I’ve gathered some of my best health tips for kids since becoming a mom myself, and I wanted to share them with you right here.

While it’s considered normal for little ones to pick up around 6-8 viral colds, ear infections or bouts of flu a year, there are some natural ways and good health tips you can follow to boost your children’s immune systems for winter. This is important because a child’s immune system takes time to develop and strengthen as the body is exposed to different germs that can cause disease.

When it comes to keeping my family healthy throughout winter, I have a few tricks and health tips up my sleeve which I always implement when the change of season hits. One of our greatest challenges, since moving from Durban to Johannesburg – is managing the cold, dry Gauteng air in winter. There are two main reasons why people get sicker in winter:

  1. The body’s immune system Is compromised when it’s trying to keep the body’s core temperature warmer
  2. Some viruses and bacteria thrive better in colder climates.

ALSO SEE: My top tips on how to stay healthy in winter 

Here are a few health tips to try: 

  • I ensure Bella drinks plenty of filtered, clean water every day. Sometimes I get creative and add some fresh fruit to her water or give her herbal teas such as Rooibos, especially in winter. Just remember not to add too much milk and sugar. Plain herbal tea is the best.
  • We encourage daily exercise. This is so important for children’s wellbeing. Exercise helps to boost blood circulation, strengthen the heart and cardiovascular system, build strong, lean muscle, release feel-good endorphins and boost the immune system.
  • I try to steer clear of antibiotics unless they’re absolutely necessary and try to supplement Bella’s diet with a few key supplements such as extra vitamin C, a viral boost in winter, probiotics and vitamin D.
  • To keep the air moist and avoid dry noses and coughs, I add a few drops of Olbas essential oil to a cool air humidifier and let it run for a few hours every night.
  • Sleep is important in our family. I need between 7-8 hours every night to feel human! The minute I don’t sleep well, I tend to get sick. Bella needs around 12 – 14 hours’ sleep in 24 hours for her age, and I make sure she gets it. Like exercise, sleep is equally important for a child’s overall wellbeing and immune system. Bella still has regular naps after school every day and I stick to a calming bedtime routine to get her ready for a good night’s sleep. Of course, this doesn’t always go according to plan (hello toddlers!) but as moms, we do our best, right?
  • I let Bella play in the dirt! According to Jack Gilbert, a scientist who studies microbial ecosystems at the University of Chicago and author of Dirt is Good: The Advantage of Germs for Your Child’s Developing Immune System, “Microbes in the dirt can be bad for us in large doses, but in small doses, our immune systems can learn what viruses or bacteria it needs to be able to fight off, storing that information and helping our bodies to quickly fight off illness later in life. The more parasites, viruses and bacteria our immune system is introduced to, the better chance we have of staving off infections as we age, including allergies and asthma!”
  • We make a habit of washing hands regularly, followed by sanitiser to ensure we get rid of all the germs on our hands. I’m pedantic after a trip to the mall, park, school or any public place.
  • I ensure that my family follows a healthy, balanced diet with treats in moderation. Moms with fussy eaters, I know it’s hard to get your kids to eat more veggies… I think we all battle at some point! But here are a few sure-fire strategies to get those veggies in:

5 easy ways to get your kids to eat more veggies

  1. Change the texture of the veggies for variety. Keep experimenting until you find something your kids like. For instance, your child might prefer sweet potato and butternut mash with a sprinkle of cinnamon and honey over pieces or chunks you bake in the oven. Also, I know Bella doesn’t enjoy the soup with ‘bits’ in it, so I blend it more for her every time.
  2. Create faces and shapes with veggies on the plate. Thin carrots make the best animal whiskers and spiralled zucchini is ideal to use as ‘hair’!
  3. Let your kids make their own pizza and add the toppings they like. The more colourful veggies you use, the better.
  4. Allow them to help you prep smoothie ingredients – such as spinach, berries, frozen banana, etc. and add them to your blender together.
  5. Swap potato chips for sweet potato chips or even better try zucchini fries!

A few sneaky ways to hide veggies in your kid’s meals:

  • Hide carrots, green beans, spinach and peas in meatballs or mince.
  • Add finely chopped veggies into your mince for spaghetti bolognaise
  • Falafels are a win because they’re packed with chickpeas and you can use tahini as a dipping sauce. Tahini is a sesame seed paste. You could use also try making your own guacamole sauce as a dip.
  • Add spinach, beetroot, cucumber and carrots to smoothies – they’re milder in flavour and work well in smoothies.
  • Add carrot, spinach or zucchini to muffins or scones
  • Try adding peppers, mushrooms and broccoli to scrambled eggs or hidden in an omelette or frittata
  • And lastly, add my Super Scoop to everything! Jokes aside, this is exactly why I created Super Scoop – to make parents lives easier when it comes to planning healthy meals. My Super Scoop for both adults and kids is packed with over 50 organic superfoods, fruit and veg extracts, as well as probiotics and essential vitamins and minerals.

ALSO SEE: More information about Super Scoop here. 

May 20, 2019 — Lisa Raleigh
Tags: Mums & Tots