Natural Living: Keeping Kids Healthy Part 1s
As summer comes to an end, kids are anxiously awaiting or dreading their first days back to school. For many families there is more of a routine during the school year, perhaps not as much technology and earlier bed times. Summer is typically a more relaxed time of year for most with spontaneous BBQ’s, late night movies, long days in the sun with friends, sleeping in and eating out.
Most kids thrive with a daily routine and with healthy habits. Here are some important tips to take into consideration when getting your kids back on track for the school year.
Firstly is nutrition! “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food,” Hippocrates. “Tell me what you eat and I will tell you what you are,” Anthelme Brillat-Savarin. I believe most people take this for granted with kids. Instead we think it’s ok to fill them up with pop, sugar laden food and processed and packaged junk. Think about it, you go to the bank and they have a dish of lollipops for ‘good’ kids, your kids go to camp and are pleasantly surprised that they get to eat candy at each break or if they win in a competition, many parents tempt their kids with “if you get this done, I will give you candy,” even at school kids are given sugary handouts. Too much of this does not make for a healthy ecosystem in our kids bodies to help them prosper and thrive. Steer clear from too much dairy! Most people are allergic or sensitive to dairy, it creates phlegm in our bodies, aggravating allergies and decreasing our immune systems making us more susceptible to getting sick. This is a big deal for kids, who are around germs all day long. The Dairy industries recommendations are a farce. You will get more protein and calcium from certain whole grains, like quinoa and dark leafy greens then from dairy and not have to suffer the side effects. Instead, if we focus on whole foods, such as fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds (if there are no allergies), water (not pop or juice), whole grains and clean meat and fish, we will set our kids up for life long health and better success in school.
Breakfast ideas: Steel cut oats with fresh fruit and nuts on top, breakfast skillet or burrito with veggies, green smoothie with an avocado or nut butter, and don’t forget left overs! Many cultures consume food that would be considered dinner here for breakfast, so heat up the left overs, it will take less time and your kids will be healthier for it!
Lunch ideas: lettuce rollups (basically a sandwich in lettuce), salad with beans, avocado and/or meat, soups, and of course left overs! Make sure you put slices of fresh fruits and veggies in their box and a big bottle of water. If you want to share a fun experience with your kids in the kitchen, teach them to make home-made fruit roll ups, bars and smoothies. When your child participates in creating the food, they are more likely to eat the food!
Dinner ideas: Rule of thumb here is home cooked as much as possible! It gets hectic with running kids to and from all of their activities, but handy kitchen tools like an electric pressure cooker and crockpot make healthy and delicious meals quick and easy. Eat early! Eating too late will only make it more difficult to get kids to bed timely and can slow their metabolism.
Stay tuned, next week I will give you more tips about helping your child transition into the new school year and help prevent illness, making for a more balanced and happier family.