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The Top 4 Nutritional Tips to Help Keep Your Kids Healthy and Balanced this Spring

The Top 4 Nutritional Tips to Help Keep Your Kids Healthy and Balanced this Spring

Helping children stay healthy is always harder during seasonal changes

Winter’s over (at least in theory), and Spring has finally arrived. But all too often for kids, the change of season brings with it not just coughs, sniffles and sneezes, but also listlessness, boredom and acting out at school. And while there’s no escaping the craziness of the weather, there are ways to help your child stay healthy and balanced as the seasons change.

Playing outside – even if it’s cold or drizzly – is important. Experts recommend at least 60 minutes of outdoor activity each day – and not just to keep kids from going stir-crazy indoors! Being outside helps children to top up their Vitamin D (a key immunity nutrient), and the activity helps them sleep better, which further strengthens their immune systems. Plus, it allows them to get away from the cold and flu bugs that tend to flourish inside.

However, eating well is also a cornerstone of healthy immunity. Here are four nutritional tips that childcare health professionals recommend to support kids’ activity levels and immunity and emotional balance.  

Four tips to help your kids stay healthy and active this season: 

1 – ENCOURAGE THEM TO EAT A GOOD RANGE OF FRESH, BRIGHTLY COLOURED FOODS

Dr Joanna McMillan says that, “Good nutrition provides the building blocks of a strong immune system.” But what does “good nutrition” mean in practice?

A rainbow of brightly coloured fruits and vegetables will give children many of the nutrients they need to help fight off change-of-season ills and chills. That’s because the compounds that give these foods their colours are often the same vitamins or antioxidants that our bodies use to support immunity.

The key, says Dr McMillan, is not focussing on any one “immunity superfood”, but rather, offering a range of tasty, nutritious fresh foods.  

2 – ENSURE THEY GET ENOUGH OF THE RIGHT KINDS OF FATS (ESPECIALLY OMEGA 3S)

While fats used to have a reputation for being unhealthy, nutritionists now recognise the essential role they play in our diets. That’s especially true for young children, who can benefit from fats for healthy brain development .

In particular, children need the fatty acids EPA and DHA . Health and Welfare Canada recommends that children under 13 get up to 1.2g of these fatty acids in their diet , depending on their age. One of the richest natural sources of EPA and DHA is oily cold-water fish. If your child can’t eat enough fish to provide this, think about giving them an Omega 3 supplement to make up the shortfall.

Note: You’ll want to look for something that’s specially formulated for children, since the EPA/DHA ratio will differ from supplements intended for adults. Also, check that it’s certified as being free from mercury and other contaminants; and that it actually tastes good to your kids.   

3 – CONSIDER A CHILDREN’S PROBIOTIC FOR HEALTHY DIGESTION

A healthy digestive system is an integral part of strong immunity ; so it’s important to look after your child’s digestion too. A key component of healthy digestion is the level of friendly bacteria (probiotics) in our gut.

Note: there are many different probiotic strains in the supplements on the market today, and not all of them provide the same benefits. You’ll want to check that the probiotic you choose has been extensively researched; and again, that it’s in a form your kids are willing to take.  

4 – DON’T FORGET VIT C: THE “IMMUNITY VITAMIN”

Of course, no discussion about change-of-season wellness would be complete without a mention of Vitamin C: it’s known as “the immunity vitamin” for a reason. Vitamin C helps kids’ bodies by supporting their white blood cells. It occurs naturally in most fruits and vegetables, but is particularly high in citrus and other red, orange or yellow fruits.

Note: while Vitamin C is essential for healthy immunity, it doesn’t do its best work in isolation. Your child’s immune system also needs Vitamin A, Vitamin D, Zinc and Selenium: so if you’re thinking of giving them a children’s Vitamin C supplement, look for one that contains these nutrients too.

Remember: you might not be able to do anything about the weather, but you CAN give your child what they need to help stay healthy and balanced. After all…

“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself in any direction you choose. You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who’ll decide where to go!” – Dr Seuss

 

http://campanelli.sd54.org/pta/files/2012/03/Health-benefits-from-the-Nurse1.pdf
http://www.essentialkids.com.au/special/top-10-immunity-boosters-for-kids-20120417-1x544.html
http://kidshealth.org/parent/nutrition_center/healthy_eating/fat.html#
http://www.webmd.com/diet/who-needs-omega-3s?page=2
http://www.dhaomega3.org/Overview/DHAEPA-and-the-Omega-3-Nutrition-Gap-Recommended-Intakes
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2515351/
 

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The Top 4 Nutritional Tips to Help Keep Your Kids Healthy and Balanced this Spring

Helping children stay healthy is always harder during seasonal change

Helping children stay healthy is always harder during seasonal changes

Winter’s over (at least in theory), and Spring has finally arrived. But all too often for kids, the change of season brings with it not just coughs, sniffles and sneezes, but also listlessness, boredom and acting out at school. And while there’s no escaping the craziness of the weather, there are ways to help your child stay healthy and balanced as the seasons change.

