The summer has come and gone, and just like that, it’s time for another school year. Amidst the chaos of preparing for the academic year (school supply shopping, orientations and activities sign-ups…oh my!!), don’t forget to give equal attention to planning for a great year as it pertains to your kiddo’s health!
As parents, we want to do all we can to make sure our children have the energy, focus, and of course the strong immune system, that they will need to have an amazing year. Here are a few tips to help get you started.
Nourish Them Well
One of the most important things that we can do to impact our children’s lifelong health is to encourage a nutrient-dense, whole foods diet. If your kids are anything like mine, they are constantly being offered junk foods full of chemicals, artificial ingredients, and sugars everywhere they go. As you prepare for the coming year, remember to make plans to have the best choices possible available at your house.
- Incorporate more whole foods in your meals and recipes, such as high quality proteins (choose pasture-raised meats, wild-caught seafood, and unsalted nuts and seeds), plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables (choose non-GMO/organic whenever possible), whole grains, and of course, plenty of good beneficial fats to boost brain power!
- Find ways to reduce sugars and artificial sweeteners, corn syrups and trans-fats.
- Avoid ingredients that your child might be sensitive to, especially if they have any chronic health, behavioral, or immune challenges. If you aren’t sure whether your child has food sensitivities, our practitioners at Longevity Health Center are here to help you identify them!
- Encourage good hydration by offering plenty of water and limiting juices, sodas, and energy drinks, and other diuretics in your home.
Create a Healthy Home Environment and Culture
When it comes to our health, what we put into our mouths is just the beginning. Our kids are rapidly growing and developing. They’re constantly being bombarded with physical and emotional stressors. We all want our children to learn healthy habits so they can guard against emotional and physical stress and lead a long and thriving life. These habits start with you! Here are a few ways you can create a culture of whole and healthy living in your home.
- Allow plenty of time for sleep and rest. Our busy schedules are go-go-go! Your child needs plenty of good-quality sleep to restore and re-energize for the coming day. Just like us, our kids need down-time to recharge their minds, bodies, and spirits.
- Encourage open communication and positive family relationships. Try to protect the family dinner meal time a few times a week, using it as a time to connect and ask about the highs and lows of each family member’s day.
- Limit screen time, and ensure the media that your child consumes is age-appropriate and that its messages align with those that you want your children to receive.
- Teach responsibility by assigning developmentally appropriate chores around the house and care-taking tasks for younger siblings or pets.
- Encourage mindfulness and gratitude by teaching prayer, meditation, and breathing techniques to your kids. Consider participating in worship and community service as a family.
- Opt outside! Take a walk outside after dinner, enjoy an afternoon at the park, plan an annual camping trip, or other ways to spend quality time together in nature.
- Switch to non-toxic personal hygiene and household cleaning products.
- Install drinking and bathing water filtration systems in your home.
Provide Supplemental Support
Despite our best efforts to ensure our children get proper nutrition and learn healthy habits, it’s impossible to do everything perfectly. We are limited by time, budget, and resources, and some things are just out of our hands! Supplements are a great way to give our children extra support. Consider adding the following supplements to your little one’s daily routine.
- Whole Food Multi-Vitamin:
When it comes to a multi-vitamin to supplement your child’s daily vitamin, mineral and antioxidant intake, quality matters. Don’t settle for the popular brands that are loaded with artificial ingredients and sugars. I personally try to give my children nutritional supplementation from food, so the vitamins and minerals can fill in any gaps in their diet! Our family favorite is whole food greens powders. Throw them in smoothies, muffins, or even popsicle treats for your kids.
Product Spotlight: Indigo Greens by Ortho Molecular
Why we love this product: It’s certified organic, loaded with nutrient-dense vegetables, super foods and antioxidant rich fruits and berries. This product is allergen free and the taste and texture can’t be beat!
Believe it or not, your child’s digestive tract should contain over 400 different types of bacteria that work to promote healthy digestive and immune function. Since the standard American diet of processed foods depletes us all of this beneficial flora, it’s important to take a probiotic supplement from an early age.
Product Spotlight: HMF Fit for School by Genestra
Why we love this product: It’s chewable, it tastes great, and it contains over 12 billion live cultures of research-driven probiotic strains to significantly improve immune, digestive, and even respiratory function!
