Five ways to stay healthy this winter

It may be cold outside but winter needn't be the unhealthiest time of the year for you and your family

Here are five ways to make sure that even when your body is telling you to hibernate you can keep healthy and fit, no matter what the weather's like: 

  1. Eliminate your sleep debt

"On average we sleep six-and-a-half hours a night, much less than the seven to nine hours recommended," says Jessica Alexander, spokesperson at the Sleep Council, which aims to raise awareness of the importance of a good night's sleep to health and wellbeing. But in winter, we naturally sleep more, due to the longer nights. "It’s perfectly natural to adopt hibernating habits when the weather turns cold," says Jessica. "Use the time to catch up." Wind down, hot baths, and as tempting as it is…..try to remove your TV from your bedroom, RELAX, READ, CATCH MORE ZZZZZZZZ’s!!!

  1. Drink more milk

You are 80% more likely to get a cold in winter so making sure your immune system is in tip-top condition is important. Milk and dairy products such as cheese, yoghurt and fromage frais are great sources of protein and vitamins A and B12. They're also an important source of calcium, which helps keep our bones strong. Try to go for semi-skimmed or skimmed milk, rather than full fat, and low-fat yoghurts.

  1. Eat more fruit and veg

It seems obvious but……when it’s cold and dark outside it can be tempting to fill up on unhealthy comfort food, but it’s important to ensure that you still keep your diet healthy and include five portions of fruit and veg a day. If you find yourself craving a sugary treat, try a juicy clementine or satsuma instead, or sweet dried fruits such as dates or raisins.

Winter vegetables such as carrots, parsnips, swede and turnips can be roasted, mashed or made into soup for a comforting winter meal for the whole family. Explore varieties of fruit and veg that you may not normally eat. DRINK WATER……KEEP HYDRATED…LOOK AFTER YOUR BODYAND IT WILL LOOK AFTER YOU.

  1. Try new activities for the whole family

When it’s dark outside it’s tempting to stay inside and hibernate….. instead, get out with the whole family to try out a new activity, maybe ice-skating or taking a bracing winter walk on the beach. Regular exercise helps to control your weight, boost your immune system and is a good way to break the tension that can build if the family is constantly cooped up inside the house…..FRESH AIR…..GET THE ENDORPHINS FLOWING. 

  1. Have a hearty breakfast

Winter is the perfect season for porridge. Eating a warm bowlful on a cold morning isn’t just a delicious way to start your day, it also helps you to boost your intake of starchy foods and fibre, which give you energy and help you to feel fuller for longer, stopping the temptation to snack mid-morning. Oats also contain lots of vital vitamins and minerals.

Make your porridge with semi-skimmed or skimmed milk or water, and don’t add sugar or salt. Add a few dried apricots, some raisins, a sliced banana or other fruit for extra flavour and to help you hit the five-a-day target.

It’s almost Christmas time…..stock up on medicinal drinks, paracetamol and lozenges…..prevention is better than cure…‘Catch it Kill it Bin it’……do not hesitate to visit the medical room for tissues and ‘provisions’…..if all else fails……we will MAKE YOU SMILE.

Healthier eating for teens

A healthy diet can help you look and feel great. Don't follow the latest food fad: find out the truth about eating well.
Your body needs energy and nutrients from food to grow and work properly. If you don't eat a healthy, balanced diet, you could be putting your health and growth at risk.

A healthy diet also gives you the energy you need and can help you look and feel great. But eating well doesn't have to mean giving up all your favourite foods. A healthy diet means eating a wide range of foods so that you get all the nutrients you need, and eating the right number of calories for how active you are.

Beware of fad diets: they're rarely the best way to reach a healthy weight. Instead, use our tips to help you eat more healthily.

