It’s never been more important to focus on your child’s health. Aside from the obvious – washing hands and covering mouths – you may be wondering what else you can do to protect your child as we continue to navigate COVID-19 and move into the cooler winter months.
Guardian Childcare and Education in addition to Accredited Practising Dietician, Vanessa Schuldt have come up with some successful tips and tricks.
Vanessa Schuldt from Nutrition Speak is an Accredited Practising Dietitian and mother of two. Her expert advice? ?Supporting your child?s immune system through healthy eating is of upmost importance when it comes to their health and safety.? Vanessa has previously worked with different Guardian Centres through aiding them in developing their healthy, varied and delicious menus. She also provided information to Guardian parents through presenting Nutrition Nights, where she offers insightful advice on common issues such as how to tackle fussy eaters, and immunity boosting recipes.
Fresh is always best, so don?t skip the veggie aisle. ?Fresh produce is the best thing to give your child when it comes to maintaining a strong immune system,? Vanessa says. If you can?t get a particular ingredient that you?re after, don?t stress. Vanessa provides an extensive list on what you should be looking for at the grocery store: ?Fresh, in-season fruit and vegetables, lean meats and poultry such as fish, beef, skinless chicken and trim lamb, cereals and wholegrain breads, eggs, legumes, seeds and nuts? you can get creative with it! As long as the end result is nourishing your child, you?re doing well.”
Through carefully created meal plans, Guardian centres provide children with 5 delicious and nutritious meals a day, using fresh ingredients and seasonal produce. Guardian has a strong focus on wellbeing, as it believes it to be a vital building block in every child?s development.
Here is some nutrition advice for building your child?s immune system from Freshwater Centre Manager, Petra Wright and Vanessa Schuldt:
Provide ACE vitamins
Vitamins A, C and E are vital for the immune system, as they help in fighting off nasty viruses and bacteria. You can find these vitamins in many fruits and vegetables ? that?s why it?s important to provide your child with fresh produce every day. For children 9+ years, the target is two servings of fruit and five servings of vegetables each day.
Tip It?s often a struggle to get children to eat vegetables, but there are so many different ways you can incorporate veggies into their diets. From giving them carrot sticks to dip in hummus, hiding zucchini and mushrooms in spaghetti Bolognese, or even adding vegetables to a homemade pizza, just keep trying until something sticks!
Increase their probiotic intake
Probiotics have been linked to improved immune health, which is vital ? especially now.
Tip: Yoghurt is filled with beneficial probiotics and can be used in so many different ways! Put it on your child?s cereal, in their breakfast smoothie, or even provide them with a squeezy tube of yoghurt as an afternoon snack. You can learn how to make a nutritious and delicious Immunity Boosting Smoothie with Chef Geimi Matos from Guardian Childcare & Education?s Freshwater centre at the new Learning Exchange.
Up the ante with zinc
Ensuring your child is eating enough zinc is a great way to maintain their immune function. Foods such as lean beef, fish (fresh and canned), seafood, chicken, reduced fat dairy products, wholegrain breads and cereals, legumes and nuts are all high in zinc.
Even for fussy eaters, you are sure to find at least something in this list that your child will love.
Tip: Baked beans with wholemeal toast cut into triangles for dipping is a fun breakfast for children, but is also filling, nutritious, and will increase your child?s zinc levels ? and their immunity!
Regular exercise is an important step in boosting your immunity. Children can do this through active play.
Tip: Petra Wright, Centre Manager at Freshwater says ?We get our children moving with yoga, gardening and meditation which also looks after their overall wellbeing. These easy, fun and relaxing activities helps with flexibility and allows children to practice their breathing techniques, a beneficial calming tool they can use throughout their lives.?
Make sure they are getting enough sleep
Our bodies need sleep in order to rest and recover from the day. This is of particular importance for our children as their bodies are still growing. According to the National Sleep Foundation, children aged one to two years need 11-14 hours of sleep per night, and those aged three to five years should get 11-13 hours a night.
Tip: A bedtime routine is the best way to maintain a sleep cycle for your child. Activities such as bedtime stories or a warm bath are great ways to wind down before bed. Doing so every night will turn these activities into sleep associations for your child, thus helping them to fall asleep.
By being prepared and following these simple steps, you will give your child an immunity system boost to help them to stay as healthy as possible.
To learn more about Guardian Childcare & Education?s focus on wellbeing and its nutritious meal program designed to help your child thrive and grow, visit?www.guardian.edu.au.
Take advantage of free childcare until July 12 and discover the Guardian difference. Book a tour with your local centre today! Limited spaces available.