Healthy and Happy

So we know that the top 3 ways to have a healthy lifestyle are to eat healthily, be active (move lots!), and sleep enough. But how do we do this?
Eat healthily:
Children need a healthy, balanced diet in order to continue to grow to their full potential. This means that we need lots of different types of foods. By eating fruits and vegetables of different colours we can make sure that we get the nutrients (vitamins and minerals) that our bodies need.

Try these tips for healthy eating:
- Don’t skip breakfast
- Spread your meals through out the day. Aim to have breakfast, lunch, main meal plus 1-2 healthy snacks at regular times each day
- Use the food pyramid to learn about the right foods to eat
- Eat more fruit and vegetables (get your 5 a day!)
- Watch the amount you eat (even eating too much healthy food can lead to a build up of fat in the body) - Only eat fatty (crisps) and sugary foods (cookies, chocolate or sweets) as a treat
- Eat at a table and turn off all screens when eating
- Chew each mouthful of food 10 times (this gives your tummy time to tell you brain that you are getting full)
- Drink water or sugar free squash
- Try to eat homemade food as much as possible (if you don’t know how to cook, get a children’s cookery book from the library and learn today!)
- Only have take-aways as a treat (no more than 1 time each week)
Be active (move lots!)
Everyday, you need to do at least 60 minutes of physical activity that makes your heart beat faster and causes you to sweat.

Why?
Well in order for your heart, lungs, bones, muscles and brain to develop properly they need to be used enough. Remember you heart is a muscle and it gets stronger the more you use it. When we exercise or move around our heart beats faster so that it can bring blood (carrying oxygen and energy) to the moving parts of our bodies.

By doing this it stays strong. If we don’t move enough, our heart gets weak. Sometimes when this happens our lungs get unfit too and we get breathless (even when not playing hard).

By getting your 60 minutes each day you can:
- Make new friends and have FUN
- Boost your confidence
- Make your bones and muscles strong
- Make your heart and lungs fitter
- Make it easier to concentrate at school

Sometimes we find it hard to move enough or to be active. Maybe we feel like we don’t have time?
- Maybe we live too far to walk to school?
- Maybe we are lonely?
- Maybe we get tired after school?
- Maybe the weather is too wet to go outside?
- Maybe our friends don’t want to play outside?
- Maybe we have too much homework?

Whatever the reason is, you can find ways of getting your 60 minutes of activity every day. You just need to be clever and think of ways to make it easier to be active like:
- Taking a dog for a walk
- Playing a team sport after school
- Having friends, a parent or family member who will get involved in sport or activities with you
- Listening to music that makes you want to dance
- Buying a rain jacket so that the rain can’t hurt you!
- Trying lots of different games and activities (skipping, jumping, cyling, scooting or trampoline games!) so that you can find something you really enjoy
- Spending less time using screens so that you have time

JUST GET OUT THERE AND HAVE FUN!
For ideas on what to do visit these websites: http://kidshealth.org and http://www.nhs.uk/ and http://www.getirelandactive.ie
physical activity
Sleep enough
Every living creature needs to sleep. Sleep is especially important for children as it controls our growth The main benefit of sleep is the release of growth hormone which is needed by your body so that it can grow (toddlers can grow as much as 1.5cm overnight!).

Sleep also helps concentration and the development of emotional/mental health.
As you grow up you will need to spend more time on homework and meeting with friends. Some of the things we do as we get older can make it hard for us to sleep (e.g. watching TV close to bedtime). Remember that your parents are not punishing you if they send you to bed - they know that you need rest to grow taller and to be happy!

If you do not get enough sleep it can be bad for your health and can cause problems like not being able to pay attention in school or putting on extra body weight.

Primary-school children should be getting between 10- 12 hours of sleep per night. If you tend to sleep late on the weekend, that’s a message from your body to tell you that you need to sleep more on school nights.

I’m not a good sleeper: what can I do?
See here http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/Childrenssleep/Pages/teensleeptips.aspx for tips on sleeping better
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