Eat, Play, Love!

2011-07-07 17.42.03

Having just spent the Easter holidays letting the children gorge on chocolate to their hearts’ content, I found myself thinking about the issue of childhood obesity. I recently shared the safe food campaign on encouraging children to play all the old games we used to play. Like everyone else, I remember the joy of all those games; ‘tip the can’ was definitely my favourite although I NEVER played it with my parents – just my friends and siblings. I have been using ‘Red Rover’ and obstacle courses during the children’s parties for the last couple of years and the children love them..and they are not nearly as head wrecking as musical statues! However, although the children (and myself in fairness..) ate their body weight in chocolate over the holidays, I am not overly concerned. Neither am I rushing out every day to ensure that the kids get their 60 minutes exercise a day. I mean, if my children were only outside for 60 minutes a day, we would all have been institutionalised ages ago.


So why am I not concerned? I believe that the biggest contributor to childhood obesity is over-eating as opposed to lack of excercise. So, ‘choctastic’ Easter aside, I don’t tend to rely on snacks to feed the children. They have a normal breakfast of either cereal or toast – then they generally have a home-cooked lunch. I have been known to feed them frozen (oh, the horror!) chicken nuggets and chips or such like every now and then, followed by a small tea of cheese sambos or scrambled eggs on toast. They do have a snack between meals but it is a single rice cake or a single piece of fruit. The children are therefore always starving by the time they come to the table. This is a good thing! They also only get milk with their main meals – otherwise it’s water.. Now that is not to say that my children don’t have biscuits, crisps, ice-cream or squash – of course they do, but only occasionally – but everything should be in moderation.


Luckily for me, I only live a half-hour’s walk from the school so we generally walk, often getting a drenching but no one has suffered from pneumonia so far. I send them all out for a play at some point every day, including my youngest who just turned two. Last summer, my eldest was old enough to play ‘out front’, so now she hardly ever needs to be coerced outside. The balance of that is that if some days they don’t feel like going outside, it’s not the end of the world. I really think the never-ending snacking on cheese, frubes, biscuits, crisps and squash or milk between meals is a major contributor to bad eating habits which can in turn lead to childhood obesity.


I guess what I am trying to say is – don’t rearrange your life to encourage a new ‘Little House on the Prairie’ type existence. Instead, limit the size of their snacks and encourage your children to play outside. Family walks at the weekend are lovely and with the warmer weather coming in, will be something we can all enjoy a little more frequently. Maybe we will play a few games with the children during our holidays but the stress of trying to fit in some extra ‘fun games’ and activities to our already hectic weekdays is unsustainable. Pointing them towards the garden and putting away the biscuits is a lot more manageable in my opinion. Encouraging your children to go out and play does not mean that you have to drag yourselves to every adventure playground and public park in Ireland – just open the back door and boot them out!!


Thanks for reading


I love feedback, please leave any thoughts and comments below.





3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Sara
    May 01, 2014 @ 18:50:42

    Totally agree with you on this I have the same way of thinking with my own two 🙂


  2. Trackback: Guilt-Free Quality Time :) | BabySteps

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