It's back to school time for most of us. While parents are probably (secretly) relieved to send their kids back to school, there is one aspect of school none of us look forward to--germs. It is inevitable that kids will pick up those pesky colds, coughs, and sometimes something worse from their classmates.
We have discovered a couple of things in the past year and a half that I feel has really helped our kids stay healthier year-round. Now you know I make an effort not to promote many products on this blog. I don't want it to be one long advertisement for one item after another. Once in awhile, however, I do like to bring items to my audience's attention that have really made parent-life easier.
Our two secret weapons to keeping kids healthy:
1. Fruit and veggie whole-food chewables. When my older son began kindergarten I expected him to get sick a bit more than normal just from being around a new set of kids. Indeed he was. His kindergarten year wasn't bad, but he had several colds, croup-like illnesses, and things like that. The next year (first grade) we started taking these fruit and veggie chewables from Juice Plus+. That year, he only missed 2 days of school the whole year! I credit much of this to the added fruit and veggies he got.
Being the research geek that I am, I really value products that have hard research to support their claims. These chewables fit the bill. They have over 30 published academic articles to support their health benefits, including the Children's Health Study. This study is an on-going study that has already included 150,000 children over several years. So far, it has shown that children who take these fruit and veggie gummies (or capsules) miss fewer days of school, take fewer prescription medicines, and actually tend to eat more fruits and veggies in their regular diet.
Now we all know that whole fruits and veggies are the best way to get your nutrients, but these products are meant to "bridge the gap" between what we should be eating and what we actually eat. Life gets busy and sometimes we don't eat as many veggies as we should. These chewables just help make up the difference. They are not vitamins. It is actual fruits and veggies powdered and put into chewable gummies that taste almost as good as candy. Powdered produce!
To be honest, I like the product so much, I signed up to distribute it myself. Mostly why I did that, however, was to be able to share the health benefits with more people.
Did I mention that kids can get Juice Plus+ (chewables or capsules) for free (ages 4-18)! When a grown-up places an adult order (chewables or capsules), a child in their life can get their order free when they enroll in the Children's Health Study. All the study involves is answering a survey a few times a year. This free deal extends for four years as long as the adult continues on the product. It also applies to college students if they are a full-time undergraduate student. How awesome!
2. Probiotics. I have known about the benefits of probiotics for years. Thanks to a very nutrition-educated family, I've been taking them for quite awhile. After having kids, I started looking into the use of probiotics even more. I read a few articles about how a child's microbiome develops and I knew that probiotics would be a good addition to my kids' diets as well.
We just use this powder version that you can pour into drinks. There are, of course, a lot of ways to get probiotics into your child's diet. Yogurt (with live cultures) is a great option if it does not include too much sugar. We are finding now that other fermented foods like pickles, sauerkraut, and kimchi can also be a good source of probiotics too (as long as they are unpasteurized) My kids are not big fans of either of these, so we stick with the powder, but there are plenty of options.
I find probiotics especially helpful when stomach or intestinal sicknesses are floating around school. I have seen that even if the probiotics don't prevent illness, they can help kids get over the stomach problems faster.
These are just a couple of items that have helped our family stay healthier recently. Both of these products have a strong basis in research and that is why I feel good using them and recommending them.
Here's to a healthy school year ahead!
**this post includes affiliate links