Basics for Keeping Kids Healthy

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Basics for Keeping Kids Healthy

Siblings back to school
Posted by:
Mary Ann O'Dell, MS, RDN

While back to school is a common time to bolster your kids’ immune defenses, it’s clear right now that good immune defense is needed year ‘round!  After all, if they get sick, odds are you will too, which may lead to lost work time and higher health care costs.

√ Healthy Diet Choices
Start by looking at what food choices you have at home, and what your kids are eating throughout the day. Make sure they have healthy breakfast and lunch options every day. Yogurt and granola, plain instant oatmeal with fruit, nuts and seeds, or a protein shake with fruit are all good options for breakfast. Sandwiches on whole grain bread, hummus and veggies and fruit & cheese kabobs are great options for lunch. For after school, keep the pantry stocked with healthy snacks, and guard against intake of sugar from sweets, soda and juices. Excess sugar can weaken the immune system, making a child more susceptible to infection and illness.

√ Natural Immune Support
To protect and enhance the immune system, add nutrients and herbs that support the body’s natural defense systems and provide ongoing immune support. Taking extra vitamin C and D can be very helpful. Vitamin C is beneficial since it supports white blood cell function, a part of the immune system.  Vitamin D is a nutrient many people, including kids, are deficient in, and yet it is critical to maintaining overall health and wellness. If your child is frequently sick or if you want to give your child additional protection during cold and flu season, use natural immune support herbs such as elderberry and/or echinacea.  Probiotics taken every day are another good way to support and maintain immune health.

√ Quality Rest
For optimum health and immune support, ensure your kids are getting enough rest at night. Healthy sleep is critical for children and teens to help their minds and bodies recuperate each day. Begin good evening rituals, including dimming lights, soft music or a bedtime story, and especially be sure to turn off all devices at least 1 hour before bed to help ease them into nighttime rest.

Keep your kids healthy this year with some basic good lifestyle habits that give your kids the best chance to experience great health now and all year.