Yes, it's that time of year again and just about everyone is thinking about the same thing - keeping the kids (and you!) healthy. Here are some important tips to help keep your family feeling great, full of energy, and doing well in school.
"You are what you eat"
We are what we eat and fall is a great time to reinforce good eating habits. Your children should eat at least 5 servings of fruits and veggies (organic when available) per day - and aim for a colorful variety. It's really quite doable - 1/2 cup blueberries at breakfast, a baggie of carrot sticks & cherry tomatoes at lunch, a small banana as part of after school snack and a cup of steamed broccoli at dinner, and you're there! These foods are full of immune-supporting nutrients including vitamins C & E, zinc and more. Get creative - spiral zucchini for a pasta dish, throw kale into your vegetable soup, or make a bowl of chopped watermelon a delectable dessert!
Make sleep a priority
Make good sleep a habit and a priority. Being short on sleep definitely impacts immune function and makes your children more susceptible to germs. Elementary-age children need at least 9-10 hours of sleep while pre-teens to teenagers require 8-9 hours. It's important to incorporate a bedtime routine for everyone in the family (yes, mom & dad, too!) that includes turning off the television, iPads, laptops, etc. an hour before going to bed. Over stimulated kids have more difficulty falling asleep which can create a vicious cycle of tired kids in the morning. Encourage reading a book or just snuggling and sharing something about your day.
Kids can experience stress, too, which can undermine immune health. We've covered two great ways to help your children deal with challenges - being well-nourished and getting adequate sleep. Being physically active is a great stress management tool for kids as well as adults. Be sure your children are getting enough play time and try to spend as much time outdoors as possible while the weather is still nice. Nature can be a great soother of nerves. And of course, making sharing your day a routine in your family will go a long way towards knowing if your child is having stress.
Because we are all so busy and schedules get hectic, filling in kids' nutritional gaps with high-quality supplements makes sense.
Be sure to take time to prioritize all these good habits to help your children have a happier, healthier and more successful school year.