Simple tips to keep kids healthy this summer holidays in Cork
With the school summer holidays now in full swing across County Cork, we thought that it could be helpful to highlight some simple tips that can help to keep children healthy and happy this summer.
With more entertainment channels vying for our kids’ attention than ever before, keeping children healthy, as well as entertained, can seem like a daunting task these days. However tempting it may be to order in pizza, and sit your kids in front of a screen, there are some healthier alternatives that can keep children healthily happy this summer holidays.
Make healthy food choices fun
With school dinners off the menu, and more meals for you to plan than during term time, it can be tricky to keep family mealtimes healthy and nutritious. We’ve pulled together a few simple tips to encourage children to eat more fibre, veggies and fruit, with less processed foods, red meat and salt.
- Sweet veg makes for healthy nibbles – sweet and crunchy vegetables are great choices to encourage kids to eat more veg. Carrots, peppers, celery and beets eaten raw, make for a great savoury but sweet snack, especially when chopped into bitesize pieces. Kids can enjoy the sweetness and crunch, whilst placating a sweet tooth, without them reaching for a bag of sweets.
- Get the kids involved in cooking – to help them enjoy mealtimes more. Why not draft children in to help you add some healthy and simple touches to ready-made food? For example, adding some colourful veg to a homemade pizza, or simply adding some fruit to ice cream, are great ways to start getting kids involved in preparing their food.
- Lead by example – actions speak louder than words, as they say, so make an effort to eat healthily yourself. It stands to reason that if you’re eating healthily, the kids are more likely to follow suit.
- Try, try, and try again – research shows that children’s preferences change when they regularly have small tastes of different foods. However, be aware that it can take time for taste buds to develop and it may take all summer!
- Making healthy eating more fun – can encourage children to be more inclined towards healthier choices. A few simple efforts to make mealtimes more engaging, such as serving fruit as a funny face or turning 5-a-day into a wall chart with sticker rewards, can really encourage kids to get enthusiastic about healthy eating.
- Having a BBQ? Chicken or fish, rather than red meats, can be a healthier choice. Why not get the kids involved in helping to make veggie side dishes and salads? To reduce the chances of burning food, which has been linked to cancer, start the cooking off in the oven, before finishing on the BBQ grill.
- Cut down on processed meats – a diet which is low in processed meats can be healthier for the whole family. Try to avoid having bacon and sausage too frequently, beans and pulses can make great substitutes.
- Check the salt content – of all the foods that you buy. It’s widely known that too much salt can be harmful to our health. It can also be surprising just how much salt is added to some foods. In particular, be aware of ready meals, which can have much more salt than you would think.
Keep kids active in Cork this summer
As well as kids eating healthily, it’s also really important that they keep active this summer holiday.
Guidelines say that children should be getting at least 1 hour of physical activity every day. The activities can be spread out across the day and don’t need to be all at once. Fortunately here in Cork, we’re lucky to plenty of great things going on for kids to get involved in over summer.
Cork Sports Partnership
Our Local Sport Partnership promotes participation in sport in Cork. From a Couch to 5K run, to Cork GAA rounders, or the Cork Bike Week to the Cork Daily Mile for local primary schools, there is always a host of sports activities taking place in County Cork. Click to see details of Cork Sports events happening in your area.
Indoor Play Centres
When the weather allows, it’s great to get out and about in the great outdoors with your kids. However, as we know all too well, the weather isn’t always amenable in Cork, even in the middle of summer. On colder or wetter summer days, there are plenty of safe and exhilarating indoor play centres that can provide similar benefits to outdoor play.
Indoor soft play areas can be a secret weapon in any parent’s arsenal of activities. Indoor play is great to keep the kids entertained, whilst also offering safe and fun physical activity. Not only do indoor play centres keep kids happy and active, but this kind of active play is also proven to help children develop social, mental and emotional skills.
There are a number of soft and indoor play centres in Cork.
Visiting an open farm offers many educational benefits, in addition to promoting a healthy outdoor lifestyle. Here in Cork, we are looking to have access to a good number of open farms. Why not spend an afternoon at one of the local open farms, so kids can engage with animals, spend time in the countryside and learn all about nature?
Outdoor activities to keep kids fit
In an age where there’s more and more technology, it’s more important than ever to get our kids outdoors and active during the summer hols. However, these days it can be difficult to persuade them away from their screens. Here are a few ideas for things to do which are so much fun that they won’t even realise they’re exercising.
- Foraging – there are typically a good number of guided foraging walks taking place in Cork.
- Geocaching – get the kids involved in geocaching and you probably won’t hear any complaints about being taken away from the TV again. Geocaching is like a modern day treasure hunt that uses a GPS system (usually with your smartphone).
- Get your skates on – scooting, cycling and roller-skating are still a fun way to exercise outdoors. Kids of all ages love the freedom of being on wheels rather than feet.
- Gardening – why not give your child their own space in the garden? You can teach them how to plant and grow flower, vegetables and plants. Not only can kids get a sense of achievement, they may also be happier to eat fruit and veg that they’ve grown themselves.
Irwin’s pharmacies are here when you need healthcare support in Cork
Should you require any healthcare assistance or well-being support this summer, the team here at Irwin’s pharmacies Cork are ready to help. We are proud to serve the people of Cork with the best in healthcare and pharmacy advice. From our late night Cork city pharmacy on Shandon Street, our Mayfield pharmacy serving the north side of the city, to our Togher pharmacy in South Cork, for healthcare support, we’ve got you covered.