The start of the school year—a time filled with change and emotion for the entire family, but especially for kids. We’re looking at products that can help your kids achieve and maintain optimal health during this new year of learning and growth.
Of course, no product can replace a healthy diet. So before we jump into the product list, let’s look at some basic guidelines for keeping your kids well-nourished.
Super Diet = Super Kid
When your kids eat a healthy diet, they are more likely to:
- Sleep well
- Focus and concentrate better
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Manage stress and anxiety
- Avoid depression
- Stay active
- Develop a strong immune system
- Adopt a healthy diet for life
- Be happier
The (Healthy) Kid’s Meal
What does a healthy diet for kids look like? It looks the same for them as it does for you: a variety and abundance of whole foods with limited amounts of junk food and added sugar.
If you’re not sure how to maximise the nutrition in your child’s diet, consider following one of these approaches (psst—they’re great approaches for grown-up diets too). You could:
Focus on nutrients:
This approach follows traditional nutritional teaching. Most of us have learned about macronutrients (fats, proteins, carbohydrates) and micronutrients (vitamins and minerals). This approach encourages you to feed your child a variety of foods which, together, supply all of the macro- and micronutrients. It does, of course, require basic knowledge of the nutritional composition of different foods.
Focus on a variety of colours:
Not everyone wants to think of food in terms of nutrients. The simple approach to eat a variety of colours—either over the course of each meal or each day—ensures different food groups are present in your child’s diet. It also ensures your child eats foods rich in antioxidants, compounds that destroy free radicals and give fruits and vegetables their lovely hues.
Focus on food families:
This approach is a guideline for developing a healthy diet as well as a balanced, satisfying meal. Your goal is to choose foods that present a variety of “food families” to your child at each meal or throughout each day. By the week’s end, she’ll have eaten a selection of foods from nearly all the food families. And you’ll know that you’ve provided a diverse diet that supplies a range of nutrients.
The food families:
- Whole grains
- Vegetables, which break down into smaller families—
- Green and/or leafy vegetables
(salad leaves, kale, spinach, broccoli, asparagus…)
- Starchy vegetables
(potatoes, sweet potatoes, winter squash…)
- Root vegetables
(onions, carrots, beetroot…)
- Quick-cooking or No-cook vegetables
(tomatoes, bell peppers, aubergine, cucumbers…)
- Green and/or leafy vegetables
- Beans and Legumes
- Meat, Fish, and Eggs
- Unrefined Oils
It’s up to you to decide which approach best suits your family. The important thing is to cultivate a varied and balanced diet for your kids over the long term. Then, you don’t have to fret about the nutritional value of each and every meal.
Raise a Healthy Eater (and Stay Sane)
Don’t be discouraged if your kid rejects a new food more than once. Bee Wilson explains in her book First Bite: How We Learn to Eat that it’s natural for kids to be skeptical or even scared of food they haven’t tried before. It often takes at least 10 exposures for a child to accept and develop a liking for a new food.
Wilson further explains that a good way to introduce a new food, particularly vegetables, is to sit down with your child for a relaxed tasting session outside of mealtimes. Ask your child to try a small taste of one or two new foods then describe them to you. It can be easier for a kid to accept new foods in this manner, away from the pressure of finishing a whole serving at dinner.
Remember, children watch and imitate the behavior of their parents—so if you load up on vegetables (and enjoy them), it’s more likely your child will too.
Health Boosts for Kids
A healthy diet is the basic, non-negotiable element of a healthy child. Once you have that established, there are several products which can boost your child’s health and treat different ailments that often pop-up during the school year.
Here are some of our favourite health products for kids, if you want to...
1. Increase their vitamin D3 levels
BetterYou DLux Junior Vitamin D3 Oral Spray 400IU - for ages 5+
BetterYou DLux1000 Vitamin D3 Spray 1000IU - for teenagers
Vitamin D3 is essential for strong bones, muscle development, and a robust immune system. Sunlight is our greatest source, but it’s often blocked by sun creams, clothing coverage, and cloudy weather (particularly in Ireland). So our absorption is low and as a result, most of us are deficient. It’s a good idea to get your child on a daily dose of D3 now to build up her immunities for winter.
2. Support their focus and brain health
Eskimo-3 Kids Chewable DHA+ Orange Flavour - for ages 3-12
It can be tough to incorporate sufficient amounts of omega-3 fatty acids into the diet. This supplement makes it easier to reach your child’s daily targets. Omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA support healthy brain development while choline and biotin support strong vision.
The omega fatty acids can support brain health as well as help kids with ADHD. Another great way to incorporate the essential fatty acids 3, 6, and 9 into your child’s diet is with this unrefined organic flaxseed oil that’s grown and produced in Co. Kilkenny.
3. Ease the effects of stress and tension, help with attention issues
Animal Parade Magnesium Kidz Chewable - for ages 2+
This chewable supplement is a simple way to help your child receive the many benefits of magnesium. These include the development and maintenance of optimal muscular functions such as muscular relaxation, contraction, and calming. Magnesium also plays a role in energy metabolism and healthy nerve-impulse transmission.
MAG365 Magnesium Supplement for Kids - for ages 4-10
This powder contains a variety of nutrients: magnesium, calcium, zinc, vitamin B1, vitamin B6, vitamin D3, vitamin K2, and vitamin C. They work together to support your child’s healthy growth and immune system. The formula is especially ideal for a child that needs help unwinding and relaxing.
4. Protect them from viruses and colds
Comvita Olive Leaf Extract - Children's - for ages 2+
Help your child avoid the viruses that seem to go hand-in-hand with the school year. This liquid is rich in naturally occurring polyphenol antioxidants and contains Manuka honey to boost a healthy immune system and help guard against viruses.
Sambucol Black Elderberry For Kids +Vitamin C - for ages 1-12
This formula also helps to stave off viruses. It harnesses elderberries, which are a potent source of flavonoid antioxidants, as well as vitamin C and zinc to support the immune system. It’s also a great option for treating the symptoms of a cold.
Comvita Kids Manuka Honey Elixir - for ages 3+
Treat your child’s cold with an elixir that contains vitamins C and D to promote the normal function of the immune system and marshmallow to support healthy, open airways.
Pukka Elderberry Syrup - for ages 2+
This blend of elderberry, Manuka honey, ginger, and thyme supports the health of the respiratory system and offers your little one relief when seasonal colds strike.
5. Help them recover from the effects of an illness or a poor diet
Floradix Kindervital for Children - Fruity Formula - for ages 3+
We realise that life happens and sometimes children can’t follow optimal diets. Or sometimes an illness keeps them from eating properly and further weakens their immune systems. This formula contains a slew of easily digested vitamins (A, D, E, C, B1, B2, niacin, B6 and B12), as well as herbal extracts, and fruit juice concentrates to help get them back on track.
This liquid is another great option for combatting the consequences of poor nutrition or helping kids through a period of recuperation. It contains high levels of vitamins D3 and K2 as well as trace minerals, prebiotics, and an assortment of organic whole foods for a nutritious boost. Added lutein provides protection for their skin and eyes.
We’re wishing your kids the best for this school year. And we’re cheering you on as well, as you support their physical and mental wellbeing and set them up for a great year.