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  • Writer's picturemichellepick5andpr

Five Tips for Healthy Kids!

~ Michelle Tonkin ND

 

We love our children, our nieces, nephews, grandkids, and we want them to stay healthy.  However, in today’s fast paced modern world, it can be a struggle to encourage healthy habits in our children. Children’s growing bodies need not only the right nutrients in order to thrive, but also important healthy lifestyle habits. So here are 5 TIPS to helping our kids stay or get healthy!

 



TIP # 1

 

1.)   Diet- 

 

Adults and children need the same nutrients to thrive, children however depending on their age need them in different amounts.  American Heart Association (AHA)  has some nutritional guidelines they suggest for kids based on their age.

 

For example, smaller children will require less calories than adults and teens, they suggest that a one-year-old child consume around 900 calories per day while a 14–18-year needs about 1,800 to 2,200 calories depending on activity levels and gender.

 

Children also require higher amounts of fat than adults. For example, a child within the ages of 2-3 should get about 30-35% of their calories from fat, while a child age 4-8 should get around 25-35% percent of their calories from fat. An adult however should only be getting around 5-6 percent of calories from fat in their diet. 

 

So, what exactly is a healthy diet for kids 2 and older?


 

The best diet for kids is one that the whole family can enjoy! When you make a meal that everyone will enjoy and that is healthy it benefits the entire family and encourages healthy eating habits.  Try to eat at least one meal per day together to encourage healthy eating and eating 3 meals per day that consist of healthy nutrient dense foods. Snacks can also be healthy too (like celery with almond butter and apples, trail mixes, veggie chips etc)

 

What types of nutrient dense foods:

 

The kids’ plate will be a smaller plate than the adult- like a small serving plate and on that plate, you want to have at least half of that plate filled w fruits and veggies. Also make sure to include on the plate a good form of protein (like chicken, fish, eggs, nut butters, nuts, beans and rice, turkey etc.) and some type of good carb is important- root vegetables, (sweet potato, squash, white potato, rice, whole or gluten free grains, quinoa, millet, etc.) and also make sure to include some healthy fats which can include one of the following (butter, avocado, coconut, flax, olive oil) in small amts.

 

For drinks- plenty of water, low-fat organic milk, 100% fruit juices only (and I suggest diluting it to cut sugar)

 

Keep junk food and processed foods to a minimum, as they are empty calories and devoid of good nutrition.  They should be considered a “treat” and not a part of the regular diet. Try to avoid having junk food in the house as it will be a cause of temptation for you and the kids.   Set a good example by healthy eating.

 

What to do if your kid is PICKY?



Kids often grow into their taste buds and are discovering the kinds of foods they like and can also just be picky.  “With young children, a certain level of pickiness is normal,” says Angela Lemond, a dietitian in Plano, TX. “After all, they’re experiencing new foods and flavors for the first time.”


There has been research that shows that about 20% of parents are dealing picking eaters from the ages of 2-5. Most times, these kids will outgrow this stage, but what can be done in the meantime to get your child to eat and to eat the proper nutrition?

One of the first things kids will say to a food they don’t like is that it tastes gross or yucky!  Dietitian Lemond says: “In general, children are hardwired to like sweeter flavors,” “Because they’re growing so quickly, they naturally want higher-calorie foods.”

Also interesting to note that about 1 in 4 people are born with a specific gene that makes them more sensitive to bitter tastes. Which could be why your child won’t touch those Brussel sprouts or cauliflower on their plate.


The solution?


Don’t throw the cauliflower out with the sink water… or in other words- try a different approach- research shows that a kid may need a certain food on their plate 5-10 times before they will eat it.  So, try it in different forms- maybe disguised in a soup, a salad, a puree, or even some type of cooked dish. Or even try with a food that they like- for example if they like carrots try adding the new veggie with it and perhaps consider even adding a little dip.  A dip on the side can increase the odds in your favor as in one study done kids were 3x as more likely to eat those raw veggies when accompanied by their fave dip!

 

They aren’t hungry at meal times ?


If this happens on occasion, don’t worry, as around age 2 growth can slow down So it could be that your child doesn’t have much of an appetite on a particular day,” says Maryann Jacobsen, RD, a San Diego-based dietitian.


Also be careful with all those snacks, if they are filling up with snacks and fruit drinks etc. close to mealtimes they won’t be hungry.


