We feel a little dizzy saying it, but back-to-school health prep starts now!
Investing in your child’s (and your own) health starts with the foundations. Here are 5 simple, sustainable steps that can go a long way in setting a strong foundation for a happy, healthy & resilient season.
Get Your ZZZ’s, Please
Summer sunsets and late nights ‘round the campfire aside, getting a good night’s rest is essential to having happy moods and ready-to-learn days. Sleep deprivation is associated with numerous disorders including immune dysfunction (increased risk of infection) and depression. One simple way to spot-check whether your child is getting the sleep they need is if they wake without the help of parent or alarm clock with the time needed to get ready for their day. If not, get a head start now, scrolling back the bedtime by 15 minutes earlier each night until they wake more rested.
2. Sack Sugar.
Refined sugars – such as those found in pop, sweetened fruit or dairy beverages, yogurts, candies, cookies and many processed foods, tend to be compelling in flavor to kids but can lead to blood sugar spikes and crashes that affect their learning, mood, and immune function. The European Society for Paediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology recommends minimizing refined sugars in kids.
In contrast, naturally-occurring sugars in whole fruits, breastmilk or infant formula, unsweetened cow/goat/sheep milk products are considered a healthy part of a child’s nutrition. Easy ways to reduce refined sugar are to replace sweetened beverages and fruit juice unsweetened dairy beverages or water, replacing sugar-containing desserts with fruit, and offering more proteins, veggies and whole grains to keep kids energized, interested, and feeling full.
3. Slay Stress.
There’s no doubt about it: Kids are facing more than their usual share of stress since the onset of the pandemic. A 2021 study found that Canadian children with and without pre-existing mental health conditions, rates of anxiety, depression, irritability and difficulty focusing have increased. Stress can also show up in apparently physical symptoms, including, headaches, tummy troubles, or frequent colds. Art and music, sports, playing with friends, nature time, and having unconditionally loving social connections all offer therapeutic stress relief. Gentle naturopathic remedies to ease stress and support physical and mental resilience can be personalized to support each child.
4. Eat “4” Energy.
Mom was right: eggs are “brain food”. Protein and fat keep us feeling clear-minded because they help prevent blood sugar dips (you know that mid-morning carb / coffee craving?) Start the day with protein – egg muffins, tofu scramble, a big dollop of almond butter in your oatmeal, full-fat Greek yogurt, or leftover meat, fish or stew from last night’s dinner are great choices. Encourage your child to drink at least their full water bottle throughout the day, or pack a refreshing herbal iced tea (we love licorice tea for kids – it’s naturally sweet and is a good herb for their immune system).
5. Supplement Smart.
Do kids need supplements? Some children need more nutritional support than others, and for various individual reasons. A good foundational back-to-school supplement routine for kids could include vitamin D and children’s probiotics for immune health, and an omega 3 (fish oil) to support optimal brain health and mood. There are also kid-friendly herbal remedies that are traditionally used to prevent and reduce the severity of illness during the cold and flu season.
Book an appointment to talk to us about choosing supplements, remedies, and nutritional boosts for your child’s school year!