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Keeping Kids Healthy Through The Holidays

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I feel there is a lot we can do to support our children’s immune systems. This is ever more important throughout the holiday season. As mothers we know that too much sugar can send the wellbeing of our littles down hill quickly. Since I can remember I’ve heard that sugar makes kids a little wild, or wilder in the case of mine. It wasn’t until I started studying nutrition that I fully came to realize why this is, and the myriad of other side effects this has on their young bodies. So how do I keep our littles healthy through the holidays WITHOUT them feeling deprived?

 

1 - GET OUTSIDE!

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to notice the difference in a child’s energy after being outside for some serious play. And get this - it has actually been proven that sunshine strengths our immune systems. Our bodies need sunshine to make Vitamin D, which is an essential component for a healthy immune system. Notice that I’m saying “our”…. Yes theirs and ours. Best way to keep everyone healthy! Get out and PLAY with your littles this holiday season. Not only are you all guaranteed your daily dose of Vitamin D, being outside has also been shown to enhance moods and improve sleep cycles.

 

2 - GET THEM ONBOARD

Getting your children interested in their own health and wellbeing from a young age is key to keeping yourself sane in a food world that is far from promoting optimal health. I have always offered my children an alternative when it comes to treats. And with this substitute we talk about the differences. I explain the difference in ingredients. The idea of foods made by nature and those made in labs. That being said, my “healthier” option isn’t always something I would consider healthy, but it’s something I can live with. An example of this is keeping a bag of lollipops on hand (hidden) in the house that are not made with toxic food dyes and / or other chemicals that have made their way into to way too many foods. 

We also talk a lot about their gut health. If you haven’t heard much about this it’s time to do some reading. There are a huge number of immune cells in our GI tracts, at least 70% of your immune system is housed in your “gut”. We refer to these cells as our “good bugs” and harmful bacteria and pathogens as the “bad bugs”. When we discuss food choices we identify what might help the good bugs and what could potentially make the bad bugs stronger. My 5 year old daughter is always saying “It might be yummy for your mouth but it’s yucky for your tummy”. They get it!

 

3 - STAY COMMITTED TO THE BASICS

It can be a challenge for most of us to stay on track this time of year. I’d say it’s not necessary that we STAY on track but that we stay ready to get back on track at any moment. This is all about keeping the essentials for overall health. 

~Prioritize sleep - if you have a late night, make the next one an early night or have a nap. 

~Keep water consumption up - This is very important with little ones. When they get busy in play they often forget all about it. Even slight dehydration (noted by feeling thirst) can lead to digestive delays in your littles. And this brings us back to bug conversation... not good. Keep them hydrated.

~Snack well - Keep good quality protein and high quality fats on hand, prepped and ready for snacks when they come looking. The treats will be around in abundance so don’t worry about those. I like to have a few varieties of locally made sausages (free from preservatives and weird ingredients), olives, paté and raw nuts stocked at all times.

Keeping your littles (and yourself) healthy takes some extra planning when schedules are abandoned and goodies are everywhere but it is DOABLE. Have fun and “play” with your food. There is a lot of power in food, fun and sunshine.

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