Children tend to come out of school ravenous and thirsty. And it’s just so easy for them to reach for the biscuit tin and the sugary drinks.

But pretty soon that sugar high will be replaced by an even deeper low and they’ll be whining for more biscuits. Then tea arrives and they don’t want to eat the real food you have prepared!

So how can we help steer them towards other, healthier alternatives? We want something that is going to give them much-needed energy and maintain a balanced diet.

Anything that is readily available will be an attractive prospect to them and we have a choice about what we buy. What we put in the house and within their reach, they will eat. It is far easier for the bad stuff not to be there, than to say they can’t eat it.

“But I feel so cruel – they love biscuits and Coke,” parents say to me in our group training sessions.  If that feels familiar, why not try ‘forgetting’ to get the biscuits and Coke just once? See what happens! See whether the sky falls in or whether they just look for an alternative snack and drink water or real fruit juice.

Sometimes the children themselves will feel the difference.

Toast and honey, for instance, is far better than most biscuits.  And all high glucose+caffeine drinks should be avoided for multiple reasons. The truth is we grew up without them on tap and survived!

If they have to wait a few minutes, maybe they’ll eat some apple or grapes or a banana while you’re putting the rest of their snack together? Or even better, they can eat some fruit while they prepare it themselves, if they’re old enough to do so.

Sometimes positive parenting calls for a little cunning: you can choose what there is for them to find in the cupboard. And maybe they’ll find they like it!

©Philippa Boston – Philippa Boston is a national trainer for HENRY.