Emma Hollingworth: My daughter’s diet of endless sports and healthy food

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It is an exciting time in our household at present – largely due to the fact our eldest child is about to go on her first school trip which includes staying a night away from home.

Next week she is going with her class of 30 chums to an outdoor centre in the middle of nowhere. On the agenda is den building, star gazing and orienteering. She gets lost going from one floor to another in our house so I am not convinced she is a perfect candidate for this last activity. Lets hope she is not put in charge of her group or I fear they may well come last – if they come back at all.

Last year when she was approaching junior school we were sent a lovely glossy brochure featuring all the marvellous activities pupils would be able to do as they graduated from infant school to “big” school.

I read in wonder about trips to far flung parts of the country but was even more surprised to see a week-long trip to Paris for the fourth year pupils.

Part of next week’s trip away includes the children having to make their own food – under supervision of course.

In particular they have to make sandwiches for lunch time. And last week we were presented with a list in our daughter’s best handwriting asking us to buy the necessary ingredients for her so she could practise making her special sandwich at school. I had imagined this would consist of cheese and perhaps some tomatoes or even ham.

But oh no. Not our daughter. Instead it was a request for smoked salmon, cucumber and cream cheese. How pretentious we must have seemed to staff at the school when she told them what it was she was going to be making. But it really isn’t something we have forced on her, I promise! She just loves eating fish – and always has.

My friend, who hates fish with a passion, was quite stunned when she asked our small child what her favourite food was the other week. Expecting her to say fishfingers or pasta, she was surprised with the reply which came back – grilled fish with new potatoes and asparagus.

Of course I felt proud that my daughter has such a developed palate at such a tender age, but like I say I really can’t take any credit. She is just naturally healthy. She instinctively loves all the right foods – fruit, vegetables, fish and chicken. She loves all the wrong things too though, so she is still a typical child, thankfully. She will devour a packet of sweets with the same relish as she will eat her favourite fish. To her it is all just “yummy”, as she tells me.

She is also a natural athlete and can’t get enough exercise. Each week she does at least four or five hours of exercise with her ballet, swimming and horse-riding. On top of this she spends all her spare time at school running, doing gymnastics and playing football.

Her body doesn’t have one ounce of fat on it, yet despite this she has the usual hang-ups of a modern young girl’s life – the fear she will get fat. She has already told me she doesn’t want to have any babies when she is older as it will make her fat. Whatever I say to try and dissuade her from this opinion proves fruitless.

However, I have no fear she will ever turn fat. She is lucky as her natural shape does not appear to be one which will lead her down the fat path – unless she really overdoes it on the wrong foods. The endless sport she takes part in and the fact she insists on riding her bike or scooter everywhere I am sure will also help her stay nice and slim. She loves running and climbing on various apparatus in the playground areas, as do her siblings, but one of her favourite things to do is to try out all the outdoor gym equipment. At least two of our local parks feature permanent gym equipment including hip swing and pull up bars, leg and arm presses.

For more about obesity, eating healthily and where to go with your children for free in Sheffield visit Sheffield City Council backed Change 4 Life website on: www.sheffieldc4l.org.uk/families/your-school/