COOKIES ON Westmeath Examiner

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Whelehans Pharmacy: Back to School nutrition

Tuesday, 12th September, 2017 12:00am

Whelehans Pharmacy: Back to School nutrition

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Back to School nutrition
With children going back to school everyone will benefit from getting back into a good routine. It is time to prioritise healthy meals and get plenty of sleep to ensure that we are all working to the best of our ability. During the holidays some days are just survival with quick unhealthy food choices but everyone thrives from a good routine.

It is very important that we all eat a good nutritious breakfast. It would be beneficial if families could eat this meal together although this is not always practical. Parents should educate their children in the importance of good food choices as early as possible and about the importance of breakfast – their breakfast should be filling and nutritious. Porridge and Weetabix are two good breakfast cereals as they are low in sugar and fat and high in fibre, protein and gives slow release energy from the carbohydrates. Eggs are also a great choice as they are filling and high in protein – eaten with a couple of slices of wholemeal bread, this breakfast will provide all nutrients your children require.

Children who bring packed lunches usually eat at first break and lunch time so they should have food that can be eaten over the two breaks. Sandwiches or wraps with a protein source such as ham or chicken and salad would be preferable. Fruit is full of vitamins which is good for the immune system and needed for the winter months. It would be preferable for your child to get 8 to 10 portions of fruit, salad and vegetables a day. Nuts are a great snack and they give a source of good fats for brain function and memory. Your children should like the food in their lunch box so talk to your children about healthy food choices and the energy good food provides. If your child is in secondary school, talk to them about the food choices provided by their school and help them to choose better options for nutrition and fullness.

Often children have their dinner when they get in from school and sometimes they end up having two dinners as they can be hungry again long before bedtime. Look at how your family eats in the evening and perhaps children could have a snack of beans on toast or soup and pasta when they get home and all the family could eat their main evening meal together. Sometimes an early dinner leads to unhealthy snacking later in the evening and a higher calorie intake than the healthy snack would provide when they get in from school. Portion size should be controlled at dinner times and sugary snacks should be limited as there is little nutrition from this type of food. Lead by example with healthy food choices and your children will thrive from good nourishment.

If you would like help getting into healthier eating habits or to lose weight contact Caroline Masters, Nutritional Therapist, Whelehans Pharmacy, Pearse Street on 086 3994615 or 044 9334591 or at





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