August 22, 2023

Let's face it - school-aged kids get sick.


Fortunately, I've got tricks to make your little ones' academic year a whole lot healthier.


While most of us fret filling lunch boxes, the worst part about back to school might be the return of snotty noses, stomach flu, and other gross illnesses. 


Can you lend a hand to help your kids stay healthy as they head back-to-school?


You bet! 


How to Keep Your Kids Healthy at School

It’s back to school time, and, it’s going to be great! Set your kids up for success with these simple, healthy hacks:

  • Toss some nutritious food in your kids’ backpacks (and snacks!)
  • Add movement to the schedule.
  • Hug them.
  • Get some sleep (you too!)


5 Tips to Help Your Kids Stay Healthy as They Head Back to School

Trust me, I know where you're coming from - I'm a mom of two school-aged kids. So, you know I've geeked-out on all the research to bring you the best, science-backed tips to help you keep your kids healthy as they head back to school this fall.




1. Prioritize Sleep

Late nights can throw off the immune system. Consistent sleep strengthens the immune system, says science. At night, your body has a chance to rev up its immune activity, lower inflammation, and consolidate learning.


Say, “Night-night, kids!”.


 Tuck your kids into bed at a consistent time to help them stay healthy this school year. 


 2. Fuel Up

You’re probably wondering what are the best foods to pack in your kid’s lunch box to help them enjoy a healthy school year. Luckily, even picky eaters are likely to find some acceptable lunchbox ideas among this list of foods to support your kids’ immune system.


Healthy Lunch Box Ideas for Better Immune Systems:

  • Mixed berries (antioxidants)
  • Spinach smoothie (carotenoids & prebiotics)
  • Bell peppers & hummus dip (vitamin A & glutamine)
  • Sliced oranges (vitamin C)
  • Banana slices rolled in seed butter (selenium & zinc)



 3. Be active

Do you love to kick a ball with your kids? Or ride bikes? Whatever way you and your kids love to get sweaty, schedule some daily physical activity into your back-to-school routine to help your kids stay healthy.


Being active strengthens the immune system, says research.


4. Washy-Washy

Outside summer adventures probably have your child out of the handwashing habit – bring it back. Soap up those little hands at home to remind your kids of the importance of handwashing at school.




A little hand hygiene can help your kids stay healthy at school.


A study found handwashing could lower the risk of respiratory and gastrointestinal illness by 21% and 31%, respectively.



5. Give Them Hugs

Human touch is essential for your kids’ ability to stay healthy this school year.


That’s right – hug your kids, (and others you care for) as it may make them less susceptible to illnesses, such as the common cold, says research.


Parents, more hugs may also help you sleep better and reduce your stress hormone (cortisol), according to a study.






ORIGINALLY WRITTEN FOR the Canadian School of Natural Nutrition.


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Sleep and inflammation: partners in sickness and in health. Nature Reviews Immunology, 2019 July 9; 19: 702-715.


Physical exercise as a tool to help the immune system against COVID-19: an integrative review of current literature. Clin Exp Med 2021; 21(1): 15-28.


Diet and immune function. Nutrients 2019 Aug; 11(8): 1933.


Effect of hand hygiene on infectious disease risk in the community setting: a meta-analysis. Am J Public Health 2008 Aug; 98(8): 1372-1381.


Hugs and cortisol awakening response the next day: an ecological momentary assessment study. Int J Environ Res Public Health 2023 Apr; 20(7): 5340.


Does hugging provide stress-buffering social support? A study of susceptibility of respiratory infection and illness. Psychol Sci 2014 Dec; 26(2)

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