America’s glamorous first lady, and mum-of-two, Michelle Obama has helped launch the Let’s Move campaign to tackle childhood obesity in the States.
"I love burgers and fries. I love ice cream and cake. We’re not talking about a lifestyle that excludes all that," Michelle said.
In particular the president's wife has been putting emphasis on the importance of balancing treats with a more responsible attitude to eating and activity.
And she has been pushing schools to offer healthier meals and food companies to label the nutritional value of their products more accurately.
"Let’s Move operates under the policy that every family wants the same for their kid," she continued. "So we’re going to figure out a way for them to get it."
And with those sentiments in mind, we’ve come up with our top ten favourite tips for ensuring children eat a little healthier, too...
• Smoothies made with berries liquidised with milk – reduced fat if they’re old enough – plus banana for thickness and a little honey for sweetness are a far healthier alternative to ice cream-filled milkshakes and give them some of their five a day.
• Mixing sparkling water with fruit juice tastes just as good without all the additives. Serve it with a straw to help protect their teeth from the juice’s natural sugars for an even healthier drink.
• Similarly, freeze juice to make ice lollies instead of buying sugar- and additive-filled brands from the shop.
• Sneak in extra veg where you can – mashed carrots or swede into mashed potato, for instance.
• If they like jelly and ice cream, add fruit to the jelly as you’re making it to give them an extra contribution to their five-a-day. Use the tinned variety, though, or the jelly may not set.
• Children often can’t be bothered with the faff of fruit so make it easy and turn it into a treat, cutting apples and pears into thin slices served with an egg cup of honey for them to dip into – like soldiers. Of course honey contains sugar and is calorific, but it’s a healthier alternative to sweets.
• Do the same with carrots and cucumber and an egg cup of houmous.
• Cereals marketed at children are notoriously packed with sugar, cocoa and additives that make them more palatable but less healthy. Serve porridge instead, again, sweetened with a little honey and cooled with milk at the table. Because it’s low on the glycaemic index, it helps fill them for longer so they’re less likely to snack mid-morning.
• Instead of crisps, toasted rye bread with a little peanut butter can satisfy a need for something crunchy and savoury and the peanut butter provides protein, iron and calcium. Cut the toast into bite-sized shapes so they feel more like crisps.
• Kids love rice – well it’s better than eating their greens! At least get them into the habit of eating brown rice from a young age, which has far greater nutritional value – especially in fibre – than white.