- Omega-3 EPA/DHA
When it comes to the food pyramid that we were taught when we were kids, nutritionists are now teaching us to basically flip it upside down. Once again, the standard American diet is highly lacking in these beneficial fats. Children need these good fats, not only for their rapidly growing brains, but for their eyes, skin, joints, hearts, and even for their hormone production!
Product Spotlight: High Potency Omega-3 EPA/DHA by Barlean’s
Why we love this product: It’s liquid but it tastes and smells great! Also, it’s highly concentrated, with 1,500 mg of Omega-3 EPA/DHA in a single serving!
Be Prepared for When Illness Strikes
Of course we want to rest easy at night knowing that we have done everything that we possible can do to protect our kids from illness, but unfortunately, it’s inevitable that our kids will have an immune response from time to time. And this isn’t necessarily a bad thing! Some studies suggest that common illnesses in childhood actually help us to build immunity for more serious illnesses later in life. Even so, there is nothing that breaks a parent’s heart more than to see their child suffering. When illness strikes, we want to be ready to strike back!
In many cases, antibiotics are not the answer. More and more medical doctors acknowledge that the widespread overuse and misuse of antibiotics is the key contributing factor to the rise of antibiotic resistant infections in our country. Other problems that can result include chronic infections, candida overgrowth, skin ailments, weakened digestive function, food sensitivities, environmental allergies, and weakened immune function. So if we can’t run to the grocery store to pick up a 10-day round of amoxicillin, what can we do? I recommend having an arsenal at the ready! Here are my go-to choices to kick the sniffles to the curb!
- Vitamin D3
Among its many benefits, D3 activates the immune system to defend against invading microorganisms. We get this fat-soluble nutrient through sun exposure, but during the dreary winter months of cold and flu season, it’s often necessary to get it through supplementation. As a general rule, children should take a daily dose of 1,000 IU for every 25 pounds of body weight.
Product Spotlight: Vitamin D3 with K2 by Ortho Molecular
Why we love this product: It’s liquid but virtually tasteless, so it’s easy to get into that picky little one’s mouth. Also, a little goes a long way! 1 drop = 1,000 IU of Vitamin D3.
- Elderberry / Sambucus
Many of the common infections hit our kiddos in their respiratory tract. Those yucky coughs can often linger for weeks after the illness has passed. Elderberries are a great way to boost the immune system and to protect the respiratory tract. They can safely taken both preventatively and during acute illness.
Product Spotlight: ImmunoBerry Liquid by Designs for Health
Why we love this product: Unlike other elderberry syrups on the market, this one doesn’t have sugar (which can be counterproductive while we’re sick!) – instead it’s sweetened with natural berry flavor. It’s also accompanied by Astragalus, Wild Cherry and Shiitake/Maitake Mushrooms. All these ingredients work together to powerfully support immune and respiratory function, and can safely be taken every day!
- Silver Hydrosol
Silver has been used for generations as a powerful first aid tool for a wide variety of ailments. When used effectively, it can provide amazing immune support.
Product Spotlight: Argentyn 23 by Natural Immunogenics
Why we love this product: Argentyn 23 is actively charged with 23 PPM of bio-active, pure silver ions and purified pharmaceutical-grade water, making it more powerful than the other brands. It can be taken for both maintenance, long-term and short-term immune support!
- Antimicrobial Herbs
So many botanicals in nature have antimicrobial properties. These plants are gifts from creation and can be a powerful alternative to synthetic pharmaceuticals to treat a wide variety of infections. But when it comes to herbal blends, quality counts! It’s so important to select reputable brands that you know you can trust.
Product Spotlight: CQ Jr. by Blue Poppy Herbs
Why we love this product: It’s easy to dispense, it tastes great and it works really well!
When it comes to our children’s health, we all want nothing but the best for our kids. No one is perfect…there are steps that each of us can take to promote the physical, spiritual and emotional well-being of our little ones.
During this hectic back-to-school time, Longevity Health is here to be a resource for you! Please come to us with your questions and concerns, and let us walk alongside you to help you raise happy, healthy kids. Here’s to a wonderful school year!