What did you have for lunch today??

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There is one question that is on everyone’s lips. This question has been asked by mothers for generations, since the beginning of time even. It’s the main tool in the arsenal of the small-talker, the very reason that Instagram was created. And, on National Childhood Obesity Week, it is the question that I propose to you.

“What did you have for lunch today?”

Since we were knee-high to a grasshopper, it was drummed into us that we should eat five pieces of fruit and veg a day, drink water as if we were fishies and leave the cake for special occasions. But these rules are hard, and nobody wants to substitute their biscuits for broccoli. Being healthy sucks all the fun out of eating, right?

NO, THAT’S WRONG.

Everything in moderation, that’s what they say. You can have your cake and eat it too if you just follow some simple healthy nomming guidelines.

(Disclaimer – the following puns are intentionally awful)

Liven up your five
You don’t have to slurp down that horrible cabbage soup to reach your five a day. Fruit is Mother Nature’s own take on sweets, and there is a lot more variety than there is in your corner shop. Make yourself a fruit salad for dessert, grab an apple instead of a bag of crisps, brighten up your lunch with some cherry tomatoes or a banana. And remember, fruit juices and tomato soup count towards your five a day, so substitute your Coca-Cola and Pot Noodle accordingly!

The best thing since brown bread
White bread is deceiving. It may look all innocent and holier-than-thou, but its salt and sugar levels don’t do anyone any favours. Switch to wholemeal, multi-grain or granary bread to make your packed lunch much better for you. For those of you who don’t really like wholemeal, Best of Both really could be the best thing since sliced bread!
You can even go one step further and substitute your sarnies for wraps, or Ryvita if you’re feeling classy. The possibilities are endless!

Take out the take-outs
There really is nothing like a home-cooked meal. Go on and help your mother in the kitchen, and sneak in a cauliflower or two. Rather than pining after take-outs, whip out the pan and start a pasta-bake – the internet is filled to the brim with healthy alternatives to curry, rice and chips!

Three meals are better than one
Don’t allow yourself to fall victim to snacking! Snacking is the devil’s handiwork. If you spend all day picking, you’ll eat all the wrong things and won’t get the nutritional value associated with a full meal. A small snack every now and then doesn’t hurt, but try to structure your eating into three distinct meals. You should also avoid eating too near to bedtime, and make sure you wake up to a healthy breakfast. As well as benefiting your metabolism, this will help to structure your sleeping patterns.

And finally
Drink water! Drink it like it’s going out of fashion! Drink it like it’s the last thing you’ll ever drink! Keeping hydrated is the most important thing that you will ever do. We’re like, 70% water or something, and that water must come from somewhere. Energy drinks and fizzy pops are incredibly bad for you, there’s no denying it. One 500ml can of Dr Pepper contains 550kcal, whereas water contains 0. MADNESS.

Water helps you feel better in every aspect. It makes you more alert, improves your skin, nails and hair, fixes headaches and nausea and does wonders to your kidneys. Seriously, drink water. I mean it.

I’m not saying that you can’t treat yourself to your favourite ice creams and iced buns. I’m not suggesting that you should pass up a McDonald’s when you’re in town and feeling peckish. There is nothing wrong with a little indulgence, but these tips might make you feel less sluggish, more active and more confident!

Remember to keep active, whether it’s kicking a ball around a field or walking to school a few days a week. You’ll be surprised by the difference it will make!

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