Nutrition and Hydration Week takes place all of this week until 19th of March. An annual event designed to promote better hydration and nutrition both locally and globally, there are many key messages to take away from this important campaign. Keeping our bodies healthy through food and drink is especially important for families, who in the midst of busy lives and a lack of free time, may not be getting the nutrition they need to stay healthy. Taking steps to ensure families eat well and stay hydrated is important not only for their current health but long-term too.
The aim of Nutrition and Hydration Week
The chief aim of Nutrition and Hydration Week is to promote the need for good nutrition and hydration in order to secure our mental and physical wellbeing. This includes securing access to the right nutrition for those who live both in the UK and abroad. Educating individuals about what constitutes good nutrition is important, and families can help instil this message in their children by helping them to form good habits at a young age.
Nutrition and hydration for families
To help families to enjoy better nutrition and hydration and therefore enjoy healthier living, there are a number of things you can do to support good habits. This includes:
Setting meal times, and sticking to them
It’s important for families to sit down to eat together and talk about their day. This can help families to discuss their problems and concerns as well as ensure a good daily routine. Whilst daily life can be a bit unpredictable, setting a set meal time for at least one meal a day can make sure that everyone eats what they should be eating and when, making sure nobody goes hungry and nobody has to grab something unhealthy on the go.
Putting water on the table at mealtimes
Many of us can forget to drink water, especially with all the other sweet and fizzy drinks available. Put a jug of water on the table during meal times and pour everyone a glass. Avoid sugary drinks where possible and encourage children to drink throughout their meal. Having water with your food can also help you feel fuller, stopping the temptation to overeat and going back for seconds when there’s no need.
Investing in reusable bottles
Most shops (even clothes shops) are jumping on the bandwagon and selling reusable water bottles which help to eliminate plastic waste and ensures we stay hydrated wherever we are. Invest in water bottles for each of the family to take to school, work or when you’re out and about and make sure you drink from it regularly..
Preparing balanced meals
Many families choose convenience over proper nutrition, which can mean you’re missing out on key nutrients. It can mean your consumption of salt, sugar and fat is higher than it should be too. Preparing a balanced meal needn’t be as difficult as you think. It can be done using pre-prepared vegetables and rice that save you time but still allow you to enjoy a healthy meal. Meals should contain a source of protein (such as meat or fish) and vegetables to help make sure you give your body what it needs to stay healthy.
Limiting your salt intake
Many pre-prepared foods contain salt, which we’re only supposed to consume in small quantities. Adding more salt to our foods contributes unnecessarily to our daily intake. Try to avoid processed foods and ready meals and cook from scratch so that you know exactly how much salt you’re eating. Takeaways and meals out should be a treat rather than a regular occurrence. Learning how to make some of your favourite dishes at home can help you to keep enjoying tasty food without the high salt content.
Eating a balanced diet and staying hydrated is important at any age, and your needs will change as you age too. If you’re concerned about your diet, the NHS Choices pages have a fantastic guide to eating a balanced diet and you can also make an appointment with your GP to discuss your nutritional needs and areas you may be lacking. Make changes for Nutrition and Hydration Week and enjoy forming healthy new habits for you and your family.