Playing outside – even if it’s cold or drizzly – is important. Experts recommend at least 60 minutes of outdoor activity each day – and not just to keep kids from going stir-crazy indoors! Being outside helps children to top up their Vitamin D (a key immunity nutrient), and the activity helps them sleep better, which further strengthens their immune systems. Plus, it allows them to get away from the cold and flu bugs that tend to flourish inside.

However, eating well is also a cornerstone of healthy immunity. Here are four nutritional tips that childcare health professionals recommend to support kids’ activity levels and immunity and emotional balance.  

Four tips to help your kids stay healthy and active this season: 

1 – ENCOURAGE THEM TO EAT A GOOD RANGE OF FRESH, BRIGHTLY COLOURED FOODS

Dr Joanna McMillan says that, “Good nutrition provides the building blocks of a strong immune system.” But what does “good nutrition” mean in practice?

A rainbow of brightly coloured fruits and vegetables will give children many of the nutrients they need to help fight off change-of-season ills and chills. That’s because the compounds that give these foods their colours are often the same vitamins or antioxidants that our bodies use to support immunity.

The key, says Dr McMillan, is not focussing on any one “immunity superfood”, but rather, offering a range of tasty, nutritious fresh foods.  

2 – ENSURE THEY GET ENOUGH OF THE RIGHT KINDS OF FATS (ESPECIALLY OMEGA 3S)

While fats used to have a reputation for being unhealthy, nutritionists now recognise the essential role they play in our diets. That’s especially true for young children, who can benefit from fats for healthy brain development .

In particular, children need the fatty acids EPA and DHA . Health and Welfare Canada recommends that children under 13 get up to 1.2g of these fatty acids in their diet , depending on their age. One of the richest natural sources of EPA and DHA is oily cold-water fish. If your child can’t eat enough fish to provide this, think about giving them an Omega 3 supplement to make up the shortfall.

Note: You’ll want to look for something that’s specially formulated for children, since the EPA/DHA ratio will differ from supplements intended for adults. Also, check that it’s certified as being free from mercury and other contaminants; and that it actually tastes good to your kids.   

3 – CONSIDER A CHILDREN’S PROBIOTIC FOR HEALTHY DIGESTION

A healthy digestive system is an integral part of strong immunity ; so it’s important to look after your child’s digestion too. A key component of healthy digestion is the level of friendly bacteria (probiotics) in our gut.

Note: there are many different probiotic strains in the supplements on the market today, and not all of them provide the same benefits. You’ll want to check that the probiotic you choose has been extensively researched; and again, that it’s in a form your kids are willing to take.  

4 – DON’T FORGET VIT C: THE “IMMUNITY VITAMIN”

Of course, no discussion about change-of-season wellness would be complete without a mention of Vitamin C: it’s known as “the immunity vitamin” for a reason. Vitamin C helps kids’ bodies by supporting their white blood cells. It occurs naturally in most fruits and vegetables, but is particularly high in citrus and other red, orange or yellow fruits.

Note: while Vitamin C is essential for healthy immunity, it doesn’t do its best work in isolation. Your child’s immune system also needs Vitamin A, Vitamin D, Zinc and Selenium: so if you’re thinking of giving them a children’s Vitamin C supplement, look for one that contains these nutrients too.

Remember: you might not be able to do anything about the weather, but you CAN give your child what they need to help stay healthy and balanced. After all…

“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself in any direction you choose. You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who’ll decide where to go!” – Dr Seuss

 

http://campanelli.sd54.org/pta/files/2012/03/Health-benefits-from-the-Nurse1.pdf
http://www.essentialkids.com.au/special/top-10-immunity-boosters-for-kids-20120417-1x544.html
http://kidshealth.org/parent/nutrition_center/healthy_eating/fat.html#
http://www.webmd.com/diet/who-needs-omega-3s?page=2
http://www.dhaomega3.org/Overview/DHAEPA-and-the-Omega-3-Nutrition-Gap-Recommended-Intakes
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2515351/
 

The Top 4 Nutritional Tips to Help Keep Your Kids Healthy and Balanced this Spring