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Three ways to help your kids stay healthy this fall.

It's that time of year again. Families may be still trying to take that last summer trip before classes starts. Between shopping for clothes and school supplies, things may be pretty hectic around your house.

There's a level of stress that comes at the beginning of any school year, so the better prepared your child is, the easier the transition will be.

1. Get your kids back into a routine of going to bed early. When they get run down, their small bodies suffer. With a weakened immune system, they're more likely to fall victim to any cold or flu bug going around the classroom.

If they're not feeling well, you'll have irritable children and that can affect their performance at school. Lack of sleep keeps them from being alert in the classroom and focusing on their studies.

2. Make sure your child has a healthy diet. Don't let their dislike of certain foods keep you from preparing delicious meals that will fuel their bodies throughout the day.

There are so many ways to incorporate healthy foods into their diet. From fruit and vegetable smoothies for breakfast, cut up broccoli, carrots, and celery in their lunch, to spaghetti made with cooked vegetables and zucchini noodles for dinner.

Snacks don't have to be full of sugar to be good. Make cupcakes, muffins, and brownies made with dark chocolate, rolled oats, bananas, applesauce, and even cooked sweet potatoes. You can add organic protein powders that contain an assortment of fruits, vegetables, antioxidants, fiber, and healthy fats.

3. Besides a healthy diet, your child needs to stay active. Today's children spend far too much time playing video games and watching TV. The increase in childhood illnesses and obesity reflect their sedentary lifestyle. This often leads to digestive issues, particularly constipation.

Children often have tummy issues and struggle with constipation. They should have one to two bowel movements every day. Make sure they're drinking plenty of water and going to the bathroom regularly.

This topic can be uncomfortable for parents to talk about with their kids, but it's important for kids to understand how their body works. Many of the digestive problems adults deal with started during childhood. Have open conversations about health issues, so your children will come to you when a problem arises, and they won't be embarrassed.

Also, parents, if you haven't already, talk to your pre-teen children about changes they will be experiencing in the their body. This can be a scary time, but if they are expecting it, it can reduce some of the anxiety and fear.

I believe the increase in childhood illnesses reflects the Standard American Diet (pizza, fries, burgers, chips, and pop) that is so prevalent. It's not that parents don't care. I think they simply don't realize the dangers they and their children face when they're eating these foods on a regular basis.

The best way to have healthy children is by first being healthy yourself. It won't happen overnight, but with determination and patience, you can change the future of your family. Get everyone involved and explain how your diet and lifestyle choices affect every area of life.

Don't wait for sickness to hit your family. Take preventative measures today to ensure your kids a great school year and a bright tomorrow.

To your health,

Coach Maggie

Certified Health & Wellness Coach

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