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Parenting Hacks To Keep Your Kids Healthy

Every parent knows the key to healthy happy kids is a balanced diet and activity. Sainsbury's Active Kids has got the school bit covered, so here are some hacks to help you at home.

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1. Get them to grow their own.

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Get them to save the tomato seeds from their meals and dry them for two to three weeks on some kitchen towel. Next, plant them in some potting compost, in a pot with the child's name on it, and make it their job to water the plant.

This will help them make a connection between where food comes from and their dinner.

2. Make an after-dinner walk with the family a habit.

Draw up i-Spy/Scavenger Hunt sheets and make it a game. Bonus points: It'll tucker them out before bed.
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Draw up i-Spy/Scavenger Hunt sheets and make it a game. Bonus points: It'll tucker them out before bed.

3. Sign up for a charity walk.

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Encourage your child to get sponsors and "train" for the long walk every weekend (with you, of course). Or see if any local animal charities are looking for volunteer dog walkers.

4. Tell them that the television doesn't work on a Tuesday.

Then they'll be encouraged to go outside and play.
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Then they'll be encouraged to go outside and play.

5. Freeze tubes of yogurt and serve up instead of ice cream.

Or make your own by freezing a tube of plain natural yogurt overnight and blending with fresh or frozen fruit. If you'd rather have it plain, you'll need to check on the yogurt every hour or so and stir it to break up the ice crystals that form as it freezes.
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Or make your own by freezing a tube of plain natural yogurt overnight and blending with fresh or frozen fruit. If you'd rather have it plain, you'll need to check on the yogurt every hour or so and stir it to break up the ice crystals that form as it freezes.

6. Make the kids choose the family's exercise.

Many councils offer free days out, cheap gyms, swimming, kids clubs, and subsidised health, fitness, and dance classes. Let your child choose a thing they want to try, and they'll be more likely to stick with it.
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Many councils offer free days out, cheap gyms, swimming, kids clubs, and subsidised health, fitness, and dance classes. Let your child choose a thing they want to try, and they'll be more likely to stick with it.

7. Use natural ingredients to make colourless food more interesting...

Adding turmeric for yellow colour or beetroot juice for purple could be novel enough to tempt the fussiest eaters.
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Adding turmeric for yellow colour or beetroot juice for purple could be novel enough to tempt the fussiest eaters.

8. To get your kids to up their water intake…

…get them to make some fancy ice cubes – just add fruit or even edible flowers to the water before freeing the tray.

9. Use this trick to take the pain out of getting your kids to wear a swimming cap.

10. Keep them regular with pancakes.

If your kids are fibre-food-phobic, make buckwheat or wholewheat pancakes for breakfast one morning, and serve with grilled apple slices.

11. Teach them how monkeys eat bananas.

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Turns out, we've been peeling them upside down for years. Here's how monkeys do it. And which kid DOESN'T want to eat like a monkey?!

12. Keep sliced apples from turning brown in their lunch box with a clean rubber band.

13. Find exercise that suits their hobbies.

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A loud, hyper kid may enjoy a karate class, but your bookish son would rather eat his own hair than go. Instead, plan things like nature walks, literary tours, yoga, or a game of bowling.

14. Change the Wi-Fi password and withhold the new one until everyone has eaten their broccoli.

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If you dare to be that evil.

15. Give food funny names.

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Plain old "broccoli" may make your kid do a face, but "fairy trees" sounds magical and delicious. Baby bunny carrots and Popeye food (spinach) sound a lot more appealing too.

16. Serve up dips.

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Home-made hummus (just throw a can of chick peas, some tahini, lemon juice, and olive oil into a blender), peanut butter, or guacamole (mash an avocado with some fat-free soft cheese) make quick and easy dips to serve with vegetable slices. Also, ketchup counts as one of your five-a-day (we're serious).

17. Invest in a pedometer.

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Then once a week show them on a map how far they would have walked.

18. Make it a game.

While many parents would rather stick a spoon in their eye than take the kids food shopping, try taking them to a local ethnic grocer once a month and let them pick out an unusual fruit or vegetable. It's then their job to "research" on the internet what it is, and how you're going to cook it. The only rule is everyone has to give it a try.
thinkstockphotos.co.uk / Via thinkstockphotos.co.uk

While many parents would rather stick a spoon in their eye than take the kids food shopping, try taking them to a local ethnic grocer once a month and let them pick out an unusual fruit or vegetable. It's then their job to "research" on the internet what it is, and how you're going to cook it. The only rule is everyone has to give it a try.

What are your favourite parenting hacks that help inspire children to lead healthier lives?

View this video on YouTube

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Collect Sainsbury's Active Kids vouchers and hand them to your school or local group who can exchange them for an exciting range of active and cooking equipment, and experiences. Visit the site to find out more.