A healthy diet
- Always try to have breakfast. If you don't really like breakfast, try having a banana or some unsalted nuts. Those are things you can eat on the move if you're late. You should always have a drink when you get up. It’s probably been many hours since you last had one.
- Try to eat lots of fruit and vegetables. Not keen on veg? Try chopping it up small and mixing it with other things.
- Eat wholegrain foods, like wholemeal bread, porridge and digestive biscuits. These have lots of fibre (roughage). Fruit, vegetables and beans also have lots of fibre. Open this factsheet to read more about fibre.
- Don't skip meals. Your body will work better if it has regular meals. You’ll feel better too.
- Need to snack? Try fruit, wholegrain toast or fruitcake instead of crisps or sweets. You might not think they taste as nice at first, but lots of fruit (like grapes or strawberries) are very sweet and tasty.
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Drinking enough water
- If you don't need a wee at least once or twice during school time, you're not drinking enough!
- Have a drink before you go to school. Fruit juice is always nice with breakfast. You can dilute it with water if it's too strong. A glass (at least 150ml) of fruit juice counts as one of your five portions of fruit and veg a day. More than one glass doesn’t count though, as fruit juice doesn’t have the fibre you get from eating frozen, fresh or dried fruit and veg.
- Try to have 6 – 8 glasses of water a day. If you’re a boy aged 14 and over, 11 glasses a day is about right. We all need to drink more if it's hot, when playing sport or just running around the playground. It’s a good idea to take a plastic bottle of water with you when you’re going to play sport or do other activities where you’ll be moving a lot. You should try to drink before, during, and after your exercise or activity.
- Try to space your drinks out during the day. If you have all your drinks when you get home, you could feel tired during the day. Also, your bladder might need you to go to the toilet during the night or you could have a wetting accident.
- If you don't like water, you could try adding a bit of squash or fruit juice. Or, if you fancy a change, float some lemon, lime or orange slices in it.
- In summer, keep a jug of water in the fridge. It will taste better! Add some ice too, if you like.
- In winter, have warm drinks like warm milk or herbal or regular tea. You could have nice warm soups too!
- You need to drink water at school to keep you healthy and awake in lessons. If the water fountain's horrid, bring your own water bottle in. Or you could talk to your headteacher about having proper water coolers (like they have in offices). Have a look at www.wateriscoolinschool.org.uk for more about water in schools.
- Not thirsty? That doesn’t mean you don’t need a drink! Remember to drink regularly even when you’re not thirsty.
- Water is better than fizzy drinks, but fizzy drinks are better than nothing!
- Mind you, don't have too many as they can contain lots of sugar and acid that harm your teeth. Even sugar-free (diet) drinks can be acidic and damage your teeth. It’s best to have fizzy drinks as treats – like when you’re at a party.
- Caffeine is in cola, coffee, tea and chocolate. Coffee has the most. Some people can have loads and be fine. For others though, it can make you wee a lot. It can also make you go a bit hyper and give you trouble sleeping at night.
- Avoid coffee, tea, citrus juices (orange, grapefruit, lemon) and alcohol if you have a bladder infection (e.g. cystitis) as they are likely to make your infection worse. Drinking at least 300ml of cranberry juice each day may help to prevent bladder infections.
- If you suddenly start drinking more than you used to, at first you will wee more. That's OK. Your body will get used to being nice and hydrated after a bit and you'll stop needing the loo quite so often.
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- You know if you keep your arm very still, after a while it starts to feel stiff and achey? Well, the same thing happens to your bowels. If you don't exercise enough, your guts (intestines) slow down and don't push your poo out often enough. Being full of poo is really uncomfortable!
- You should try to exercise for at least an hour a day Think that sounds a lot? What about when you run around in the playground? Or dance to your favourite group? Exercise doesn't have to be one hour all at one go. So long as you're moving about quite a bit - that counts as exercise! Walking slowly or reaching for the remote doesn't though.
- Don't like sports? Try dancing or skipping.
- Walk to school if you can – if your friends walk with you, you'll have people to chat to!
- If you take the bus, you can get off a stop earlier and walk the rest of the way. If your friends won't get off and walk with you – show them this!
- Try to work extra exercise into things that you do every day. If you're out shopping, for example, you could take the stairs instead of the lift.
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Learning good toilet and hygiene habits
Here are some tips on going to the toilet. These will help you to feel better about going to the toilet and will help to keep you healthy.
- Go to the toilet after a meal. Eating food helps to get the bowels going, so you might find it easier to do a poo after a meal.
- Don’t rush! Take your time and relax. We know this is not always easy at school.
- Make sure you empty your bowels fully. Even if you have a poo, you might need to sit there and do another one.
- Get up a few minutes earlier in the morning. This may sound like a bad idea, but it should give you time to have a poo after breakfast if you need to.
- If you need to have a poo, try to go and do it as soon as you can.
- If you really can’t do a poo in the school toilets, remember to go to the toilet when you get home. The poo will still be there!
- When you have a wee, try to relax your tummy muscles and wait for the wee to come out by itself (don't press or squeeze it out)
- Make sure you don't stop before you've finished! Your bladder should be empty when you've finished going to the toilet
- Be careful of toilet hygiene: wipe yourself properly with toilet paper after going to the toilet and always wipe your bottom from front to back. If you wipe your bottom from back to front, bacteria (germs) can travel up the short tube (urethra) to the bladder and cause infection
- Use white unbleached toilet paper
- Wash and dry your bottom and front part daily but gently, especially after exercise
- Avoid tight, synthetic clothing. It's better to wear cotton knickers or pants. Try to wear cotton clothing that isn't too tight
- Avoid perfumed soaps, gels, bubble baths, flannels, vaginal deodorants and douches. These can irritate the bladder and cause infections like non-bacterial cystitis. Non-bacterial means that bacteria (germs) are not present but the symptoms are just as distressing
- It is better to have your clothes washed in non-biological washing detergents
Remember, everyone in the world has to go to the toilet. It’s nothing to be embarrassed about. Just because people don’t talk about it very much doesn’t mean they’re not doing it!
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