While summer is a great time to be active outside, staying active in the fall can be difficult as the temperature begins to drop. The cooler weather may decrease your child’s motivation to remain physically active.
Luckily, OrthoIndy dietitian, Anna Smith provides suggestions for healthy activities for kids this fall and how to help boost your child’s immune system.
Anna explains why it’s important to keep your child active, ways to strengthen your child’s immune system, healthy food recommendations and more.
Why is it important for children to exercise?
“When children become overweight, the American Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics emphasizes that children are at increased risk for cancer, diabetes, heart disease, high cholesterol, triglycerides (fats in the blood stream) and stroke,” said Anna. “Being overweight can cause bone and joint problems as well as breathing problems, such as sleep apnea and asthma.”
One of the most important reasons to keep your children at a healthy weight is to help prevent health complications as they age. Additionally, it is important to prevent these chronic diseases over a lifetime to minimize risk for hospitalization and healthcare costs.
Are there any easy exercises for kids to do this fall?
There are a variety of active chores and activities your kids could try this fall. Here is a list of exercises for kids at home:
- Rake leaves in your yard. Or offer to rake your neighbor’s lawn to offer a helping hand.
- Enjoy the outdoors and walk around a pumpkin patch or apple orchard.
- Run a 5K virtual race on Thanksgiving Day or before the weather gets too cold.
- Go on a hike with your family or your dog at a local park.
- Challenge friends or family to a virtual dance-off – Choose more active video games like Dance Dance Revolution or Just Dance.
- Play board games and add in an exercise challenge for every time someone loses.
How can I boost my child’s immune system?
Whether it’s warm or cold months, there are different ways to support a child’s immune system. Depending on a child’s age and weight here are some things you can do:
- Vaccines. Vaccines contain small amounts of antigens to help your child’s immune system recognize and fight serious diseases.
- Foot-safety. Young children’s immune systems are still developing. It’s important to follow general food-safety guidelines to avoid foodborne illnesses. Be sure to have your children wash their hands often and avoid raw foods such as unpasteurized milk and juices, raw meat
andunwashed fruits or vegetables.
- Boost sleep time. Studies have shown that sleep deprivation can make people more susceptible to illnesses.
- Eat more fruit and eliminate added sugar. Sugar has been shown to alter the microbiome (this is
a geneticmaterial of all the microbes: bacteria, fungi, protozoa andviruses. These live on and inside the human body). Give your child’s microbiome a boost by adding more fruit to their meals instead of sugary snacks.
- Vitamins. They help build strong bones, heal wounds, and bolster your immune system.
- Staying hydrated. Water is essential for boosting your immune system.
- Controlling allergies. If your kids have ongoing allergies and they aren’t treated effectively, it could weaken your immune system and make you more susceptible to viruses and other germs.
What are some healthy school lunch ideas?
Now that your kids are physically back in school or virtually this fall, provide them with a healthy diet by making sure they have a nutritious lunch to keep them engaged and energized.
Here are some easy healthy lunch recipes. Tip: Whether your child is attending school in-person or virtually, these healthy lunch ideas are easy to meal prep the night before.
- Bean and cheese quesadilla
- Baked chicken nuggets
- Broccoli pesto pasta
- Homemade lunchables
- Ham and cheese pinwheels
From our kitchen to yours, try our easy and healthy snack, appetizer and dessert recipes below.
- Blueberry muffin smoothie
- Chocolate peanut butter shake
- Garden salsa
- Vegan protein-packed brownie batter bites
- Healthy chicken salad
- No-bake peanut butter protein balls
- To-go fruit parfait
- Turkey cranberry crostini’s
- Healthy funnel cake
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Need to lose weight for surgery?
It’s recommended that some people lose weight prior to surgery to reduce surgical risks and improve recovery. If you need to lose weight prior to surgery, discuss a plan with your physician on how to lose weight or download our guide below.
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