Sainsbury's Active Kids promotion is back, and many parents like me, collect the vouchers for our kids' schools. The more Active Kids vouchers you collect, the more your school will benefit, as they will be able to exchange the vouchers for Active Kids equipment and experiences.
Even if your children are no longer in nursery or school you could check out who's collecting near you at Sainsburys.co.uk/ActiveKids.
Sainsbury's Active Kids recently released an "Eat well. Move well. Live well" report. It delved into the current issues surrounding young people's attitudes to their nutrition, health and fitness.
|Image credits: Sainsbury's Active Kids|
The report showed some thought-provoking stats about the health and nutrition beliefs of children.
- Over one fifth refer to social media, YouTube stars and bloggers to find information on healthy eating.
- 41% of kids believe they should "probably do more" when it comes to exercise
- 43% of kids think that cutting out a food group will lead to a healthy lifestyle.
There is considerable evidence that the UK's children are living increasingly unhealthy lifestyles, for a number of reasons, including the rise of social media, the increased availability of cheap fast food and the move away from home cooking.
Sainsbury's Active Kids programme is now in its 13th year. Every year it donates millions of pounds worth of equipment and experiences to UK schools, nurseries and clubs.
Both of my sons' schools have boxes in the offices, and encourage parents to collect the vouchers.
What needs to be done to encourage our children to live healthier lives? Is it a school's role or parents' responsibility? Also it it up to a school to police what children are eating?
I regularly read discussions on Mumsnet about how confusing and contradictory the policing of what children eat at school is. Some of the schools implement stupid regulations on what is allowed in the lunchboxes, confiscating yogurts or homemade flapjacks, at the same time offering calorie and sugar-laden desserts to children who eat school lunches.
My children's schools are quite laid-back about what comes in the lunch box.
Looking at Eddie's school menu (he eats school lunches four times a week, except on Wednesday when he takes a lunch box, as he doesn't like roast meat), it is quite varied and includes a good selection of meals. However, almost every dessert (or pudding, as my son calls it) is pretty sweet - iced buns with fruit, strawberry jelly with peaches, sticky toffee sponge with cream, iced cream with fruit, chocolate and pear brownie, fruit salad waffle and chocolate sauce, apple turnover with custard etc.
A treat once in a while is absolutely fine, but I would have liked them to include more fresh fruit as a dessert, or a fruit salad without cream or sauce.
I know it is easier to say we should all have a balanced diet, than actually follow your own advice. My children are both fussy eaters.
Teaching children to cook is one way of encouraging them to eat healthier.
Both of my sons show interest in cooking, though they prefer to help me with cakes and bakes, and understandably so. Decorating a cake is much more fun than cooking steamed broccoli.
Sasha loves to watch while I'm chopping and mixing. Eddie loves to help with beating the cake batter.
I should be more relaxed about them getting it wrong, or making a big mess, otherwise how will they learn.
Last week, I asked Eddie to help me to make individual fish pies. He was in charge of mashed potato topping, and he was very enthusiastic about it.
Individual fish pies (serves 3-4, depending on the size of ramekins)
2 medium to big potatoes
4 heaped tbsp Greek style yogurt
a squeeze of lemon juice
1tbsp olive oil
350g fish pie mix (salmon, haddock, etc)
2tbsp chopped fresh parsley
2tbsp chopped fresh spring onions
a handful of sweetcorn, defrosted
a handful of peas, defrosted
Make the potato mash first by boiling the peeled and chopped potatoes in a medium pan of boiling water for about 15 minutes until tender. Drain the water, leaving a little bit in a pan. Mash the potatoes, allow to cool, then stir in the yogurt and lemon juice.
In a frying pan, give fish mix a quick fry for a couple of minutes, turning over. Add the chopped herbs, sweetcorn and peas, and put into the slightly oiled individual deep ramekins. Top up with the mashed potatoes, and put the ramekins in the oven preheated to 180C for 20 minutes.
Serve hot, with some steamed greens, like tenderstem broccoli or green beans.
This is a healthier version of the fish pie. We didn't use butter or whole milk in the mash, adding the low calorie Greek style yogurt instead. Usually I would top up the fish pie with grated cheese, but we skipped it this time. It was a lovely fish pie nevertheless, but I think next time we'll still add a bit of grated cheese.
Eddie liked being in charge of the mash, and pronounced it delicious (even if it was quite lumpy).
Disclosure: I received a Sainsbury's voucher for the purposes of cooking a healthier meal with my kids. All opinions are our own.