Welcome to Little Steps

Welcome to Little Steps, the step-by-step guide to eating well and being active for you and your family. Take your first little step to a healthier life today.

About the Campaign

Get started

Healthy Meal Planner

Choose your Little Steps

Rainy Days

Activity

Walk for fun and fitness

There are lots of walks all around the country for people of all ages, so get to know routes that are close to you. See here for more information. Make sure you have the right clothes and you won't notice the weather.

Login to Add Step

Go exploring

Buy a local map and go for family cycles or walks every weekend. Make it more interesting by choosing somewhere new to explore every time.

Login to Add Step

Wrap up

Remember, there's no such thing as unsuitable weather - just unsuitable clothing. Wear layers and get a waterproof jacket. A hi-vis vest will help drivers spot you when you are out and about.

Login to Add Step

Get off the couch

Be a role model for your children - if they see you being active and enjoying it they will be more likely to model your behaviour.

Login to Add Step

Dance on a Saturday night

Turn on some tunes and let the whole family bop 'till they drop. Invest in a cheap set of disco lights and take turns at being DJ.

Login to Add Step

Check out local leisure facilities

Check out your local community or leisure centre for winter classes and activities such as aerobics, badminton, table tennis, basketball, dancing, martial arts, cub scouts or youth clubs.

Login to Add Step

Get into gardening

If you have a garden, set aside a patch for your child and let them design and plant their own garden. Digging, weeding and watering all help build in extra activity throughout the day.

Login to Add Step

Get competitive with cleaning

Housework has to be done whatever the weather. Encourage your kids to help with jobs around the house, such as washing the floor or hoovering. Turn the jobs into a competition to encourage them to work up a sweat.

Login to Add Step

Make a game of it

Do active jobs together at home such as hoovering, sweeping, or raking the leaves. If your children have a competitive streak, have a race to see who can get finished their jobs first.

Login to Add Step

Dance it off

Hold a disco or some other activity so that the children can be active and burn up some of the calories they will be eating.

Login to Add Step
  • 'scroll left' button
  • 'scroll right' button

Shopping

Plan your snacks

Let your children have some choice in what their snack foods are. If you agree this with them it will be easier to stick to the plan during the week.

Login to Add Step

Christmas

Little steps for a healthier christmas

Login to Add Step

Stock up on tinned and frozen vegetables

All types of vegetables count towards our 5-a-day - fresh, frozen and canned. Get some for your cupboard to use when fresh supplies are low or worse for wear.

Login to Add Step

Make food fun

Serve party food in interesting ways such as pineapple shells filled with fruit and sandwiches cut into different shapes.

Login to Add Step

Try a new fruit or vegetable every week

Variety is the name of the game with healthy eating and it's great fun trying out new foods together. The more new foods that children are introduced to the more likely they are to have a varied diet.

Login to Add Step

Eat before you shop

It's never a good idea to shop on an empty stomach. You're more likely to rush things, make poor choices and go for a quick sugar fix by picking up an unhealthy snack.

Login to Add Step

Stock up on some quick options

Get some canned and dried nutritious foods for your kitchen cupboard. You can rustle up a healthy meal in minutes with tinned fish and tomatoes, pasta and dried herbs. Or baked beans on toast - super fast and protein packed!

Login to Add Step

Make a list

Write a shopping list before you go, then stick to it as you shop. Planning your meals for the coming week will help you put the list together.

Login to Add Step

Check your trolley before you finish

Is it mostly filled with starchy foods, fruit and vegetables? If not restore some balance by adding some.

Login to Add Step

Love the labels

Learn to read food labels, and take advantage of information that will help you make healthy shopping choices. Compare like for like products and choose those that are lower in fat, salt and sugar.

Login to Add Step
  • 'scroll left' button
  • 'scroll right' button

Mealtimes

Have a fruity dessert

Fruit is naturally sweet and makes a great dessert. Mix some seasonal fruits together or pop some apple or pear in tin foil into the oven while dinner is cooking.

Login to Add Step

Take five with fruit

Cut up a few pieces of fresh fruit and take them to work in a plastic container or freezer-bag. Pop some into your child's school-bag too as a mid-morning snack.

Login to Add Step

Ask for child-sized versions of adult meals

When all that is available for children is things like chicken nuggets and chips don't be afraid to ask for a small portion of healthier adult options.

Login to Add Step

Go traditional with porridge.

Porridge has been a staple for years on the island of Ireland and for good reason. It's tasty, cheap, can be cooked in 3 minutes in the microwave and is full of vitamins and minerals. Use some fruit to sweeten it up instead of sugar or honey.

Login to Add Step

Dish up some healthy starchy foods

Potatoes, rice, bread and pasta form a big part of any meal. So do your best to choose well - go for the wholegrain or wholemeal varieties when you can.

Login to Add Step

Have a glass of fruit juice with breakfast

A small glass of unsweetened fruit juice with breakfast equals one of your 5-a-day portions of fruit and vegetables. More than one glass a day still only counts as one portion.

