Helathy eating:

Hannah Bailey book cover
Hannah Bailey book cover
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Sheffield nutritionist Hannah Bailey on getting the nerw school term ff to a healthy start.

If your family’s eating has slipped a bit over the summer holidays then September is the ideal time to get back on track and fit for Christmas.

Going back to school exposes children to new germs and every parent’s worst nightmare – a child off school. Avoiding the bugs can be simple and with good nutrition and hand hygiene, many can be prevented.

Packed lunches are often a constant headache for parents, especially those with fussy eaters, so here are my top tips for fun, delicious and nutritious lunch boxes for both adults and children:

n Buy a decent water bottle so you can refill it rather than buying new each day. Water is the best drink for school as it prevents dehydration and contains no sugar. Fizzy drinks and other ‘children’s’ drinks can have as many as 10 teaspoons of sugar per serving!

* Make sandwiches into funny shapes. Kids love a surprise so buy some cutters and get creative. It doesn’t take long, either.

* Use alternatives to bread such as leftover brown rice, couscous with roasted vegetables, pitta bread, wraps and crackers.

* Beware of the healthy packet of dried fruit. It might not be as healthy as you think. Many don’t count as one of your five a day and may have lots of hidden sugar, especially in the coatings.

* Put something new in. Kids often try new foods under the pressure of their peers.

* Always include at least one portion of vegetables and one portion of fruit.

* To make vegetables more interesting, include a little dip such as houmous and cut them into thin sticks to make them easier for little people to eat.

* Instead of putting a treat in, how about putting a sticker in?

* Use up leftovers from last night’s tea to save time and money.

Packed lunches not only save money but also ensure you know what your child has eaten.

Depending on which school your child goes to will depend on the lunch provision. However, school meals might suit your lifestyle best.

* Contact Hannah via her website: Wise Choice Nutrition