A healthy lunch is composed of at least three food groups, which provide the necessary fuel for learning and play. Ideally, we would find a source of whole grain, lean protein, vegetable and fruit inside every child’s lunch box. This combination provides lasting energy.
From a technical viewpoint, the mixture of long-acting and short-acting carbohydrates from the grain and fruit provide a good foundation for energy, while the fiber from the vegetables can slow digestion and provide a lasting sensation of fullness. Additionally, the lean protein takes a bit longer to digest and can also keep an individual satisfied for longer.
If your child is leaving for college soon, chances are you’re in the final stretch of getting all of the basic necessities together and checking items off of your to-do list. But one important aspect that can be overlooked is healthcare.
Make Sure Everything is Up to Date
Bacterial meningitis is a contagious and fast-moving disease, and first-year college students are often at a greater risk due to common lifestyle factors like living in crowded dorms and sharing personal items. Talk with your child’s primary physician about the bacterial meningitis vaccine and whether it is recommended. Other vaccines may need a booster, like tetanus, so a quick check-in can be helpful to make sure everything is up to date. Also, make sure your child doesn’t need any school/sport physical paperwork filled out and, if they do need this paperwork, plan ahead to get in with their doctor to get it filled out and get any labs/titers (if necessary).
We have a lot of success stories at the Pediatric Fitness Clinic. And when we do, we will ask the kids what helped them be successful. Nearly every single kid responds with:
- Finding something they liked to do
- Doing the activity with someone they enjoy being with
It can be challenging to find something kids like to do. And as parents, we all know that if kids don’t like to do something, it’s going to be a struggle. Not every kid will want to play little league or soccer, but with a bit of investigating and a lot of patience, you can find options out there your kids will enjoy. Maybe it’s Ultimate Frisbee, riding a bike, swimming or dancing– it may take several tries.
As a resident doctor, I cared for an eight year old boy named Kyle. Kyle had been riding his bike when a police officer stopped him for not wearing a helmet. After a stern warning, Kyle made sure to wear his helmet the following day, and that was the day that his bike was struck by a car. He suffered significant injuries and had a long road to recovery, but his bike helmet saved his life.
Whether your child is playing or sitting at the beach, heat exposure does a toll on their bodies and puts them at risk for dehydration. Children are more prone to dehydration than adults because their bodies don’t cool as efficiently. The danger comes when fluid is not being replaced from sweat that is being lost.
Be on the lookout for the first symptoms of dehydration:
- Dry lips and tongue
- Dark urine color
- Decrease in urination
- Feeling overheated