo Valley

 

I don’t worry too much about them having treats sometimes, as although I love them to keep things as natural as possible, they are so active that I feel it evens things out. Even when we are at home, they are always outside playing with their friends, unless it is raining a lot. Plus sometimes my eldest really does need a boost for his blood glucose levels.

 

Both of the boys love sports, one plays for the school football team and they are both always kicking a ball around. When we go out for family walks and picnics, often it turns into a fun race. A challenge to see who can get to the top of a huge hill first, to the sea first, or similar … a lot of pushing and shoving usually happens. I rarely win these days, their legs are getting too long for my little ones to keep up.

 

My Favourite Photo

 

We often also take a football with us on our walks, or tennis rackets, a rugby ball or something else to keep them amused. As beautiful as Cornwall is, they are so used to it that sometimes they need an extra incentive rather than the stunning views, to get them keen to come with us.

 

Sometimes, they bring their scooters if we’re going to the woods, which helps to keep them happy, even if it probably ruins the tranquility for the people around us.

 

This is always a good exercise for us as well, trying to keep up with them!

 

The boys riding their scooters

 

I never claim to be a perfect parent, I worry sometimes that they do eat too many sweets or treats. However, like any parent, I do my best to keep them healthy, keep them happy and find that balance for them.

 

If you would like to try and get your own children a little more active, or eating a little more healthily, then here’s my little list of tips that you could try. Or you can completely ignore me, I won’t be offended!

 

Make gradual changes to their diet

 

If you suddenly try to make them eat more healthily all at once, then you could meet some heavy resistance. Instead gradually switching to brands with fewer additives and less refined sugar, can help.

 

Being a bit sneaky helps as well, extra vegetables cut up into very small pieces can be easily sneaked into casseroles, other dishes and even gravy. Try one change at a time, they are much less likely to notice.

 

Go on more picnics

 

I don’t know anyone who doesn’t love a good picnic. Going on a picnic is a good excuse for a long walk as a family, and even if you don’t walk far, fresh air can do you all the world of good.

 

You can also take something to play with on a picnic. Why not re-enact your own schooldays, with a family game of rounders or cricket? Or go on the swings with the children, and race to see who can go the highest.

 

Get competitive

 

This might sound odd, but in our family, a hint of competition can lead to a lot more activity on a walk or in other ways. This can be a race to get to a certain point, a race to see who can tidy their toys the quickest, or even a race to see who can do 20 star jumps the fastest.

 

The element of competition and racing will get children (and you!) doing things more quickly. The quicker they move, the faster that heart rate will be going. Also, exercise produces endorphins for a bit of a feel good factor.

 

Play Follow the Leader

 

Or ‘I can do what you do’, or whatever you wish to call it. I have always played a game with my own children, where we take it in turn to be the leader. The leader does all sorts of random things, from 5 sit-ups or 20 star jumps to pretending to be an elephant with a trunk, who has the hiccups. It really does get that random in our home.

 

It’s just a really fun way to get everyone in the house moving around. We’ve always ended up in hysterics whenever we have played it.

 

Basically to me eating a little more healthily + exercise + endorphins = happy, healthier children. Which has to be a good thing.

 

Do you have any tricks for getting children to be more active or any sneaky ways that you get more vegetables into children who think they are on par with rat poison?

 

Stevie x

Sponsored post, but all thoughts and opinions are as ever my own and honest.
Share:

19 Comments

  1. 14 October 2016 / 7:42 am

    Your so lucky living in cornwall its a lovely place :)

  2. 14 October 2016 / 9:11 am

    I hide vegetables in tomato sauce by pureeing it. but i also just get them to have a small amount of foods that they are not keen on to keep them used to the idea that they can cope with foods they don’t love and it won’t hurt them. I do think diet is very important and like you said small changes make a big difference, we don’t want them to feel deprived. #picknmix

  3. 14 October 2016 / 10:32 am

    It sounds like you are striking a great balance in getting your family on board with healthy eating and exercise. All that Cornish sea air would give anyone an appetite :-)
    I try to buy as few processed foods as I can. That way I can control what I add to the food rather than being at the mercy of the manufacturer.
    #PicknMix

