Once children start preschool or kindergarten you may notice that life takes on a new routine, especially this year. All of a sudden you go from carefree time to time for reading, writing and ‘rithmetic! Along with this newfound routine, remember a regular intake of food is needed throughout the day to insure proper nutrition and energy. Children require 3 meals and a snack or two; growing brains and bodies need healthy options.
By allowing your child to decide how much food is enough, there is less chance of overeating, and by offering a variety (within reason) when they are hungry there will be a healthy option when they do eat. Avoid sweet or high energy snacks unless activity levels warrant it. Sweets as rewards may lead to problems of overeating later in life, as well as increase their risk of pre-diabetes. One in three adults today is a pre-diabetic or diabetic, and it often begins with childhood eating habits, so let’s make sure we are helping to create good ones.
- Fresh fruits, dried fruit in moderation, fruits packed in natural juice
- Plain yogurt with fresh fruit or nuts and seeds (almond, coconut and oat milk)
- Raw veggies with dip (hummus, guacamole, yogurt dip)
- Deli meat (nitrate free)
- Protein bars
- Homemade paleo snacks (lots of ideas on Pinterest)
- Hard boiled eggs
- Purified or filtered water (half their body weight in ounces)
- Herbal iced tea (hibiscus, peach, raspberry, mint etc)
- Aqua fresca (water and ice blended with a piece of fruit or melon) Great for summer afternoons!
- Keep cold foods cold and hot foods hot if going on a picnic or transitioning to outside for lunch
Encourage Physical Activity
- Limit TV watching especially with all the extra screen time being required this year for school
- Play games in the yard or park
- Teach them to swim or do yoga (both are great lifelong skills)
- Ride bikes
- Take walks
- Remember that not every minute needs to be scheduled. Allow for down time for reading, relaxation and rest.
- Avoid antibacterial soaps and lotions as they encourage superbugs and resistant bacteria. Soap and water are generally sufficient for washing up which should be done regularly.
- Omega 3s are especially good for the developing brain, Calcium Lactate for strong bones and teeth, a probiotic for good gut health (also where the immune system lives).
- Encourage a good sleep routine. An hour before bed prepare for the next day, brush teeth, wash face, a cup of chamomile tea after dinner can help prepare the overactive night owls for sleep, a story or book on tape can make for a pleasant nighttime routine.
To help your child navigate this new academic environment you will want to support their brain health, focus, immune system and self-esteem. If your child starts to experience challenges with any of these aspects of growth, feel free to contact me about natural, non-invasive solutions. As a functional nutritionist I use whole food supplements , homeopathy, Bach remedies, and of course dietary recommendations.
Dr. Virginia S. Irby DC, ACN
2371 Iron Point Rd. Ste 130
Folsom, CA 95630