Keep your kids healthy during their first weeks back at school (and beyond!) with these recipes, supplements, and simple tips.
1. Choose the right vitamins for your child
A children's-specific, high-quality multivitamin can help provide crucial, missing nutrients, as well as build an early shield against diabetes, heart disease, and childhood cancers. But do children need additional supplements? And if so, how do you know which to choose? Check out these top picks, including calcium, iron, and more.
2. Know your fish oil supplements
Any child can benefit from fish oil supplements, which support cognitive development and immune function and lower the risk of diabetes. In addition, fish oil supplements have been shown in studies to help children with asthma, eczema, allergies, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, behavioral and learning difficulties, and inflammatory bowel disease. Here are some simple ways to determine how to choose them for your children. Read more.
3. Prepare healthy snacks, like these 20 favorites
Choosing the right supplements for your children is crucial—but don't forgot to include healthy foods in their daily routine. Unhealthy snacking is a bigger problem than ever before, according to USDA research, which shows that snacking has increased fourfold in the past 25 years and now contributes 26 percent of total calories consumed by kids—with sugar stealing the show over vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients. These 20 tasty, nutritious (and easy!) snacks are a great place to start.
4. Motivate kids to get fit
Childhood obesity that progresses into grown-up obesity is linked to increased artery wall thickness—a marker for atherosclerosis. And because many overweight children do indeed become plump adults, lifestyle modification at an early age should be emphasized. Try these no-fuss strategies from experts to overcome today's biggest pitfalls of sound family nutrition. Plus, here are some easy ways to get kids motivated.
5. Find herbs and supplements for focus
Omega-3 fatty acids help the brain regulate mood and behavior. Research suggests essential fatty acids can even reduce symptoms of learning disorders including ADD, ADHD, and dyslexia. Find out more about the herbs and supplements that can help your children excel in school.
6. Pay attention to special dietary needs
Excluding certain food from their diets can leave kids depleted of essential vitamins and nutrients. But food allergies and special diets demand that you pay close attention to what your little ones are eating. Whether they're gluten free or vegetarian, be sure to cater your children's meals and supplements to their special dietary needs.
7. Build immunity
Sure, you'd love if your 7-year-old had fewer sick days away from school. But what if by bolstering her immune system now, you could also protect her from developing serious diseases, such as cancer, later in life? These foods, supplements, and lifestyle tips can help.
8. Pack better lunches
It's a common parental dilemma: conjuring up easy, nutritious school lunches that your child will actually eat. Ideally, you'd send your children off each day with a wild-caught salmon fillet, a scoop of barley risotto, and a crisp salad; in real life, that wholesome lunch would likely come home each day, well, still whole. To raise your lunch-box success ratio, we've gathered grocery-shopping and preparation tips to keep kids satisfied—and well fueled—until the last bell rings. Read more.
9. Get kids involved in healthy cooking (fun recipes to try!)
It's important to help kids understand how to make wholesome choices on their own and to create an environment that will nurture healthy food habits as they grow. Use fun cultural and historical lessons to get kids in the kitchen—and interested in what they are eating. Check out these recipes for Date and Orange Salad with Pistachios; Whole-Grain Couscous with Corn, Tomato, and Avocado; Picasso Pizza; and more.
10. Choose the most nutrient-dense foods for your family
Joel Fuhrman, MD, author of Eat for Health (Gift of Health, 2008) developed a comprehensive nutrient-per-calorie ranking system, which he calls the Aggregate Nutrient Density Index (ANDI). The charts on the following pages list the top ANDI-ranked foods by category. Use them as guides to make the healthiest eating choices for you and your family.