As winter gets closer, some parents find it difficult to keep their children as active and healthy as they were in the fun summer months. Here are 3 easy strategies for keeping your child healthy during the cooler seasons:
- Provide enough fruit and vegetables.
In order to nourish your toddler’s body in the best possible way, make sure they eat enough fruits and vegetables. Fruits and vegetables are loaded with beneficial vitamins, minerals, water, and fiber – which all help build a strong immune system. For toddlers aged 2-4, the Food Guide Pyramid recommends 4 servings of fruits and vegetables a day1. Here are the benefits of each:
Fruits provide lots of vitamins such as vitamins A and C. Studies have shown that having daily vitamin C from natural whole food sources can slightly reduce the duration of an illness2. Make sure to provide your toddler with citrus and berries, with one serving equivalent to 1 cup of berries or an orange, to receive the full benefits. In the winter months it may be more difficult to find fresh berries, so make sure to check the frozen fruit aisle for organic mixed berries, which you can easily add to smoothies.
Vegetables are very important for vitamins such as A and C as well as lots of minerals including iron and magnesium. Vegetables also provide a great source of fiber, which helps maintain a healthy digestive system for your little one. Try to sneak in as many dark leafy greens into their diet for the most beneficial effects. For example, one serving of leafy greens is equal to one cup, which you can hide in a fruit smoothie.
- Keep them hydrated.
During the cooler winter months, air becomes drier and kids lose more moisture through their breath. It’s important to ensure they stay well hydrated during this time of the year to stay healthy. Everyone’s body depends on water to survive – we need it for our cells to function, tissues and organs to work, and to help maintain body temperature and waste removal. Toddlers need 1300ml of fluids (ideally water) on a daily basis3. It can be hard in the cooler months for them to drink this amount of fluid, so try warmer drinks and soups to entice them.
- Provide enough vitamin D.
Recent studies are showing that having sufficient daily vitamin D could help with immunity. Researchers are looking into possible links between lower levels of vitamin D and increased infection rates4.
The best source of vitamin D comes from exposure to the sun’s rays. When sunlight hits the skin a chemical reaction occurs in the body to make vitamin D. However, during the cooler and winter months, the sun’s rays are not strong enough to produce this effect, so a supplement is highly recommended. According to the National Institute of Health, the adequate intake of vitamin D for children over the age of 1 year is 15 µg (or 600 IU) per day5. One of the easiest ways to provide sufficient vitamin D is to use Baby Ddrops supplements, which you can find here.
Diana Beirnes is a Ddrops Guest Blogger. She is a nutritionist, cyclist, and Raw Food Chef who loves to experiment in the kitchen. She is passionate about sharing a healthy lifestyle with others and is drawn to coaching friends and family about the importance of food and supplements. Diana believes in a holistic life and practices this by eating vegan, using all natural products, and using recycled products whenever she can.
1 United States Department of Agriculture. 2005. Food Guide Pyramid. http://www.cnpp.usda.gov/FGP
2 Strohle, A., Hahn, A. 2009. Vitamin C and immune function. Med Monastsschr Pharm. Feb; 32(2):49-54. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19263912
3 Popkin, B.M., D’Anci, K.E., Rosenberg, I.A. 2011. Water, Hydration and Health. Nutrition Review. 2010 Aug; 68(8):439-458. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2908954/
4 Aranow, C. 2011. Vitamin D and the Immune System. Journal of Investigative Medicine. 2011 Aug; 59(6):881-886. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3166406
5 National Institutes of Health. 2016. Vitamin D. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3166406