Heading back to school healthy and happy

Australian children are some of the least active and heaviest, according to the Heart Foundation, with less than one in five kids meeting the recommended 60 minutes of physical activity each day.

The numbers say 25.6 per cent of Australia’s children and 29.5pc of young people are either overweight or obese.

Heart Foundation SA policy advisor Tuesday Udell said a very high rate of Australian children were driven to school, with only half of them riding, scooting or walking to school at least once a week.

“Small opportunities to walk or ride more often will help children to realise there are ways to travel other than in a car – walking or riding together is a great experience for parents and children to share,” Ms Udell said.

To become more active children and parents can pick a day to walk to and from school, even if it means parking further from the gate and walking for 10 minutes.

Find time each day to explore your neighbourhood, visit a local park, enjoy the local playground or on a hot day visit a water park, river or sea.

And, at home why not play some ball games, skip around, jump on the trampoline and even play chasey or hide and seek.

Eat healthy

Ms Udell said healthier lunch boxes and canteens were another way to encourage children to eat healthier

Plan ahead so you can avoid the pre-packaged foods, use dairy foods as a snack, change chocolate and chips for fruit or veggie sticks with hommus, and why not bake some muffins or healthy treats together.

Sugary drinks should only be given as a treat with water the drink of choice.

If you start making some of these changes it won’t be long before children will begin getting results, with parents benefiting from the exercise and nutritional changes as well.

For heart healthy recipe ideas such as celery, ham and egg roll-ups, berry swirl yoghurt pops and blueberry muffins visit: https://www.heartfoundation.org.au/recipes