School-year wellness: 5 ways to support children’s immune health

(BPT) – While staying healthy is a priority, your children’s health always rises to the top, particularly during the school season. However, it can be challenging to not only come up with nutritious and delicious meals for your children each day, but also to encourage them to incorporate healthy habits into their daily routines to help support their immune health.

If you’re looking for ways to help support your child’s wellness as busy fall schedules pick up, consider the following tips from Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and children’s nutrition expert Frances Largeman-Roth:

  1. Meal plan together – A healthy diet and immune support often go hand in hand. Getting a child to eat healthy is easier said than done, especially when you’re dealing with a picky eater. To help get little ones invested in the food they eat, try getting them involved in meal planning. Bring your kids to the local farmers market and have them pick out some ingredients for the week. Then come home and choose meals to make with “their” ingredients. This exercise helps show children where food comes from and potentially allows them to meet the people who grow it. This connection between the food kids eat and where it comes from can help create a stronger relationship with healthy food.
  2. Follow the nutrition alphabet – A good rule of thumb for children’s diets is to ensure that their daily meals contain a diverse and rich variety of the nutritional ABCs — aka key nutrients ranging from vitamin A to zinc. With that said, children may have trouble getting enough of these nutrients from diet alone, often due to issues like picky eating. Opt for incorporating a daily, dietary supplement that tastes great, like Emergen-C Kidz Gummies, which contain 250 mg of high-potency vitamin C per gummy to support the immune system and B vitamins to enhance energy*.
  3. Make them a sous chef – Much like being part of the planning process of creating healthy meals, children are also often receptive to being included in the cooking process. Kids as young as 3 can help in the kitchen by washing fruits and vegetables. As they mature, they can be trusted with more complex cooking techniques (with adult supervision) and parents can incorporate subjects, like math, history and geography, in a fun way. When kids take part in the cooking process, they’re more likely to eat the meal they helped make.
  4. Sleep on it – Though summer is in the rearview, some habits — like later bedtimes — can still linger well into the school year. There is a correlation between adequate amounts of sleep and immune health, so it’s important to get kids back on schedule during the school year. Make sure children are aware of expectations for nighttime and morning routines. Posting a schedule on the fridge where kids can see it is helpful for getting them on board.
  5. Get moving – Another important aspect of overall health that can help support your immune system, as well as your child’s, is regular physical activity, whether that’s exercise, outdoor play or just a walk around the neighborhood with the family pup. When walking with children, make sure the route and length of time spent walking is appropriate for their age. The best part? Exercise with family doubles as quality time.

This year, as many kids are back in the classroom, supporting their overall health and wellness is top of mind. By incorporating some of these tips, parents can find comfort in knowing they are instilling healthy habits in their children.

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*This statement has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.