Commonwealth gold swimmer urges kids to make healthy splash at lunch

A SOUTH Tyneside swimming star is encouraging more primary kids to make the most of their free healthy school meals.

Double Commonwealth gold medallist and Olympic athlete Chris Cook, from South Shields, is highlighting how important it is to eat healthy at a young age,

This September, all infant schoolchildren, which includes reception classes plus Year 1 and 2 pupils, will be entitled to a free school meal at lunchtime – saving parents up to £400 per year.

Chris is keen for mums and dads to embrace the offer, and to encourage children to make wise choices.

The 35-year-old said: “Eating a healthy meal is so vital, not only for our physical development but also for our concentration, attention and state of mind.

“Balance is what makes us become better at anything in life, and food is no exception to this rule.

“With a balanced diet, we enable our body and mind to do what it is designed to do – perform.”

“Lunchtime is the check point for children to take a break and to refuel. If they do this right, then their ability to concentrate increases – leading to an increase in their ability to learn.

“Do this everyday and we give them a fighting chance to be the best they can be.”

The father-of-one’s performance food of choice is a fruit smoothie after training. He said: “You can get so much from a smoothie in one glass, especially if you put some healthy ingredients in there.

“My favourite is strawberry, banana, red berries and skimmed milk, and if I’ve just completed a workout, I’ll add in a bit of protein powder to fuel the body.”