(EDITOR’S NOTE: An error occurred when posting Kim Waggoner’s column earlier. The following is the correct column)
As promised here are my notes from the Healthy Kids Night held at Triton Elementary this Monday night, Sept. 8.
Always start with a Healthy Foundation! Feed your child a healthy breakfast! By healthy I mean some proteins and very little or no sugar. Eggs and toast, greek yogurt with fruit or protein smoothie.
If your child typically eats pop tarts, cereal or donuts they are only getting quick energy that doesn’t last.
What happens is that they will get a sudden spike in blood sugars but then they will come crashing down, leaving them to feel irritable, grouchy and unable to focus or concentrate.
By eating a higher protein breakfast they will have more evened out blood sugars and sustained energy levels.
Talk to your child about packing a healthy lunch or choosing healthy lunch options. No skipping lunch. Again, this keeps them less irritable and able to focus. Pack healthy snacks for after school but before sports or have them readily available when they get home.
Of course, eating a balanced dinner together is ideal. If you are running from practices to games and it runs in to dinner time. Plan accordingly so that you are not grabbing unhealthy food from the concession stand. I don’t know how many times I have shown up to a sporting event with a lunch sack packed with supper for my child. It saves you money and it saves their health!
Avoid sugars. Yes it is possible. I understand they may have some of their own money and can get candy or sugary drinks but you don’t have to encourage it. One teaspoon of sugar can depress the immune system for four hours! So if your child consumed a candy bar (7 teaspoon of sugar) and a can of Coke (9 teaspoon of sugar), together that is 16 teaspoon of sugar. Sixteen teaspoons times four hours equals 64 hours of a weakened immune system. It’s shocking isn’t it?
I have said this many times but as a reminder. Eat real food not fake food. No artificial flavors, colors or preservative. Avoid processed foods. Your child needs vitamins, minerals and nutrients from real food. Their body doesn’t need to use energy to protect itself from harmful chemicals and additives.
Your child must supplement their diet with a good quality Multi-vitamin and extra Vitamin D3. I also recommend a good probiotic. In the cold and flu season increase Vitamin C.
Sleep is important. Regular bedtimes. No lights, TV’s or computer screens in their rooms. This allows for proper Melatonin production and will given them a restful sleep.
Daily Exercise. Exercise increases blood flow to their brain, helps them perform better in school, have better concentration and less hyperactivity.Exercise promotes a more restful sleep, boosted immune system, more energy and decreases their risks for disease. Sixty minutes a day is ideal.
Clean up their environment. There are over 81,000 chemicals registered by EPA but only 20 percent of them have been tested for toxicity. One in every 13 kids are diagnosed with ADHD.
Asthma rates in children has increased 160 percent since 1994. I think there is a strong correlation between medical conditions and the chemicals your child is breathing, absorbing and eating. Use non toxic cleaners in the home. Avoid harmful disinfectant sprays, scented candles and air-freshners. There are non chemical choices out there. Avoid chemicals in the foods they eat. That goes back to me saying offer your child real foods not fake ones made with chemicals.
On a day to day basis your child will be exposed to millions of germs. The first step to keeping them healthy is providing a healthy home and foundation of good nutrition. Teach them to have good hygiene, wash their hands frequently with mild soap and hot water.
Notice I did not say anti-bacterial soap. Most anti-bacterial soaps contain triclosan. Triclosan is known to affect hormones, especially the thyroid. It is also a potential carcinogen. Just plain soap and water will do the trick.
Having Healthy Kids starts with you being healthy first. Educate yourself, implement what you’ve learned in your home. Advocate for your child at school and daycare. Suggest healthy foods, cleaners. You can empower your child and others to take steps to be healthy and successful this school year!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Kim Waggoner is a wife, mom, nurse and Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma Survivor. Her passion is to come alongside others, encouraging them to create healthy, happy, hopeful lives. Kim is the owner of Waggoner Health and writes a blog, www.kimwaggoner.com to educate and inspire others.