Researchers looking into global disease and dietary patterns appear to have found a link between fast food and asthma and eczema in children.
They looked at data from more than 500,000 children in more than 50 countries which suggests poor diet may be to blame for rising levels of these allergy-related conditions.
However they also found that eating three or more portions of fruit a week cut the risk of severe asthma, eczema and rhinoconjunctivitis ( nasal congestion, runny nose, post-nasal drip, sneezing, red eyes (conjunctivitis), and itching of the nose or eyes) by between 11% and 14%.
Asthma UK suggest that we should aim to be eating five portions of fruit or vegetables every day, fish more than twice a week, and pulses more than once a week.
But how do you get your children to eat their fruit and veg?
Include a piece of fruit at breakfast – small handful of grapes, sprinkle some blueberries on cereal; a chopped up apple or pear
Allow children to take fruit for break at school – most schools are fine with this. Choose from easy to transport fruit such as clementines, small bananas, apples (you can buy mini apples in most supermarkets). If you children like raw veg then let them take some chopped up carrot, red pepper, chunks of cucumber or crunch radishes.
Encourage your child to have fruit as their ‘pudding’ after lunch. See if your school canteen offers fruit salad. Again, most supermarkets now sell pots of ready made fruit salad which are easy to pop into your child’s rucksack.
If your child has a packed lunch make sure their sandwiches include some sort of salad ingredient: crisp little gem lettuce leaves, cucumber etc or give them a little pot of raw chopped veg (see above).
I know my children always came out of school starving and desperate for anything to eat! Make a deal with them so they have to include a piece of fruit or whizz up a smoothie – recipe below.
Try to make sure your children eat at least 2 vegetables with dinner (or a small bowl of salad). Fresh or frozen are best.
If at first your children are reluctant to try new fruit and veg, be persistent and make sure you always have a fruit bowl they can help themselves to.
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This is a great way of serving up a nutritious breakfast for those who are reluctant to eat, or as an after school snack.
To make enough for 2 servings
- 1 glass of juice (orange, apple) (you can use water or milk if you prefer)
- Good handful of berries – raspberries, blueberries, blackberries etc (you can use fresh or frozen)
- 1 small banana or half a large one
- 1 tbsp natural oatmeal or 1 tbsp natural porridge oats soaked in water overnight (optional)
- 2 tbsp of plain live yogurt (if you don’t eat dairy then you could use a plain soya yoghurt) – optional
- 1 tsp rapeseed oil
What you do
Blend all the ingredients together in a liquidizer to make a delicious and filling smoothie.
About your smoothie
This really is packed with nutrients: vitamin C, zinc, vitamin E, Omega 3 & 6, fibre, calcium, protein and live beneficial bacteria (yogurt)! Adding oats to your smoothie will make it more filling and you will have the benefit of lots of B vitamins which are great for your hair and skin and added fibre! The rapeseed oil add beneficial oils which help dry skin and hair.
A pack of frozen mixed berries are useful to have in the freezer for this smoothie.