5 a day

Did your kids get their five portions of fruit and veg today?

It seems many of us, including children, may not be reaching the 5-a-day target.

When you break it down, it’s not all that hard to get to the number five, especially when fresh, frozen, dried,  canned and juiced fruits and vegetables all count. Not only that, but one portion is just a handful, meaning we all get the correct sized portion needed to deliver the vital vitamins and mineral our bodies use to keep us healthy.

You can find out more about 5 a day with our 5 things to know about 5 a day (PDF File, 714kb) or by visiting Change4Life and NHS Live Well.

Why not set yourself a challenge to plan your lunchboxes and see if you can get two of your five portions in? You could include:

  • 150ml of fruit juice
  • 1 tablespoon of raisins
  • A bowl of salad
  • A sandwich with salad included
  • A handful of grapes
  • A handful of vegetable crisps
  • Sticks of cucumber, pepper and carrot (80g total)
  • 3 tablespoons of hummus

To keep the kids healthy use our Lunch box ideas (PDF File, 615kb) for information on packing a lunch with a nutritional punch and also plan the kids lunches in advance with the 4 week lunch box planner (PDF File, 81kb).

Top tips for healthy eating

Sugar swaps

Swapping sugary snacks and drinks for ones that are lower in sugar can make a huge difference to kids’ calorie intake. Not only that, but it’s better for their teeth too.

Here are a few ideas on what to swap:

  • Swap to water, semi-skimmed milk (but remember children under 2 need full-fat milk)
  • Swap to diluted fresh fruit juice instead of drinks with added sugar like cola or squash.
  • Switch to snacks like fresh or dried fruit, breadsticks and unsalted nuts instead of sweets or biscuits.
  • Swap to plain cereals, porridge, fruit or toast instead of cereals with lots of sugar.
  • Switch to plain yoghurt with fresh fruit instead of sugary yoghurts

Me size meals

Even though they’re growing, it’s important to make sure kids get just the right amount for their age – not too little and not too much.

So here are a few tips to make sure they’re getting the right sized portions.

  • Remember that kids are smaller than adults. It sounds obvious, but an adult tummy is much bigger than a kid’s tummy – so try and give them a portion that matches their size and not the same amount of food as you.
  • It’s also healthier to give a smaller portion to begin with, then let them ask for more if they’re still hungry.
  • And try not to nag them to ‘eat it all up’ if they’re full.

60 active minutes

Kids need to do at least 60 minutes of activity a day to help them stay happy and healthy. But it doesn’t have to be sport – running around and having fun outside count too.

• Get them off the bus and out of the car – if it’s walkable, walk it.
• Clock up 60 minutes’ worth of active play each day after school and at weekends – this includes running around, going to playgrounds and kids’ outdoor games. And it’s all free!

For more information on top tips for healthy eating read the Top tips for top kids guide (PDF File, 271kb).

Healthy toddlers

It can be difficult to know what food to give toddlers to make sure they grow up healthy. 

The eatwell plate isn't relevant to younger children. A guide to portions can be found at the British Nutrition Foundation.

For a more comprehensive guide to your toddler's diet, download the 1-4 years healthy eating practical guide (PDF File, 9,040kb) from the Caroline Walker Trust.

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