Login to Add Step

Get the whole family to help

Getting the family involved in cooking can be fun and a learning experience for everyone. Younger children can help tear lettuce leaves for salads. Older children can stir a spaghetti sauce or weigh ingredients.

Login to Add Step

Marinate your own meat

Marinate fresh lean meats like lean beef, lamb or chicken using your own home-made marinades rather than ready-made sauces. You'll cut down on the calorie content of the meal, as well as on sugar and salt. Try fresh coriander and lime juice as a marinade - it's delicious!

Login to Add Step

Choose tomato-based sauces instead of cream or butter

Whether you're dining out or cooking up an Italian storm in the kitchen, try having a tomato or vegetable-based sauce with your pasta. As well as being lower in fat than the creamy or cheesy sauces, they make the dish more colourful and you pack in more essential nutrients.

Login to Add Step

Choose processed meats like sausages and burgers less often

Processed meats are higher in fat and salt and lower in other nutrients like iron and protein than fresh lean meats are. So go for unprocessed meats like lean beef, lamb, pork, chicken and turkey more often than processed meats like burgers, sausages or chicken nuggets.

Login to Add Step
  • 'scroll left' button
  • 'scroll right' button

Snacks

Don’t snack in front of the TV

Most people go into munching autopilot when they're distracted by the TV and don't realise when they're full. It's better if your children don't get into this habit.

Login to Add Step

Yummy scone

Wholemeal scone pieces topped lightly with spread makes a great simple snack for the whole family. Why not top with sliced banana or cheese.

Login to Add Step

Dip into healthy treats

Make healthy yoghurt-based dips, for example yoghurt and mango or yoghurt and mint, and serve with a variety of vegetables, carrot and cucumber slices are perfect and plain breadsticks.

Login to Add Step

Not every day

Limit unhealthy treats to a few times each week and make sure you give them after meals rather than on their own between meals. You could reduce the size to a small packet of crisps or a "fun size" chocolate bar.

Login to Add Step

Need a milk fix? Try a milky mug

For the whole family, why not try a mug of cold or warm milk after school or other snack times. Use low fat or semi-skimmed milk for a fabulous calcium boost.

Login to Add Step

Get creative with children’s rewards

Reward your children with a comic or book instead of sweets or crisps. Other rewards could include an outing to the park or swimming pool or just some time playing with you.

Login to Add Step

Ditch the crisps for home-made popcorn

Popcorn is low in fat and it contains fibre for healthy digestion. Popping your own takes only a couple of minutes, and you can omit salt. What could be easier?

Login to Add Step

Swap sugary drinks for milk or tap water

Milk and water are healthiest. If you drink juice, choose real fruit juice not juice drinks. These have lots of added sugar and very little real fruit. Avoid tooth decay by drinking juice with meals and for young children ideally dilute one part juice to 10 parts water.

Login to Add Step

Get a mix of nuts

Nuts provide a healthy snack for children and there are lots of varieties that children can try. There are no preparation requirements and they provide a nutritional, filling snack for all the family. (Note: whole nuts should not be given to children under 5 years of age.)

Login to Add Step

Bag some fruit and vegetables for home time

We're often starving after school or work, and it's so easy to pick up some crisps or chocolate. Try fresh fruit instead - you can buy different types for everyday to add lots of variety. You can also chop fruit and vegetables into pieces and store in a plastic bag or container to have on the go.

Login to Add Step
  • 'scroll left' button
  • 'scroll right' button

Screentime

Plan for 2 hours screen time a day

TV viewing and computer games can be addictive, so limit your children's screen time to 2 hours a day.

Login to Add Step

Get a TV guide

Get in the habit of planning your TV viewing. You'll find it easier to take control and monitor how much time your family is spending in front of the TV.

Login to Add Step

Make meals TV free

Turn off the TV during mealtimes - better still, don't have a TV in the kitchen or dining area.

Login to Add Step

Have screen-free bedrooms

Don't put a TV or computer in your child's bedroom. Children with screens in their rooms get less exercise, interact less with their families, have poorer diets and get less sleep.

Login to Add Step

Make TV time family time

Instead of buying a set for each member of the family - find programmes that the whole family likes to watch.

Login to Add Step

Set an example

Your children will do as you do, so take stock of your own viewing habits and, if you need to, cut down on your own screen time too.

Login to Add Step

Turn it off if no-one’s watching

Don't keep the TV on in the background - if no one's watching, turn it off.

Login to Add Step

Cut out afternoon TV

Get your children outdoors during daylight hours. Sunshine provides vitamins they need to grow healthily, and playing outside keeps them active.

Login to Add Step

Crowd out the TV

Think of fun things that your family will prefer to do instead of flopping on the sofa. How about a family walk after dinner instead of turning on the TV? Or cancelling the cable or satellite subscription and putting the money towards a special holiday instead?

Login to Add Step
  • 'scroll left' button
  • 'scroll right' button

My Little Steps