They say NO! 


Most parents know this can be a popular word for toddlers who are trying to claim their toddler independence.  “It’s a natural part of development,” Jacobsen says.

So, what do you do?  Be careful not to turn mealtimes into a power struggle, for example ordering your children to eat their peas, broccoli, cauliflower etc. they may end up avoiding that food later in life and be careful with bargaining as well- for example you can have desert if you do this.


Instead try to encourage your children to make good decisions- “You can discuss the benefits of certain foods,” Lemond says. “With my son, I explained how eating broccoli could help him with his goal of being a good soccer player.”


Food Allergies- Hidden food allergies (wheat, dairy, nuts, corn, beans, which could be upsetting their stomach or depriving energy) Check with their pediatrician if certain foods are continually avoided or producing symptoms.

 

How to build healthy habits



1-Have options- having a few different dishes available to choose from can keep the family mealtime from becoming a battleground.  For example, if you’re having an Italian dinner- have the meat, noodles, sauce, bread, salad set out in a family style. Your child might just end up having the noodles and sauce, but that’s OK,” Jacobsen says.

2- Be careful with distractions like phones, tv, games etc.… you want your children to be focused on eating and not playing or watching tv.

3- don’t play short order cook: If your child refuses to eat what you are serving you may feel tempted to cook a different meal or offer a PB&J sandwich, be careful though as this can create a scenario the child demands their own meal each time. “If she’s hungry, give her some fruit to tide her over until the next snack or meal,” Jacobsen says.

4- have them help- involve the kids in helping with the meal- even if it's just picking out what fruits and veggies to make up or rinse. The older ones can peel potatoes, or even just watch and see how to cook, it makes them feel like they are involved, and also teaches them. You can even have them help pick out the veggies and fruits they want with their meals.

5- Set a good example- one of the biggest things is being a role model- letting your children see you eat healthy will set them a good example of wanting to eat healthy as well. “You can also make trying new foods fun,” Lemond says. A cool idea is to have a number of different dishes and do a taste test, everyone in the family can rate the foods on a scale from 1-10.

 

 

TIP # 2


  Exercise

 



Besides good nutrition both adults and kids benefit from daily exercise. A study shows that around 17 percent of children ages 2-19 are obese (that’s 12.7+ million American children and one in 8 preschoolers are obese).  This can set children up to become overweight as an adult.

 

With all the technological advances that we have, computer, tv etc. kids are spending more time online and less time outside or exercising which can contribute to weight gain.  It's important that we bring play time back for our kids- limit the amount of screen time they get. Whether that be on their phones, iPad, computer, or tv. And make sure they are getting at least 60 minutes of exercise (2 -30 min of activity or 4 -15 activity) on a daily basis- whether that’s going for a walk, swimming, jump rope, playing on the playground, playing with friends etc., they can even do a little workout w mom and dad. If you’re child isn’t used to exercise have them, slowly get up to the recommended one hour of exercise. Start with 5-10 mins and work up.

 

TIP # 3

 

2.) Immune Support:

 

Kids also need immune support, along with their growing bodies and increase in demand for nutrition, they also need to support their developing immune system.  Here’s 3 great immune builders that kids will love.

 

1.)    Food Based Multi for kids:  Food based multivitamins are basically multi that come from food sources making them non-toxic and a great alternative to synthetic based vitamins. They are also in kid dosages making them ideal for growing bodies.


 

2.)   Bovine Colostrum: Colostrum is a newer recognized supplement on the market that has proven beneficial to the immune system.  “Colostrum is the pre-milk fluid produced from the mother's mammary glands during the first 72 hours after birth.  It provides life-supporting immune and growth factors that ensure the health and vitality of the newborn.” ~www.newlifefoods.com/FAQs_colostrum.shtml


Research has shown that colostrum has powerful natural immune and growth factors that help bring the body to a state of homeostasis, or well-being.  Colostrum has also been shown to help support healthy immune function, enabling us to resist the harmful effects of pollutants, allergens, bacteria, and viruses.  Colostrum, the Second Immune System

Apart from mother’s milk, the only known viable source of colostrum is from cows (bovine).  As we age, our bodies gradually produce less immune and growth factors that help our bodies fight off disease and heal damaged body tissue.  Because of the HGH (human growth hormones) in colostrum, it has the ability to help with tissue repair and healing and is especially helpful in cases of compromised intestinal tracks, like “leaky gut syndrome”. 

