School is Opened, What Should We Armed our Children with?
As school is just started to open, children and parents are started to get back to the normal routine, but of course with the new norms. As for COVID19, we can see that people are much more aware of the situation since every premises we enter there is certain Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) that public must adhere, but what
about our children own body mechanism, do they able to fight this?
Which is why, food consumption is very essential, eating the right food may help your children to have better immune system to fight bacteria and viruses. Here are few tips on what you can do in order to help your children with their immune system:
1. Better Safe than Sorry. Remind your children on the basic protective measures.
Before you drop your children at school, make sure to remind them regularly and thoroughly to wash hands with soap and water or clean them with and alcohol- based hand rub. But if they are about to eat, do not use alcohol-based hand rub, they must wash their hand before eating. Remind your children to cover their mouth and nose with the bent elbow whenever they cough or sneeze, dispose the tissue used immediately. Avoid touching eyes, nose, and mouth. Remind your children to keep the social distance, stay at least 1 meter away from anyone who is coughing or sneezing.
2. Make sure they bring plain water to school and drink plenty of water throughout the day.
Children need to drink at least 8 – 10 cups of water including from all other sources like food every day. Water is the best choice, but you can also give them other drinks (e.g: unsweetened milk), fruit and vegetables that contain water (e.g. cucumber, tomatoes, spinach, mushroom, melon, broccoli, brussels, sprouts, oranges, apples, blueberries). But there are also drinks that must be avoided such as giving them sweetened fruit juice, syrups, fruit juice concentrates, and fizzy drinks as they all contain sugar. Thus, it is best to bring plain water to school so that will be easier for children to drink it whenever they are at school.
3. Pack children meal (bento box).
Bring packed meals can save a lot of time for your children and decrease risk of exposure to unwanted surfaces at canteen and many more. Give your children food such as fruit, vegetables, legumes, nuts, and whole grains. Many children in Malaysia is exposed to processed food such as nugget, sausage, and fast food. Since it is easy to prepare. However, processed food is very unhealthy. It may impose risk on various health problem to your children.
Fruit is something that is very easy to prepare and healthy for your kids, thus prepare fruit in their bento box makes them is one of the easy, healthy bento box! Toddlers between 2- and 3-years old need about 1 cup of fruit per day. Children between 4 and 13 need 1.5 cups of fruit per day. Girls between 14 and 18 need 1.5 cups of fruit per day, and boys that age need 2 cups.
As for vegetables, you may add vegetables together with rice, pasta, or noodles in your children bento set. For vegetables, toddlers between 2 and 3 need about 1 cup of raw or cooked vegetables per day. Children between 4 and 8 need 1.5 cups of vegetables per day. Girls between 9 and 13 need 2 cups of vegetables per day, and boys need 2.5 cups. Girls between 14 and 18 need 2.5 cups of vegetables per day, and boys need 3 cups. Vary vegetable consumption to include leafy greens, brightly coloured red and orange vegetables and legumes. Eating vegetables and fruits can improve individuals’ health and prevent many diseases. This as well can improve children’ immunity and fight bacteria and viruses.
For protein, serve 2–3 portions per day (3 for a vegetarian toddler). Fish should be served at least twice per week and one of these should be oily fish (e.g. salmon, sardines, mackerel or trout). Nuts are considered protein, and they are recommended for children above 5 years old.
For milk, serve 3 portions per day. Children under 2 should have whole milk or yogurt. Those eating well can be given semi-skimmed milk after 2 years. Skimmed or 1% milk is not suitable as a drink for children under 5. Products fortified with vitamin D can make a useful contribution to intakes.
4. Add a little bit insurance
There are many working parents nowadays, thus preparing healthy meal for your children is not impossible but require a lot of effort. Preparing healthy packed meal for your children is even more rewarding when they really finish their meal and enjoying their meal but it will be even troublesome if they are picky eater thus, you have to prepare according to their palate hence make it very unhealthy, though you know it is bad for them.
Here is what you can do, you can start introduce healthy food to your children bit by bit perhaps start with a category of food per month, let say in August you are going to introduce fruits, start slowly then try to build it even more. Try with something your kids like first then only start to vary food from the same classes but with different type.
Meanwhile introducing variety of food and helping them to eat healthily, you may improve their appetite with the consumption of vitamins for kids to compensate the loss of macronutrients and micronutrients for their insurance of health. But, be sure to ask your medical professional regarding this!
1. World Health Organization (WHO). Healthy at home. Tips for maintaining healthy diet. https://www.who.int/campaigns/connecting-the-world-to-combat-coronavirus/healthyathome/healthyathome—healthy-diet (Accessed in July 2020).
2. World Health Organization (WHO). Feeding babies and young children during the COVID 19 Outbreak. http://www.emro.who.int/nutrition/nutrition-infocus/feeding-babies-and-young-children-during-the-covid-19-outbreak.html (Accessed in July 2020).
3. WebMD. 6 Vitamins and Minerals your kids need. https://www.webmd.com/health-insurance/features/family-vitamins#3 (Accessed in July 2020).
4. Harvard School of Public Health. Nutrition Insurance Policy: A Daily Multivitamin. https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/multivitamin/ (Accessed in July 2020)