Pediatrics Articles

Back to School Health Checklist

by Randall Neustaedter OMD

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Lunches

Packing lunch for school can be hard on parents. I suggest you sit down with your kids and make a list of things they want to eat in their lunches. This can lead to (yet another) discussion of the foods that are nourishing and foods that are not so good for your body.

Putting food choices into a context that kids can understand can be helpful. The traffic light model works well. Green light foods are good for you. Eat as much of them as you like. These include fruits, vegetables, whole grain products, nuts, and organic meats and dairy. Red light foods are those kids should not eat, like corn syrup, diet foods with Nutrasweet, caffeine products, and artificial colors and flavors. Yellow light foods are those you should slow down on, like desserts, processed white flour products, and juice.

A healthy packed lunch includes fruits such as organic blueberries, strawberries, grapes, or apples, some protein like peanut butter or meat and cheese sandwiches on whole grain bread, yogurt (without corn syrup), nuts or trail mix, organic chips, carrot sticks, seaweed snacks, or cheese sticks.

Beware of lunch boxes. Plastic lunch boxes may contain BPA (bisphenol-A), a synthetic estrogen that contributes to hormone disruption and cancer. The vinyl lining of lunch boxes and lunch bags marketed for children often contains lead. Seek out a BPA and lead-free tag on the bag to ensure that the food in your child’s lunch is not exposed to these toxins. Legal action was taken by the FDA and the Center for Environmental Health against lunch box manufacturers, but some of these may still contain toxins.

Supplements

Keep your kids healthy by supporting their immune systems. Exposure to other children with viruses is bound to pass colds around the classroom, but you can help to minimize symptoms by giving some specific supplements during the school year. Several types of supplements can help boost immune function.  Adaptogenic mushrooms are one of the most potent immune system activators. An excellent formula that also includes astragalus and elderberry is Immunoberry by Designs for Health. A probiotic formula with lactobacillus and bifidobacteria species will also help to protect children from viruses. Vitamin D3 is an essential supplement in the winter months (2,000 IU per day). And a colostrum or whey protein supplement to supply immunoglobulins and lactoferrin will also boost immune function.

Vaccines

Do not allow yourself to be pressured into giving vaccines to your child. Make an informed choice rather than just conceding to the pressure of school requirements. Consider the likelihood of exposure, seriousness of the disease, and side effects of the vaccine. Vaccines being forced on school age children these days include pertussis in DTaP (whooping cough), measles (MMR), and HPV (cervical cancer). Read about the vaccines in my book, The Vaccine Guide, or search the NaturalNews website for information about each vaccine before you comply with routine vaccination. Remember, an exemption from vaccination is always available to you.

Exercise

Schoolwork can be demanding, and homework time consuming. Many schools have limited the amount of time devoted to PE. Make sure that your kids are getting some form of exercise every day, either in an organized sport or bike riding or just running around at the park. Staying fit is important for mental function as well as physical health.

 

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