Colostrum has the ability to help with tissue repair and healing.


“In the last decade, scientific research has shown that the molecular combinations of immune and growth factors in (bovine) colostrum are uniquely identical to human.  Research has also shown that only bovine colostrum is not species specific and can work in humans and lower mammals.” ~

 

3.)   Elderberry is a berry and is the fruit of a plant known as Sambucus. This fruit can vary in color from black to dark blue and has a pleasant taste-making it often found in jams, jellies, syrups etc.

Most children love elderberry because of its sweetness and its good for them! You can put elderberry jam on their bread or bagel, or you can bake with it! You can even add some syrup to your Sunday roast!


Some health benefit of elderberry for kids:


*COLDS/FLU

Great against colds and flu as it has natural antiviral properties to help protect the immune system from viruses and bacteria. Boosting immunity.

Helpful against constipation as it is rich in dietary fiber, making it great for gut health.

*Anti-oxidant

Contains high level of antioxidants known as phenol. Protects against free radical damage.

*Protects your child’s heart

These antioxidants are also great for heart health.

*Boosts Immunity

Rich in vitamin C- boosts immunity.

*Natural Detoxifier

The antioxidants flush out harmful toxins and free radicals.

*Cancer Fighting Ability

“Elderberries have the ability to protect your child from cancer. Research conducted at the University of Portsmouth has evaluated that elderberries have the potential to fight off the pathways causing tumor formation.”

*Protects Eyesight

Rich in Vitamin A and other minerals that are great for eye health.

*Anti-inflammatory Properties

Has anti-inflammatory properties, great for pain and inflammation.

Lycopene present is great for bone health. Also contains Vitamin K and Calcium.

*Cleanse & Protects the Liver

Help to clean and protect the liver, excreting toxins.

*Improves Respiratory Health

Improves respiratory Health through Vitamin C, a natural antihistamine and antioxidant.

*Good for Skin

Vitamin A and C in elderberry is great for skin health, the potassium protects against harmful UV rays, and antioxidants help protect against environmental pollutants.


Elderberry for Kids: Precautions

You should always consult with your doctor before starting with elderberry syrup. It is mostly due to the high acid and fiber content of the fruit.

·        If there is a history of citric allergy in your family, then it is better to avoid giving grapefruit to your child. It might cause adverse effect.

·        You must check whether or not your baby has any allergic reaction elderberries. You must stop immediately if he/she shows any signs of intolerance. There are chances that your child might suffer from hives, abdominal pain or even severe diarrhea.



4. Enzymes

 

Enzymes are protein molecules that are present in all living things.  They have two parts. The protein part is a long chain, which contains hundreds of amino acids in a specific arrangement.  The other part is a coenzyme, usually a vitamin or mineral (or it may contain a vitamin, or perhaps a molecule, which has been created from a vitamin).  The enzymes found in food are responsible for breaking down the food particles as well as the biochemical reactions that make them ripen.

 

Supplementation of vitamins and minerals are useless unless there are enough of the appropriate enzymes to utilize them.

 

There are two different types of supplemental enzymes available: animal and plant.  Animal enzymes are derived from the pancreas of beef or pork.  They do not spare the body’s own production of digestive resources and therefore the body must contribute a large amount of its own enzymes to help digest food, especially in the early stage of the digestion process.  Plant enzymes are able to predigest food in the stomach.


Plant enzymes are preferable in that they work in a broader pH range than animal enzymes and are able to predigest food in the stomach.  They are also derived from a natural source and not potentially laden with the animal toxins. 

 

While manufacturers are careful to put back vitamins and minerals that are lost during food manufacturing, they do not replace the enzymes.  Therefore, unless supplemental forms of enzymes are taken, our diets will continue to be deficient in these nutrients, which are essential for health and healthy living.

 

5. Probiotics (aka “friendly” bacteria, intestinal flora, beneficial bacteria)

 

Our gastrointestinal tract houses more than 400 types of different microorganisms. 49 These "friendly" microorganisms help protect our GI tract from "unfriendly" microorganisms, bacteria, parasites, viruses, yeasts, and fungi.  They also act to improve immune system function and have numerous health benefits.

