1. I’m having a difficult time deciding what to pack for my kid’s school lunches. What are some healthy, easy options?
When packing lunches include a protein, veggie, fruit and carbohydrate. Proteins can come in more sources than just lunch meat. Peanut butter and jelly can be made many different ways. Try using different kinds of nut butters and different jellies. Hard boiled eggs, chicken, cheese, yogurt, tofu are all other good protein choices. Noodles, tortillas, spelt crackers and whole wheat breads are good carbohydrate choices. Cutting up fruits into different shapes will make it more appealing. Get your kids involved in choosing the fruits and veggies they want to eat. Dipping veggies into hummus will make eating them more fun. Water is always the best option but, it can be difficult to get kids to drink it. Try adding oranges or berries and it will make water appealing.
2. How do I know if my 2nd grade daughter is getting enough sleep? It is difficult to get her up in the mornings.
School aged kids need 10-12 hrs at night, generally. It is best to set a good bedtime routine (Bath, setting out clothes, reading) and allow 30-45 minutes of quite activities before bedtime. Take out the TV, computer, and video games out of the bedroom. If you are having trouble waking up your child in the morning, then try putting her to bed 30 minutes earlier until she is able to wake up easily, or on her own.
3. What can I do to help boost my family’s immune system?
In general, you can support your immune system by incorporating these good habits in your family’s daily routine.
1) Get adequate exercise every day! Individuals who receive 40 minutes of moderate daily exercise cut down sick days by 50%.
2) Eating healthy meals of mainly protein and vegetables stabilizes your blood sugar throughout the day and gives you sustained energy, as well as essential vitamins and minerals. Avoid sugary foods and beverages including soda, fruit juice, and alcohol- 1 tsp of sugar decreases our body’s immune system by 50% for the next 5-8 hours!
3) Stress reduction- Chronic stress decreases the function of our immune system. A daily system of stress reduction either through prayer, meditation, exercise, etc. can help enhance your immune system and overall wellbeing.
4) Simple supplementation-
Vitamin D3 is not only essential for bone health, but also to combat seasonal depression and to strengthen our immune system. Make sure you have optimal levels of Vitamin D3 by asking your doctor to test your 25-OH Vitamin D levels. Optimal levels should be between 50-80 ng/ml. An adult dose of Vitamin D3 is up to 5000 IU/day and a child’s dose is up to 2000 IU/day.
Probiotics- Probiotics are the “good bugs” that keep our intestinal tract healthy and regular. In a recent study, researchers reported that children who received probiotics developed 60% fewer colds, needed fewer antibiotics and missed fewer days of school than the children who did not take probiotics.
Answers provided by Dr. Sonja Fung of Live Well Clinic and Jennifer Van Horn of JeniMom. If you have a health related question you would like addressed in a future Q & A please email email@example.com.
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