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  • Don't skip breakfast. Some people skip breakfast because they think it will help them lose weight. But skipping meals doesn't help you lose weight and is not good for you, because you can miss out on essential nutrients. Research shows that eating breakfast can actually help people control their weight. In addition, a healthy breakfast is an important part of a balanced diet and provides some of the vitamins and minerals we need for good health. Whole grain cereal with fruit sliced over the top is a tasty and healthy start to the day. 
  • Aim to eat at least five portions of a variety of fruits and vegetables a day. They are good sources of many of the vitamins and minerals your body needs. It's not as hard as it might sound: fresh, frozen, tinned, dried and juiced fruit and vegetables all count towards your total. So one glass (150ml) of fruit juice, smoothies and vegetables baked into dishes such as stews all count. Learn more at Why 5 A DAY? 
  • At snack time, swap foods that are high in saturated fat or sugars for healthier choices. Foods high in saturated fat include pies, processed meats such as sausages and bacon, biscuits and crisps. Foods high in added sugars include cakes and pastries, sweets, and chocolate. Both saturated fat and sugar are high in calories, so if you eat these foods often you're more likely to become overweight. Too much saturated fat can also cause high cholesterol. Learn more in Eat less saturated fat.
  • Make sure you drink enough fluids. Aim to drink six to eight glasses of fluids a day: water and milk are all healthy choices. Even unsweetened fruit juice is sugary, so try to drink no more than one glass (about 150ml) of fruit juice each day. 
  • If you're feeling tired and run down, you may need more iron in your diet. Teenage girls are at higher risk of being low on iron, because they lose iron when they have their monthly period and they are still growing. Good sources of iron include red meats, breakfast cereals fortified with iron, and baked beans. Learn more in Anaemia, iron deficiency. 
  • If you often feel hungry, try eating more high-fibre foods such as wholemeal bread, beans, wholegrain breakfast cereals, fruit and vegetables. Foods that are high in fibre are bulky and help us to feel full for longer, and most of us should be eating more of them. 
  • If eating makes you feel anxious, guilty, or upset, or you're often worried about food or your weight, you may have an eating disorder. Help is out there: tell an adult you trust. Learn more in Eating disorders explained. 
  • If you are underweight, you may not be eating enough. Restricting foods (or food groups) or not eating a balanced diet can stop you getting enough of the calories and other important nutrients your body needs. This can lead to weight loss. Being underweight can cause health problems, so if you're underweight it's important to gain weight in a healthy way. Your GP can help with this. 
  • If you are overweight, you may be eating too much. Foods high in fat and sugar are high in calories, and eating too many calories can lead to weight gain. Try to eat fewer foods that are high in fat and sugar, such as swapping to low- or no-sugar fizzy drinks. A healthy balanced diet will provide you with all the nutrients your body needs. Your body mass index (BMI) can tell you whether you are a healthy weight – check yours with our BMI healthy weight calculator. 
  • Don't follow fad diets. If you have an overweight BMI, aim to lose weight to bring your BMI into the healthy range. If you want to lose weight, it's important to choose your diet plan carefully. It can be tempting to follow the latest fad diet, but these are often not nutritionally balanced and don't work in the long term: once you stop, the weight is likely to come back. Diets based on only one or two foods may be successful in the short term, but can be dull and hard to stick to and deficient in a range of nutrients. The healthier, long-term way to lose weight is by combining long-term changes towards a healthy, balanced diet with more physical activity. If you're concerned about your weight, your GP can help. 
  • Watch out for "low-carb" diets, or any eating plans that advise you to cut out whole food groups. This can be unhealthy, because you may miss out on nutrients from that food group. Low-carb diets can be high in saturated fat. Eating too much saturated fat can cause high cholesterol, which can lead to an increased risk of developing heart disease. Other diets may involve cutting out dairy foods such as milk, yoghurt and cheese. These foods are high in calcium, which you need to ensure your bones grow properly. Choose lower fat dairy foods when you can – semi-skimmed, 1% fat or skimmed milk contain all the important nutritional benefits of whole milk, with less fat. 

Helping your child with acne

There are several myths about what causes acne: 

Food
Many people say that eating chocolate or greasy food causes acne, but this isn't true. There isn't any evidence that acne is caused by what you eat. However, eating a balanced diet is good for your general health so aim to eat as healthily as you can.

Bad hygiene
Some people believe that acne is caused by bad personal hygiene, but this is not true. If you are going to get acne, you will get it no matter how much you clean your skin. Too much cleaning can make the condition worse by removing the protective oils in your skin.

Make-up
There is also a myth that wearing make-up can cause spots, but there is no evidence that this is the case. The less you touch your skin, the fewer bacteria will be spread to your skin. If you wear make-up, wash your hands before putting your make-up on and always remove it before going to bed. 

Treatments for acne

Acne will usually go away on its own, but it can take many years. There are treatments that can help clear acne more quickly. Over-the-counter treatments can help with mild acne. Ask a pharmacist for advice on which treatment could help and how long you will have to use it. You may not see results for several weeks.

If over-the-counter treatments don't help, treatments are available on prescription. Your GP can assess how bad your acne is and discuss the options with you. Don't be afraid to tell your GP how your acne affects your life and how it makes you feel.

Mild, non-inflammatory acne consists of whiteheads and blackheads. Treatments include gels or lotions that can contain retinoids (vitamin A), topical (applied to the skin) antibiotics, benzoyl peroxide (which is antibacterial) or azelaic acid.

These medications, or a combination of them, can also be used to treat mild-to-moderate inflammatory acne, which has some pustules and nodules. It can take up to eight weeks before you see a difference in your skin, and treatment may need to be continued for six months.

If you feel your child needs help with acne or any other skin problem visit your GP for advice and treatment.