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

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 wet - in an indoor pool

Swimming is a great activity for the whole family at all times of year. You might not be setting Olympic records but it will still help you and your children towards your daily amount.

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 the most of windy weather

Just because the sun has gone it doesn't mean you can't go to the beach. Wrap up well and try an activity like flying a kite.

Login to Add Step

Take the family for a walk

Instead of flopping in front of the TV after dinner, build an after-dinner walk into your family routine. It will help everyone digest their food and wind down before bedtime.

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

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

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

Teach children traditional games

Playground games such as hopscotch, tag or hide and seek are all good activities. Teach your kids the rules and join in yourself. Once they know the rules they can teach their friends how to play.

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

Shopping

Keep it lean

Ask the butcher to trim off any visible fat. Small servings of lean meat deliver all the nutrients you need and you save money on the extra weight!

Login to Add Step

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

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

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

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

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

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 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

Buy more unprocessed food than processed

Processed foods are higher in fat and salt and lower in other nutrients than food in its natural state. Go easy on the ready meals and choose chicken, turkey, pork and beef more often than processed meats such as luncheon meat, ham and bacon.

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

Mealtimes

Boost your breakfast with fruit

If you have a bowl of cereal for breakfast, add some chopped fruit like an apple, banana or some raisins to boost your fruit intake. And do the same for the children!

Login to Add Step

Add some vegetables to your cooked breakfast

A cooked breakfast can actually be healthy. Add some veggies like mushrooms, tomatoes and baked beans, and go easy on the meat. You'll cut down on the fat content of the meal while getting in some of your 5-a-day of fruit and vegetables.

Login to Add Step

Go fishy

Fish is a great, low-fat source of protein. Include it in your diet once or twice a week. Oily fish like salmon, trout, mackerel, herring and sardines are especially good for your heart. Start the children off with some grilled fish fingers to get used to the taste of fish - you can even easily make your own, just slice up a fillet of any white fish and coat in flour, beaten egg and breadcrumbs.

Login to Add Step

Eat together

It's a fact that young people who eat with their families consume fewer higher calorie drinks, more fruit and vegetables, and less fat both at home and in meals away from the home.

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

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

Grill, steam or bake foods

Instead of frying food, cut down on fat by using healthier cooking methods such as grilling, steaming and baking.

Login to Add Step

Never be fruitless!

Stock up on peaches, pears, and other fruits tinned in their own juice - they make a great addition to porridge, muesli and breakfast cereals.

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

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
  • 'scroll left' button
  • 'scroll right' button

Snacks

Get a water bottle

Whether we are at school, work or play we need to drink regularly. Having a water bottle handy will help remind you and the family to drink regularly.

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

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

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

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

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

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
  • 'scroll left' button
  • 'scroll right' button

Screentime

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

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

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

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

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

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

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