3 Healthy Habits for Kids: Life Beyond Healthy Snacks|
Raising healthy kids is a chore. Healthy eating can feel like a fairy tale when stacked up against our family calendars. Besides, modern life offers convenience, and often fillers. Parents are faced with temptations of fast food, kids are tempted with fillers from numbing out in front of technology to cravings for unhealthy additives in foods. We want your family to experience the best of health - naturally. Here are a few easy health tips you can turn into habits for a huge impact on your child's health.
1. Embrace the Dirt!
In a world where every other mom seems to be carrying hand sanitizer on their key chains it seems we've lost the ability to let our kids get dirty - ever. But there's a big difference between cleaning their hands after a trip to the grocery store where everyone has touched everything and playing in the dirt. The first reason to embrace the dirt is it requires your child to get outside and play. Natural exposure to the sun provided needed Vitamin D,
The second reason to embrace the dirt is it can actually help boost their immune system. Natural bacteria and pathogens are an important part of the development of a strong immune system. Exposure to dirt can also boost natural iron and zinc which can be especially helpful for younger kids with a more limited diet (READ: picky eaters).
The third reason to embrace the dirt is the potential positive effects on sleep. Natural compounds in dirt can boost serotonin levels which even contributes to improved sleeping. Sleep can be improved also by a more active day which is far more likely to happen when kids are outside playing - even in the dirt!
Even if you can't embrace the dirt, you should embrace the outdoors and let your child go barefoot. Running on the grass, walking on the beach and even splashing puddles in bare feet can reduce the positive charge our body's electrons get from our life indoors. Our indoor exposure to electricity all day can be balanced out by the earth's negatively charged electrons - restoring a natural balance in our cells.
2. Skip the Drive-Thru
We're all busy. We get it. We're also nagged by kids who are triggered with marketing responses to things like the golden arches or the sonic carport. Busy lives mean we're not always in the ideal place when hunger strikes, but a little bit of preparation can improve your child's health, and save you money at the same time.
Pack an airtight container of healthy snacks to keep in the car. You'll be less tempted to pull into that drive-thru for a snack. Fresh cut veggies, hummus, seeds (think sunflower and pumpkin) pretzels, nut mixes and dried fruit can keep hunger at bay. Be sure to do your work reading the labels, but no matter what you choose you would be hard pressed to make a mistake against large french fries or a slushy with candy inside.
Be sure to visit your local health food store for healthy snacks. You can find some healthy choices including a big selection of gluten free and lower calorie snacks at your regular market, but be sure to read the labels and consider how what your kids are eating are effecting their blood sugar levels.
If thirst is the issue, be sure to grab a few bottles of water before you get in the car. Make this a habit by keeping some cool in the garage. If you have time for water in glass bottles, even better to limit the amount of liquid kids drink from plastic. If your kids just aren't into water try out one of the many liquid flavor drop. Just a small squirt flavors water, doesn't add calories and can keep you from temptation of a fast food experience.
3. Spice Things up!
Think spices don't belong in baby food? Spicing food up is a great way to help develop your child's palette and help you ultimately limit the amount of sugar and salt they crave. Baby food is unfortunately where people forget to add spices. It is assumed that bland baby food is best, but there is no reason not to experiment. We wouldn't recommend adding salt or sugar to baby food, but any spice an older kid would eat is safe for babies. Many spices have positive effects, like cinnamon's natural ability to regulate blood sugar levels.
Try adding spices like cinnamon, oregano, garlic, dill or basil. If you have concerns about introducing spices with your baby, then follow a 4 day wait-and-see time frame for each spice you introduce. Keep in mind that chilies and hot spices have the potential for reactions, but it shouldn't keep you from trying a lot of easy to introduce spices. Older kids will have fun trying new spices and talking about their newly acquired likes and dislikes!
The easiest way to add spice to your kid's life is with one of the most universal spices - salt! Modern life leaves most of us are unknowingly magnesium deficient. If your kids are eating a very healthy diet chances are they are getting enough, but a handful of Epsom Salt or tablespoon of sea salt in their bath gently boosts magnesium. It also has a natural relaxing effect that can help them wind down before heading to bed, reinforcing healthy sleep habits.
If your child suffers from eczema you probably already know this helps, but kids with allergies or asthma can experience benefits from this small change. If you can find a natural sea salt, or even a fancier Himalayan salt with more trace minerals, the benefit may be greater, but simple Epson salt is cost-effective and does the trick. Your kids may also like the softening effects on their skin too!
Carlson Chiropractic, state of the art health and wellness center in Joplin, Missouri.