  4. 14 October 2016 / 10:36 am

    I like your way of integrating healthy diet into family life..I am also making small steps, since my son is not a fan of vegetables at all. With my daughter on the other hand, there’s no problem at all. Sometimes it seems she is eating healthier than me!;) We as parents have to get a bit creative, consistent and not agressive..at least that’s what I think:)
    #PicknMix

  5. 14 October 2016 / 11:01 am

    Ah I lack inspiration sometimes. I do try and provide healthy food for the fam but do seem to lack inspiration from time to time.We’re big fans of the little yeo yoghurts though – a hit with everyone! #picknmix

  6. 14 October 2016 / 12:29 pm

    You’ll know my thoughts on a healthy diet and what Type 1’s can and cannot eat ;) I think a condition like Type 1 really brings diet to the forefront. As you count carbs you are really noticing what you are eating, and can become quite fixated on the level of junk you consume – or in your case your son. Just because we CAN eat anything anyone else does doesn’t mean we SHOULD. I try to balance my meals out with some exercise. I’m no gym bunny but I try to stay active. These are some fab ideas for staying active with the kids! #picknmix

  7. 14 October 2016 / 1:26 pm

    I didn’t know they did children’s yoghurts, I will have to look out for them. Like you I eat the adult ones. We love a picnic and my girls love the thins too, they are perfect for children. We try and go outdoors as much as possible, even just in the garden for a bounce on the trampoline after school. x

  8. 14 October 2016 / 2:52 pm

    I love going on a big walk then sitting down to a picnic and thankfully so do the kids. Balance is definitely the key when it comes to eating healthy and as long as the kids are active and still eating the right amounts of good foods I don’t see any harm at all in them having treats.
    #Picknmix

  9. 14 October 2016 / 6:27 pm

    I love this post. It’s so refreshing to read an honest post. It’s so easy to relate too and really comes across so friendly. I too, don’t claim to be the best mum ever who has the most amazing diet for my children BUT I do keep tabs on what she eats (being 21 months old, I am still the main person contributing to her diet but I do like to give her a choice). I like how you offer healthy alternatives to certain foods, and picnics are a great idea! #picknmix

  10. 14 October 2016 / 7:35 pm

    That looks great! I’ll give them a go for Amelia and see how she gets on :) #picknmix

  11. 14 October 2016 / 8:03 pm

    We do the competitive thing in our house too. Hubby and I have always been competitive and my eldest is doing her first ParkRun tomorrow. Love the picnic photos!
    Nat.x

  12. 14 October 2016 / 9:07 pm

    I think, everything in moderation is the way forward. I allow my daughter to have treats from time to time so that she doesn’t get food hang-ups, and actually half the time, she leaves them – opting for fruit instead! Keep up the good work #picknmix

  13. 14 October 2016 / 9:59 pm

    There are lots of great tips in here. You sound like you’ve got a really good balanced approach. We are big Yeo Valley fans in our house. We try to eat just organic meat and dairy. It’s so much better for the animals and in turn us. We are huge fans of their yogurts. Papa Ginge loves the strawberry, he must eat 8 a week and I like the natural yogurt topped with flaxseed and fruit. We get Lena the fromage frais and little pots. So much better than the other low fat yogurts etc filled with sugar.

  14. 15 October 2016 / 12:00 am

    I need to make a menu plan for my kids and plan healthier.

  15. 15 October 2016 / 7:42 am

    I know that getting out and having long walks is something we desperately need to do more of. Food wise we’ve got it down, I hide vegetables in everything! Thank you for the inspiration! x #picnmix

  16. 15 October 2016 / 5:41 pm

    I love the look of these – we love the big tubs of yoghurt and a smaller version for the lunchboxes would be ideal. Your pics of Cornwall are stunning! Thank you for hosting #picknmix xx

  17. 16 October 2016 / 8:53 am

    I used the little yep valley yogurts when I was weaning Leo, he loved them. Such beautiful pictures of Cornwall and it sounds like you all have lots of fun being active and messing around. xx #picknmix

  18. 20 October 2016 / 12:10 pm

    I think as long as you feed them as healthily as possible for 90% of the time there’s nothing wrong with some ‘naughty’ treats from time to time! #picknmix

  19. 20 October 2016 / 10:28 pm

    First off, love the grass! I haven’t tried these yoghurts with the boys but I will now. They also like the thins and picnics. I’m lucky that they are both active and eat fairly healthily but it is something we talk to them about too. x

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *