Ten Tips on How to Keep Your Kids Healthy During the School Year
Staying healthy in the fall may seem impossible. It may seem like every other week, the entire house is coming down with one kind of sickness or another.
But I’m here to ease some of that stress, mama. Whether you need recommendations for staying healthy in childcare or tips for good habits for school kids to bounce back, this article is for you.
Good Habits for School Kids
Pack Healthy Lunches
While school lunches offer kids basic nutrition, they are not optimized for nutrient density. Instead of relying on school lunches, pack your kids (or better yet, have them help) a nutrient-rich lunch with healthy fats, proteins, and colorful fiber. This can keep their energy high and their brain functioning optimally through those rough afternoons.
Protein ideas: organic free-range hard-boiled eggs, organic chicken or other meat chunks, beans, nuts, nut-butters
Healthy fat ideas: chia seed pudding, nuts and seeds, nut butter, avocados, extra-virgin olive oil or coconut oil, and grass-fed butter
Healthy colorful fiber: baked sweet potatoes, vegetables, fruits, beans, quinoa
Offer Whole Food Snacks
Most snacks that are marketed toward children and kids are filled with nasty ingredients that weaken their immune system (excessive amounts of sugar, artificial flavors/dyes/sweeteners, preservatives, and fillers).
Find brands that pride themselves on healthy ingredients or a few whole food ingredients. Or better yet, make eating whole foods the norm. Berries, jerky, apples, oranges, nuts, turkey slices, and avocados are simple yet nutritious snack ideas
Studies show that sleep deprivation can leave you more susceptible to sicknesses. Following a regular bedtime routine can keep the entire home (including yourself) consistent. This will help boost immunity, mood, energy, and more!
Keep Them Active
Encourage your kiddos to join a sport or pick up a hobby that gets them moving. This helps with mental health and a balanced microbiome. Be the example by getting active yourself. Family walks, bike rides, and nature walks are great ways to be active as a family. Even if it is just for 15 minutes, head to the park in the evening for the sunset and fresh air!
Make Outdoor Playtime the Norm (no matter the weather!)
Allowing your kids to play in the dirt can help their immune systems. Microbes in the soil can help their microbiome health. Get them playing in the woods, helping with the garden or landscaping, or simply playing in the puddles on a rainy day.
Limit Screen Time (especially in the evening)
Blue light, especially in the evening and night, can mess with their sleep-wake cycle, making it harder to fall asleep and experience quality sleep. Blue light exposure sends signals to your brain that it’s still daytime, affecting your circadian rhythm.
Use Non-Toxic Products in the Home
You may not be able to control their environment outside the home, but you can control what occurs inside your home. Making your home a non-toxic environment can help reduce their toxic burden and support their immune system function better year-round.
Instead of your body attempting to eliminate toxins, fragrances, chemicals, heavy metals, microplastics, and dust, it can focus on the real threats like harmful viruses, bacteria, and pathogenic invaders.
Swap Out Sugary Drinks with Healthy Alternative (especially for your sports kiddos, ditch that Gatorade)
It’s common for kids and high schoolers to chug high-sugar and artificially flavored drinks to stay hydrated, especially during sports. But these can cause blood sugar dysregulation, metabolic chaos, energy crashes, and weakened immune systems. Stick to high-quality filtered water, fruit and herb diffused water, and coconut water instead.
Personalized Supplementation for Kids
I don’t recommend supplementation all the time, but it’s good to have supplements on hand for when they are needed.
For example, even though I’m a huge gut health advocate, I don’t think kids should be on probiotics every day of the year. However, probiotics may be helpful if they are fighting an infection, skin issue, or if sickness is going around daycare/school.
Remember…your kids can’t and shouldn’t avoid all bacteria and viruses!
Exposure to bacteria and viruses helps build up your kid’s immune system for later in life. The key to keeping kids healthy is to keep your kid’s body healthy and functioning optimally, so it can respond appropriately to the foreign pathogen it faces. This way, your kids can rebound quickly or may not experience symptoms at all, instead of having to curl up on the couch for five days and miss school to recover.
Implement these “healthy habits for school kids” to keep your kids healthy (even for staying healthy in childcare, which is a challenge for most!).