 

Probiotics encourage growth of healthy bacteria.


 

The ratio of flora in the intestines should be of a ratio of 85% friendly bacteria to 15% harmful.  Many of the chronically ill have the ratios reversed.  The regular supplementation of a high-quality probiotic that contains numerous strains of living lactic acid bacteria will help to produce good bacteria that will encourage growth of a healthy colony of bacteria in the digestive tract.

Research has shown us that probiotics are of vital necessity as they: 50

 

  •   improve digestion and nutrient absorption.  

  • dramatically improve human immune function.  

  • protect against invasion of foreign pathogens and infectious agents.  

  • enhance the immune system's ability to fight infections.  

  • provide a main source of Vitamin K.  

  • lower cholesterol by metabolizing it.  

  • control bowel toxicity and decrease the risk of bowel cancer.  

  • reduce gas production by non-disease-producing microorganisms.  

  • protect the body from the devastating effects of accumulated toxins.  

  • produce short-chain fatty acids that are converted into energy.  

  • help protect against unhealthy cholesterol buildup

 

 

TIP # 4

 

Sleep

 


Babies sleep most of the day, but as children age their sleep requirements change. For example, children from the ages of 1-3 require about 12-14 hrs. of sleep. Most toddlers however get around 10. Usually this is in the form of their regular sleep and then a nice nap sometime in the middle of the day lasting anywhere from 1-3 hrs. At age 3 most children still require a nap by age 5 however most do not. At age 7-12 children should get around 10-11 hrs. of sleep although the average is about 9.  Sleep is of course an essential part of our health, no matter what age as our body uses this time to heal, detoxify, and of course a million other things. Vitamin D even needs sleep in order to be utilized.  So, how do we encourage healthy sleep patterns in children?

 

1.)    Make sure to have a bedtime routine- kids need and like routine. It helps them to know what is coming and helps you as well- Start getting ready for bed at a decent hour for most kids that is around 7-8pm at night. Brush teeth, take baths, have some story time etc

2.)   Make sure your child’s room is relaxing, its best to not use the child’s room as place for them if they misbehave, this will only re-enforce their room as a play they don’t want to be. Instead have a separate area in the house as a “time out” area and keep their room a stress-free zone.

3.)   Be careful to not give the child something too stimulating too close to bedtime like caffeine sugar etc. or watch a program or do an activity that will overstimulate them. And keep them wired.

4.)   Self soothe: This can be hard one for parent but so important for a child to be able to sleep on their own. If they have to have you present before they fall asleep each night, they will grow dependent on your presence to help them sleep. Instead have your child go to bed when they are sleepy and leave before they fall asleep. This will help them associate sleepiness with their bed and be able to fall asleep on their own.

5.)   IF they have a hard time falling asleep w/o you an idea would be to send them bed with something that smells like you- i.e. article of clothing or put a shirt of yours on a stuffed animal and then have them sleep with that stuffed animal.


“This way your child will smell you when your child needs comfort. Eventually, your child will begin to associate comfort with the stuffed animal (even if it doesn't have your smell on it).” – psychology today.


TIP # 5



LOVE




This is a given, and should actually be #1 on our list, but I wanted to end with this as it’s the most important piece of having healthy kids. You can do everything right for your kids but what is most important is that a child feels loved. Otherwise, everything you do, even if they are meant in love will not be valued by a child. Now given no one is perfect and we all have our moments, especially when we have a million things going on and the kids are trying our patience, but when a child knows they are loved they will have a sense of security and peace in a world where there is little peace and security. Kids that don’t experience love or feel love can have a hard time growing up, they can develop fears and phobias, become impulsive or unstable, develop anxious behaviors, have a hard time concentrating, become or try to become invisible, and often doesn’t have many social skills.

 

I myself am not a parent but as an aunt I have witnessed the beauty of love in a nurturing family environment, and I can attest that it makes all the difference!

 

So even if you make mistakes with your kids which you will as we are all human, remember to do everything in love, whether its cleaning, cooking, playing with the kids, learning with them, forgiving, or even admitting once in a while that daddy or mommy was wrong. Its ok! Show your kids, your grandkids, nieces, nephews, the power of unconditional love! It will change your world and theirs!

 

 

 

Sources:

Lyme and Co-infections, The Road to Recovery.

 

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