7 Tips to keep your child healthy, focused and energetic as they go back to school!
As the new school year begins it brings with it some stress and organisation challenges, but also the opportunity for a fresh start. However, as we head into Autumn & Winter and the classrooms start to fill up with germs this time of year brings its own health challenges also!
Colds, chest infections, sinus infections and general tiredness and lack of energy are but some of the issues that present at this time of year.
Children are particularly susceptible to these health challenges and there are many reasons for this.
• Shorter daylight hours
• the physical and mental demands of school
• poor eating habits
• lack of proper rest and sleep
• overexposure to screen time, to name but a few
And as kids get older the stress of a heavy workload for exams plus developmental changes cannot be underestimated. All of this can lead to a compromised immune system, poor concentration, low mood and poor energy levels. The following are some helpful tips that may help your child stay healthy and happy, while also improving concentration, memory and energy levels.
1. Start the day the right way!
A good healthy breakfast helps your child to stay active and concentrate at school. It also helps to stabilise blood sugar levels which means they are less likely to feel hungry during the morning and be more likely to stay focused on what they are learning.
Try to avoid giving them sugary cereals, biscuits, muesli bars or breakfast bars as this may lead to poor concentration, lack of energy and a weakened immune system.
A few examples for healthy breakfast options:
– Scrambled free range eggs with a slice of wholemeal seeded bread
– Freshly squeezed orange juice with some mashed avocado on wholemeal bread
– A healthy oat porridge with a sprinkle of Chia seeds or Flax seeds.
If they won’t eat porridge, you could try an ‘overnight oats’ recipe which doesn’t look like porridge so it can be more appealing! Plus the added advantage to overnight oats is they can be prepared the night before, left in the fridge and you have an instant healthy breakfast the next morning.
2. School lunches
A healthy school lunch is very important when it comes to the well being of your child. However, it can be difficult to come up with new ideas in order to keep it tasty and interesting.
Your child won’t get the range of nutrients they need if they are consuming sliced white bread with processed meats and cheese, crisps and a chocolate bar!
Also as children get older they can develop tendencies for sweet or savoury cravings. This can be prevented by providing a healthy breakfast and lunch. The key point is to include a wide variety of fresh foods as this will offer more of a nutritional balance for your child. Don’t be afraid to try something new and different.
Sandwiches don’t have to be the main food in the lunch box but if they are using a good quality wholemeal bread and not ‘sliced white bread’! Wholemeal wraps, pittas, oatcakes, rice cakes and cracker bread are good options. You can add some hummus or guacamole which are great sources of good fats and are high in protein.
Other sources of protein that will benefit your child are lean free-range chicken or turkey, free range boiled eggs, seeds, nuts, seed and nut butters, sardines or tuna.
Snacks are an important part of a healthy diet for active, growing kids. Try to avoid or limit processed dairy products such as fruit yoghurts [some can contain 3 or 4 teaspoons of sugar]!
It is also advisable to avoid giving your child a habit of having snacks like crisps and salty nuts, processed white flour items and processed meats like luncheon rolls, packet meats such as salami or ham, processed cheese.
Fill up the lunch box with nutritious fruit and veg such as the ones below … these are healthy nutritious snacks and kids love them.
• small apples
• fruit salad
• celery sticks
• or peeled carrot sticks together with some Irish cheese
Proper daily hydration is essential for a variety of reasons, better concentration being just one of them! Try to get your child used to drinking fresh water but preferably not from plastic bottles. [Your local health food store will have lots of healthy alternatives to plastic bottles.
You might like to try giving them some fruit infused water to encourage them, don’t be surprised if they like it ! Avoid giving your child high sugar alternatives such as fizzy drinks, cordials, sweet juices or soft drinks.
Physical activity is an important part of a healthy lifestyle. Children spend many hours each day inactive in the classroom. So it is very important to encourage your children to do something active each day, such as hobbies, games or sport.
Get out and move with them which can be fun for all the family and remember if they see you being active you are teaching yet another valuable life skill.
Sleep plays a key role in your child’s performance and mood! Getting back into the routine of a regular set bedtime is key.
Overexposure to ‘screen time’ can be a big issue when it comes to your child not being able to fall asleep quickly, so it is advisable to minimise blue light exposure as it gets closer to bedtime.
As we head into the winter season our bodies need for certain nutrients changes. Classrooms tend to be breathing grounds for coughs, colds, bugs and viruses so a good way to take care of your child [and yourself of course] is to take some supplements as a preventative measure.
Next step …
Pick one or two items from the list and start to implement them immediately. Then once you have that in place, move on to another thing you would like to incorporate or change.
If you need further assistance on any of the above or have any questions you need help with, just message us by clicking HERE
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