Secrets To Keeping Your Family Healthy This Winter
The days are short, the nights are long, and it’s beginning to chilly outside. Here’s are a few tips to ensure your family stays healthy and happy this cold and flu season.
Start Each Day With A Healthy Breakfast
It seems like everything gets a bit more difficult in the morning when it’s cold and dark outside. Don’t let the cold air keep you from whipping up a healthy breakfast for your entire family! You’ll need to bypass that sugary bowl of cereal – it just doesn’t have the kind of high-octane fuel anyone needs to make it through a demanding day. It’s smart to choose a protein-and-vitamin-packed breakfast that can be pulled off with little effort. Opt for simple, nutrition-loaded fare like eggs (keep a couple hard-boiled eggs in the ‘fridge for days you’re running late), milk, cottage cheese, whole grains, fruit, and yogurt. Want more ideas? Check out these quick-and-easy breakfast favorites.
Wash Your Hands
In case you sustain any lingering doubts, the science is in: hand washing helps ward off illness. Danish research found that kids taught proper hand washing techniques and required to wash three times a day missed 26 percent fewer school days and had 22 percent fewer illnesses than kids who weren’t trained or required to wash. Be sure to talk to your entire family, and remind them of the importance of washing their hands with soap and water – as well as using antibacterial lotion when soap is not available. Better safe that sorry!
Avoiding colds? Don’t avoid the cold.
Your parental instincts may be telling you that to keep kids healthy, you should keep them safely out of the cold. But that can mean long hours staring, inert, at a screen, which has multiple negative health implications for your child. As long as they’re dressed warmly, don’t hesitate to take a foray into the great outdoors — or even a quick jaunt to your local park. According to the National Wildlife Federation, spending time in nature offers a wealth of health benefits for kids, including helping to prevent sleep deprivation, as children need to be outside in natural daylight to regulate their internal “sleep clocks.”
Celebrate the family dinner!
If you haven’t gotten around to instituting a regular sit-down family dinner, winter is the perfect time to start a tradition of familial, cozy meals. Not convinced? Here is a great explanation of why the family meal will up your child’s happiness and healthiness quota, not to mention her GPA. Along with serving a nutritious meal, learn how you can serve up brain-enhancing conversation and make the entire dinnertime experience — from set-up to clean-up — easier for you and the kids.
Get More Zzzzz’s.
If your New Year’s resolution to make sure the kids get a good night sleep have fallen by the wayside, time to do a sleep check at your house. There’s plenty of reason to ensure your children are getting the rest they need. Researchers have found a link between sleep and cognitive abilities. One researcher found that sixth graders who lost just an hour of sleep performed at a fourth-grade level. Other studies show a link between getting enough sleep and higher grades.