by Dr. Marita Schauch, ND –
Now that it’s August your thoughts may have started toward the impending return of the school day (whatever that will end up looking like). You may be feeling at a loss as to how to send your kids back out and keep them healthy in a world that looks a lot different than this time last year.
I think in these times, it’s important to remember the basics. Lay this foundation, so that you can roll with the new and unexpected with greater ease.
1. Plan healthy meals ahead of time. Good food is the cornerstone of good health, but sometimes when you have a house full of hungry kids after a long day of work, the last thing you want to do is rustle up a whole foods dinner.
Stack the deck in your favour by batch-cooking ahead of time: set aside even just two hours on Sunday afternoon and make up some staples (brown rice, black beans, baked chicken, salad dressings/sauces, etc.) and keep them in tupperware in the fridge for easily-assembled meals.
Make-ahead breakfasts also cut down on stress and hassle in the mornings: things like overnight oats, egg cups, and healthy muffins and bars you can grab on the go.
2. Get your kids in the kitchen. The earlier a child can have direct experience with preparing a whole foods diet, the better set up they’ll be for healthy living later in life.
If, however, you make food prep time an activity your kids actively participate in, you’ll have the time and space to teach them some healthy habits – and maybe even create a memory or two in the process.
3. Limit screen time (and try replacing it with physical activity). I would never judge a parent for wanting the sweet relief of parking your child in front of the TV, but consider the implications: screen time has been shown to make children more irritable, exacerbate concentration issues, and in some cases, even create addiction issues.
The best tactic with screen time? Be firm. Set boundaries. And send your kids outside to play and get some exercise rather than setting them up with a movie or video game.
4. Give kid-friendly supplements. Probiotics – There’s a strong correlation between gut health and brain health, so give both a boost in your child by giving them a high-quality probiotic daily.
Omega 3s – These essential fatty acids are integral to proper brain and memory development.
Vitamin D – This one’s especially important for children in Victoria, due to our relatively low sunlight exposure in the fall and winter.
A high-quality multivitamin – A good multivitamin with stress-busting B vitamins and immune supporters like Vitamin C and zinc will power up your child’s health for the winter months.
On a final note, remember this fall that health is a journey, not a destination: if you’re not currently doing any of the recommendations above, don’t sweat it. Pick what looks easiest, and try implementing it with a little help from your family.