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September 26, 2022
It’s that time of year—millions of children are heading back to school and into the classroom. And, as exciting as this season can be, parents know that with the increased socialization and close contact that the classroom setting brings, the odds of catching colds, tummy bugs, and viruses also go up.
But that doesn’t mean you’re only option is bulk ordering boxes of Kleenex and tubs of vapor rub. There are plenty of things you can do preventatively to keep your kids well and reduce their risk of coming down with something. Here are our top 4 tips for boosting immunity in your back-to-school kiddos.
Are there tons of pre-packaged lunch options available at the grocery stores? Absolutely. Are they packed with filler-free and nutrient-rich foods? Not so much.
Eating healthy foods full of natural vitamins and minerals offers your child a tremendous boost to their immune system. Now is the perfect time to teach your child about “eating the rainbow” at each meal by incorporating foods in varying colors. Here are a few examples:
RED – Apples, strawberries, red bell peppers, cherry tomatoes
ORANGE/YELLOW – Peaches, oranges, mango, carrots, butternut/acorn squash, and sweet potatoes
GREEN – Broccoli, cucumbers, green beans, grapes, kiwi, and honeydew melon
BLUE/PURPLE – Blueberries, blackberries, plums, and figs
Remember that colored fruits and veggies get their unique hues from micronutrients…the same micronutrients that are so wonderful for your immune system!
We’re not talking about the natural sugars found in fruit. But eating products pumped full of added sugars—and, yes, that includes natural added sugars like honey and concentrated fruit sugars—can increase the risk of developing an unhealthy weight, and diabetes. And over-processed, refined sugars can negatively affect the body’s immune system.
Long story short…save added sugars for occasional treats. Your immune system will thank you!
Most parents underestimate the amount of sleep their child needs. According to the CDC, children aged 6 – 12 years should get anywhere from 9 – 12 hours of sleep each night, and teenagers should be shooting for 8 – 10 hours…yes, really. While it may sound excessive, not getting enough sleep can do a real number on a child’s immune system.
But making sure your child gets good rest can be hard, especially when after-school practices and activities run into the evening hours. You can help by:
While heading back to school is often exciting it can also be stressful, especially if your child is starting a new school or moving to a different campus. And research shows that stress can have an effect on a child’s immune response.
While older students may likely be able to tell you how they feel, younger children may not realize they are experiencing stress so watch for warning signs like head or tummy aches, trouble sleeping, and a shift in behavior that may include increased crankiness or more frequent tantrums. Create consistent after-school routines and be sure to incorporate downtime that allows your child to decompress.
Providing nutrient-rich foods and setting up healthy routines at home will help your back-to-school rockstars stay healthy and well throughout the school year!
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