Keeping Kids Healthy Going Back to School. Having school-age children means we are back in the school routine and that means a lot more early mornings, rushed lunches and homework time. School can be challenging for our kids but they do not have to be challenging for their immune system. Whether your child is new to school or a veteran, there are simple things you can do to help them stay healthy this school year. With so much focus on Back To School shopping — think jeans, pencil cases, notebooks and of course the latest must-have items — it’s easy to overlook the importance of good nutrition and staying hydrated. Getting your kids ready for school with great nutrition habits starts from day one! The following tips will help get your kids ready for a successful school year.
Vitamins Are Key
Children rely on good nutrition to fuel their growing bodies and brains. It’s important to make sure your children are eating healthy, balanced meals to make sure they have what they need for growth and development. But there are many other nutrients that play important roles in your child’s health that are often overlooked.
Vitamins and minerals are necessary for the proper functioning of organs and metabolic processes. They are crucial to fight infection, help heal wounds and maintain healthy skin, hair and teeth.
If you find your child is not eating enough “good” foods to get the necessary vitamins and minerals, a daily multivitamin can help to fill in the gaps. A multivitamin can also be beneficial for children who eat a healthy diet but are picky eaters. It may be hard for them to get the proper nutrition from foods alone if they are selective eaters or growing rapidly.
Add some vitamins and minerals to your child’s diet
Vitamin B: Vitamin B is best known for boosting brain power but it’s also critical for healthy muscle metabolism. If your child is a picky eater or has a fast metabolism, it’s important to make sure he gets enough of this vitamin. You might want to add more whole grains and beans to his diet and make sure he drinks enough milk.
Vitamin C: Vitamin C helps to build strong bones and teeth and also helps the body to fight infection. Make sure your child is drinking enough orange juice and eating plenty of fruits and vegetables that are high in Vitamin C like broccoli, cantaloupe and strawberries.
Vitamin D: Vitamin D is a vitamin that we get mainly from the sun and is extremely important for both physical and mental health. It is believed that Vitamin D deficiency may be linked to a higher risk of developing depression, anxiety and schizophrenia.
Pro tip: Add Vitamin D to your child’s routine.
If you live in a northern climate, it can be hard to get enough Vitamin D during the short fall and winter months. Many kids and teens may not get enough Vitamin D during these months because their Vitamin D levels naturally fall when the days get shorter. Vitamin D is essential for a healthy immune system and the prevention of certain diseases such as asthma, diabetes and certain types of cancer. One way to get more Vitamin D into your child’s daily routine is to use a Vitamin D supplement.
If your child is younger than five years old, ask his doctor before administering a Vitamin D supplement because it is possible for an excess of Vitamin D to cause developmental abnormalities in infants.
Keep a supply of healthy snacks on hand
Healthy snacks are always a good idea, especially during school hours. They can make a big difference in how your child’s day goes and how he performs in class. Try to avoid unhealthy snacks like chips and cookies.
Instead, make sure your child has healthy snacks available. They can be as simple as sliced apples and peanut butter, or raisins and nuts. Be creative and make sure your child has something tasty to hand when he gets hungry.
Remember, it’s best to avoid sugary snacks like cookies and candy and other high-sugar foods. They can cause blood sugar levels to spike and then drop, leaving your child feeling hungry and tired. This is the last thing any student wants! Healthy snacks are the best choice for your child.
Morning is the most important meal of the day
Although it may seem counterintuitive, the best time to eat for a growing child is in the morning. Your child’s body will have enough time to digest the food and get the energy he needs for the day. This is especially true if your child has sports practice or sits in class for a long time each day. A quick breakfast like cereal or a yogurt smoothie with fresh fruit is a great way to start the day.
If your child has a longer morning routine, it’s best to plan a hearty breakfast before they leave the house. A filled tortilla or a handful of oatmeal with fruit and nuts can give your child plenty of energy and the right nutrients to get through the day.
Plan Your Meals
It may seem early to be thinking about meal planning for the rest of the year, but it’s important to start your meal plan before the school year starts, especially if you are a single parent with two or more kids. Once school begins, life becomes more hectic and it’s easy to get backed up with meal prep. If you have a toddler, meal planning can be a real challenge. Having the right tools for the job can make all the difference. Some of the products we recommend are listed below.
Fridge and Freezer Organization - Make sure your fridge is organized and stocked with healthy foods. Having your fridge organized can make all the difference in your family’s health. Having plenty of space in the freezer can help you avoid frozen pizzas and other unhealthy meals. Make sure you are using the space in your freezer and avoid letting it get too full.
Food Storage Bags - Storing your food in airtight bags will help to keep it fresh and prevent freezer burn.
Food Processor or Blender - Having the right kitchen equipment can make it much easier to make meals, especially for single parents with little or no help at home. Having a blender or food processor can help you save time chopping and prepping ingredients for meals.
Don’t forget to hydrate
Water is essential for life and health, but many teens and young adults don’t drink enough water. They may be replacing water with sugary drinks and coffee and not getting the hydration they need. Drinking enough water each day can help with many aspects of health. It can help boost metabolism, improve your skin, reduce cravings, prevent kidney stones and improve sports performance.
Having a water bottle can make it easier to meet your daily hydration goals. Try to avoid sugary drinks and coffee as much as you can and replace them with water. Having water nearby can help you avoid sugar cravings and keep you hydrated.