Here are Muddy Puddles’ five top tips to get you started:
1) Start the day with a good breakfast
Eating a healthy breakfast provides you with the energy and nutrients you need to kick start your day. You’ll have better concentration and prevent that mid-morning slump.
Porridge is a great option for these winter months. Not only will it warm you up but also fill you up. Porridge oats give a long gradual release of energy which keeps you fuller for longer. Try adding apple and cinnamon or banana and honey to your porridge to make it extra tasty!
(If you want to be even healthier you can make it with water instead of milk)
2) Get outdoors more and stay active
In the cold winter months it’s tempting to initiate hibernation mode but getting out and exploring the big wide world is much more rewarding. Just pop on your wellies and wrap up warm – you’re good to go!
Make it fun for your children by turning your winter walk into a scavenger hunt. Set a list of things to do, see and collect that you can tick off while you’re out and about. For example, jump in a puddle, look out for a hairy beast (cows) and find a feather.
Outdoor activities are beneficial for your child’s development and good for their learning. Daily trips outside can improve children’s appetite, give them more energy and help them to sleep soundly at night. Babies really benefit from watching leaves move, seeing the different colours and hearing new sounds from the great outdoors.
Need more motivation? Just think how much better that mug of hot chocolate will taste after you’ve earned it.
3) Eat more colourful food
By this we mean eating plenty of fresh fruit and veg to add lots of vibrant colour to your plate. Adopting the rainbow diet has huge health benefits because colourful foods have high densities of fibre and nutrients. Each different colour group has different benefits.
Red foods help increase heart and circulatory health and can improve memory. Eating orange foods has been linked to skin and eye health and can help improve your immune system. Yellow foods contain nutrients that promote good digestion and optimise brain function. Green foods are rich in calcium which is good for your bones and teeth. Blue/purple foods are rich in antioxidants and can help lower cholesterol levels.
So don’t just eat your greens, eat your reds, yellows and purples too!
4) Drink more water
We all know we should drink more water but here’s a few reasons why. It’s good for your skin, helps beat fatigue, gives your brain a boost, reduces headaches, improves your mood and prevents illness. Your body is 50-75% made of water (depending on your age) so it’s really important to stay hydrated.
In children water makes up more than half of their body weight and is needed to keep all parts of the body functioning properly. Children are at greater risk of dehydration than adults because their body weight is lower and they have a smaller reserve of body fluids.
To make your water more flavourful try adding some fresh fruit, anything from the classic slice of lemon to the more adventurous blueberry and lavender. Play around with different fruits and herbs to make your own infusions. Shakes and slushies are another great way of making your water more enticing.
5) Wind-down before bedtime to get a better night’s sleep
Looking at a screen before you go to bed can have a huge effect on the quality of your night’s sleep. The brightness of the screen stimulates the brain affecting your ability to get to sleep.
Common guidelines suggest you give your eyes a break from lit screens for at least an hour before bedtime. So step away from the tablet, put your mobile down and switch off the TV. Reading a book or listening to music is a much better way of winding down before you hit the hay. Let’s bring back the good old bedtime story for both adults and children alike!
Children aged 4-5 who are read to 3-5 times a week are 6 months ahead of their peers in terms of their reading ability. Children with a greater vocabulary have the ability to find the words they want to use more easily. This makes them more likely to have a strong self-image, sense of confidence, and higher academic standing.
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