It's not long now until the big day - the day all kids look forward to every year! It can often be a very busy time of year for parents though, with weekends and evenings filled with social engagements. There's always lots of eating (and drinking) and it can be hard to keep on track with a healthy diet. In this blog, Kelly from Early Health gives us some tips for keeping kids healthy over the festive season.
The festive season is my favourite time of the year, catching up with family and friends over indulgent treats is one holiday activity that I always look forward to. However, between the events and treats of the Christmas season it is still important to maintain some healthy eating and exercise habits, your new year self will thank you for it. Maintaining a healthy balance is also essential for children, with underdeveloped detoxification pathways, nervous systems sensitive to sugar, food additives and late nights children need to have their health nurtured during the Christmas period. Here are my top 5 tips to keep the balance tipping towards health for your children this Christmas.
Factor in a few early nights. Late nights out celebrating with family and friends need to be balanced with some early nights for tired little eyes. Children need sleep for better immune function, cognitive development, digestion and mood. Maintaining a balanced sleep schedule is something the whole family can benefit from.
Avoid late night feasting and snacking. Dinner with friends, late Summer nights, different foods and the holiday habit of broken routines mean children can often end up eating dinner later than normal or snacking at times they normally wouldn’t. Attempt to keep at least 2 hours between food and sleep to allow little tummies time to commence digestion before sleep. Food and sleep close together can lead to a restless night for some sensitive tummies.
Eat when calm. Holidays are relaxing, however they can also have moments where people are rushed, stressed or grumpy. Eating during these stressful moments isn’t going to support the digestive system of a child. Stress and anxiety both work against optimal digestion by lowering hydrochloric acid production. If your child is prone to anxiety then create a calm mealtime routine that could even start with some deep breathing exercises before sitting at the table.
Keep the colour coming. Ensure (as best you can) your child’s diet is rich in diverse and fresh fruit and vegetable colours over the festive season. Colour equates to nutrients and nutrients are needed during the festive season to fuel busy days and balance out indulgent treats.
BYO Cookies. If you’re worried about the constant deluge of sweet treats being presented to your child over the Christmas break then start bringing your own cookies to events. A homemade option is always nutritionally superior to commercial treats and your child may welcome the familiar food.
Image credit: Jan Stebbins Photography
Merry Christmas from Early Health!
Kelly Epskamp is a mum and a degree qualified women and children’s health naturopath based in Perth. Kelly owns and runs Early Health, a natural healthcare service exclusively for women and children. Early Health was born from Kelly’s own and an ongoing experience as a mum and her understanding of how important good health is to not only a child but to the whole family. Kelly has a passion for health with realism and discovering the simple ways daily and long term health can be improved.