Keeping Kids Healthy Over The Holidays.


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Keeping Kids Healthy Over The Holidays.

School holidays are near and for busy parents this means that there are many hours of kids entertainment required. With an abundance of food around, it can also be a time when our kids are not so healthy, munching on extra high calorie foods and spending a lot more time on screens than we would ideally like them too. 

So if you are a little worried about the health of your kids over the long holiday break, here are some ideas on helping the entire family as healthy as possible over the holidays.

1. Keep only healthy snacks on hand

Parents are often surprised when kids eat all of the chips, biscuits and snack bars they buy but the reality is that kids (and adults) will eat whatever food is available so if you do not want your kids eating so much processed food, stop buying it. Rather keep only an array of healthy snacks – fresh fruit, yoghurt, cheese and wholegrain crackers on hand, and commit to spending some time each week making some homemade banana bread or muffins so there is always healthy snacks on hand. Or even better, get the kids to help you, or bake their own healthy snacks to enjoy over Summer.

2. Get the kids in the kitchen

The holiday period is a great time to start to involved the kids, especially older kids in some family food preparation. Start with a little home baking, or snack preparation before moving to easy child friendly meals such as tacos, homemade pizza or pancakes (see below for my favourite Banana Nut Pancake recipe!). One of my favourite options that the kids love making are yoghurt or choc dipped banana pops. Simply chop bananas in 1/2, add a stick, dip in yoghurt or chocolate and freeze. An instant homemade ice-cream. 

3. Eat in more often

The more we eat out, the more calories we will consume and the more likely it is that we will be tempted by extras – the ice-creams, snacks and fast food that are advertised and picked up easily at holiday locations and shopping centres. Avoid this mindless extra consumption by eating at home more often, or at least packing healthy snacks such as bananas, or protein bites before you leave. Then a small treat will be more appreciated and every ones nutrition will be improved overall. 

4. Limit screen time

The only way you can control small children’s screen time is to actively limit the number of hours they are allowed to tune in. As a rule of thumb, primary school aged children and younger should watch no more than 2 hours of screens per day. Once the screens are off your kids will naturally be a lot more active than when they are glued for hours in front of an iPad or TV.

5. Make activity a daily occurrence

In the holidays activity should be the default not an occasional thing. A trip to the park or beach, scheduled play dates and inexpensive adventures to local museums, pools and national parks mean that everyone is out of the house and outdoors which will always be a whole lot healthier than anything that involves shopping centres, the movies or even being bored at home stuck in front of a screen. 

Recipe: Banana Nut Pancakes

 

Banana Ricotta Pancakes2

Serves 2

Ingredients

1 cup cooked quinoa

4 egg whites

½ cup low fat milk

½ tsp. vanilla essence

2 tsp. brown sugar

1 banana, sliced

½ cup chopped walnuts

½ cup Greek yoghurt

1 tsp. maple syrup

Method

1. Whisk quinoa with egg whites, milk, brown sugar, vanilla and ¼ banana.

2. Spray fry pan with canola spray and divide batter into 3 pancakes. Cook each pancake for 3 minutes each side.

3. Serve with ¼ cup Greek yoghurt, a sprinkle of walnuts and a drizzle of maple syrup.

Susie is currently a brand ambassador for Australian Bananas. To learn more about the partnership, click here.

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