Maintaining a healthy diet
- Be kind to yourself – try your best to eat healthily
- If you’re having a day when you’ve eaten a little bit more or not moved so much see if you can think of one thing that has gone well e.g. you’ve tried a new food, made a new recipe, had water as your drink with your lunch and then start a fresh the next day
- Choose low energy drink choices – water is a fantastic choice (we tend to eat the same amount of food whatever we drink so changing from sugary drinks to sugar free choices should reduce our total energy intake)
- Remember to eat plenty of fruit and vegetables (fresh, frozen or tinned are all fine). Having half a plate of vegetables at main meals is a great way to help control your total energy intake whilst still allowing a satisfying plateful.
- Using smaller plates is a great way to help control the total amount you eat at a mealtime. It is far more satisfying eating from a full, smaller plate than a half empty larger plate – we typically then focus on the empty space rather than the food. Try to spread the food over the plate rather than piling it up too also helps to keep the amount in check
- Try to ensure you get enough sleep – if we don’t have enough sleep we may end up more tempted by less healthy food choices
- Looking to make changes – it can be helpful to focus on one change until it becomes a regular habit; after two to three weeks you could be ready to make another change
Advice to help with snacking
- Try to keep to your usual routines – a daily timetable including meal/snack times can be really helpful
- Try to always shop from a list to prevent too many treat foods ending up in your trolley/online basket
- Completing a weekly menu plan can really help ensure you buy what you need but also eat it without buying too many extras
- We tend to grab snacks that we can see or are easy to access. Try just having a bowl of fruit on your kitchen worktop - try to encourage everyone to choose from this at snack time.
- Think about where you store your treat foods – could they be on a higher/lower shelf or hidden behind healthier options so that they aren’t as easily accessible
- Always have a drink with a snack, water is the best choice. Remember children and adults often mistake thirst for hunger. For older children and adults try just having a drink with a distraction e.g. listening to music or an audiobook and then see if you still feel hungry a bit later on.
- Try to eat snacks sitting down at the table and without any distractions so you can appreciate what you are eating! If you eat in front of a screen you often eat far more than you intended.
Some ideas for children
A selection of chopped fruit or vegetables can make a far more appetising and exciting snack than a whole carrot/orange etc:
- Try preparing some chopped fruit or vegetable snacks early in the day to eat later when you are hungry. (Store in the fridge)
- Offering vegetables with a low-fat dip can also make this seem a more interesting snack
- You could try making fruit caterpillars or fruit kebabs as an activity like we do at conference – this can also be a great way to get children eating fruit. It can be amazing how much fruit is eaten whilst ‘playing’ with the fruit.
Homemade air-popped popcorn can be a great snack for older children – it can be served plain or with a sprinkle of salt or icing sugar. (NB. Popcorn is not a suitable snack for children under 5 years of age due to choking risk).
The following ideas have been shared in clinic or at BBS conference – have a look to see if any of these would work for you/your family too:
- Your child may be happy to accept a small portion of a snack more regularly e.g. having 3 to 5 small sweets daily.
- Putting the daily snack allowance out each morning e.g. in a box or basket. Once it is eaten no other snacks are offered. Remember to put some fruit in the basket too!
- Listing in a book the daily snack allowance and ticking when these foods have been eaten; allowing you to show your child what they’ve already been offered.
Healthy recipe ideas
Remember student recipes often use less ingredient than other recipes so may be a useful option.
Physical activity ideas for Adults
- Look on YouTube for ideas that match your age and fitness level e.g. Joe Wicks’ daily PE class https://youtu.be/OBdmt0IEFl4
- Professor Rachel Batterham (University College London) has produced a series of videos showing how people of different ages and abilities can stay fit at home during the Coronavirus outbreak all are available on YouTube as follows:
- Tell someone what activity you are planning to do and when as this can motivate you to actually do it!
- Think about whether there is someone else you can do the activity with - even if you can’t physically do the activity together perhaps you can virtually using Zoom, WhatsApp videocall or Facetime etc…
- Keep trying out new games, activities and workouts until you find something that works for you
Physical activity ideas for Children
- Children may respond better to playing games rather than formal exercise time – ideas include treasure hunts, dancing or try asking them about their favourite game at school to see if this can be done at home. Traditional games like hide and seek or what’s the time Mr Wolf are great options too.
- Any activity counts towards the daily 60 minute activity goal for school aged children
- Remember any activity is better than none and to do something that you enjoy!
- Ideas for younger children: Boogie Beebies (www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b006mvsc), the Disney inspired 10 minute shake ups (www.nhs.uk/10-minute-shake-up/shakeups) or dancing to a favourite song a couple of times can be a great way to build some active time into your day
- Active computer games count e.g. Just Dance, Wii Sports or any other actively participated in sport game on your chosen gaming platform.
Food Sources and shopping
If you or your child is on a special diet for a medical reason and struggling to get hold of suitable foods contact your dietitian for advice and support. The British Dietetic Association have produced a letter which could be sent to you which may help you access certain foods in a supermarket.
- Wiltshire Farm Foods (www.wiltshirefarmfoods) frozen ready meals – accepting new orders from anyone but have a priority helpline for extremely vulnerable
- Oakhouse foods (www.oakhousefoods.co.uk) frozen ready meals
- ParsleyBox (www.parsleybox.com) these meals do not need to be stored in a fridge or freezer.
Some of the meal recipe box companies are still accepting new customers – these vary in price and require you to prepare the meal so it is worth shopping around.
Food boxes are available from many supermarkets; these contain a variety of basics but you will not be able to choose the contents. If you get one of these boxes it can be helpful to make a meal plan when it arrives.
Some local shops and smaller supermarkets are offering delivery for loyal customers e.g. a local supermarket in Shropshire doesn’t have a formal delivery service but has set up a system where you phone in your order on specific days and it is delivered by volunteers. Many small local shops e.g. smaller supermarkets, butchers, local corner shops, farm shops are all offering a delivery service - check what is available in your local area. It can be useful to register with local community groups to access information about what is available to you locally
During the spring and summer months vitamin D is made by the action of sunlight on our skin – if it is safe for you to do so try and spend some time outside every day. (More information about how to get vitamin D from sunlight is available from www.nhs.uk/live-well/healthy-body/how-to-get-vitamin-d-from-sunlight/)
If you are housebound because you are isolating contact your GP or BBS team for some advice about whether you should take vitamin D and what is a suitable supplement for you.
Supplements for children
Information from an audit at GOSH showed that the children attending their service had a similar incidence of low vitamin D concentrations to the general UK population. In 2016 to 2017 they found 25% of their children required a vitamin D supplement which is very similar to results published in the National Diet and Nutrition Survey for 11 to 18-year olds nationally. An audit is in the process of being done to look at vitamin D supplementation in the GOSH service and will be available online soon.
Credits: Sarah Flack, Dietician, Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH)