More than a year into the Covid-19 pandemic, caregivers are having to ensure children’s nutritional needs are being met for normal growth, while also boosting immunity to protect against the 3rd wave. With finances incredibly stretched in many households, Laager Tea4Kidz partner and specialist dietitian, Mbali Mapholi (@Urbandietitian), is offering some affordable and sustainable nutritional solutions to keep children healthy this winter.
Laager Tea4Kidz Brand Manager, Wandile Ngubane, explained that the brand is centred on the holistic wellbeing of South African children: “The Delta variant driving the 3rd wave is the most transmissible coronavirus variant to date. And while vaccinations against the virus are still unavailable to children, we need to ensure their immunity is supported to protect them as much as possible. To assist parents and caregivers in this regard, we’ve asked Mbali to share some practical and affordable tips.”
With years of experience in child-focused nutrition, Mapholi has a keen understanding of how best to boost children’s immunity: “The pandemic has caused many people to be unemployed, making food shopping an additional financial challenge. There is also an added pressure that comes with meeting nutritional needs for children to help support their immune systems during the winter season, and even more so with Covid-19 infections on the rise. It boils down to a varied diet of foods that offer nutrients to support your child’s immunity, gut health and mental health. This can be achieved in a few simple steps. ”
Mbali’s 7 tips to supports children’s immunity this winter:
1. Choose a healthy beverage
Children are the biggest culprits when it comes to high consumption of sugar sweetened beverages. These drinks are poor in the essential nutrients needed in winter, which is when we lose a great deal of water due to respiratory fluid loss through breathing. Our bodies also work harder under the weight of extra clothing, and sweat evaporates quickly in cold, dry air. Keep this in mind for children as children may not report thirst, but they may be easily dehydrated in winter. Fluids can be provided in the form of:
· Rooibos tea: This is a caffeine-free, sugar-free healthy drink that helps support good health. The Laager Tea4Kidz range of Rooibos teas is developed specifically with children in mind, offering Rooibos tea flavours enriched with Vitamin C - a brilliant way to add more nutrients in a child’s diet. Rooibos also has a calming effect, making it the perfect drink during periods of anxiety.
· Milk: Either cow’s milk or nutrient-fortified, unsweetened plant-based milks are also packed with nutrients.
· Water: This is a good beverage for hydration, but it is important to remember it does not contain nutrients.
· Fruit juice: These are full of nutrients but need to be consumed in moderation as they are concentrated with natural sugar which can be a problem.
2. Keep up fruit and vegetable intake
Vegetables and fruits, particularly seasonal, are packed with a variety of nutrients which offer what your child’s body needs. Purchasing, storing, and cooking fresh vegetables can be challenging in a lockdown, but wherever possible, it is important to ensure children are getting plenty of fruit and vegetables in their diet. Some options to consider are:
· Smoothies and homemade iced Laager Tea4Kidz Rooibos teas are a fun way to add more vegetables and fruits into a child’s diet.
· Frozen fruits and vegetables are a nutritious and affordable option which can be stored for longer.
· Use vegetables to cook large batches of soups, stews or other dishes that last longer. These can be frozen and then quickly reheated.
· Canned vegetables, such as tomatoes, tend to contain lower quantities of vitamins, but they are a great fall-back option when fresh produce or frozen vegetables are hard to come by.
3. Embrace wholegrains
Legumes and wholegrains are packed with essential nutrients for good health including dietary fibre which is great for good gut health.
· Canned beans and chickpeas provide an abundance of nutrients and can be stored for months or even years.
· Canned oily fish such as sardines, pilchards and salmon are rich in protein, omega 3 fatty acids, vitamins and minerals. Use them in sandwiches, salads, or pasta dishes, or cooked as part of a warm meal for children. Omega-3 fats are also known to trigger the production of serotonin which helps ease anxiety.
· Plant sources of omega 3, such as flaxseeds, can be added to smoothies, breads or even thrown into casseroles and other side dishes.
· Dried goods like beans, pulses, and grains - lentils, split peas, rice, and sorghum - are also nutritious, long-lasting options that are tasty, affordable, and filling. Sorghum cooked with milk or water is an excellent breakfast option with fresh fruit on the side. You can also blend up chickpeas with oil to make hummus for a dip or spread on bread.
4. Build up a stock of healthy snacks
Children often get hungry between meals, but try to avoid sweets or salty snacks. Rather choose nuts, cheese, yoghurt (preferably unsweetened), chopped or dried fruits, boiled eggs, or other locally-available healthy options. Remember a snack is a small nutritious meal that one can have between main meals while a treat is a non-nutritious fun food that should only be eaten in moderation as part of a healthy diet. Experiment with fun snack recipe ideas from Laager Tea4Kidz at www.joekels.co.za or www.more4momz.com.
5. Involve children in preparation
Cooking and eating together is a great way to create healthy routines, strengthen family bonds and have fun. Involve your children in food preparation by letting the younger ones help with washing or sorting food items while older children help with mixing and setting the table. Children enjoy following recipes so find recipes at www.joekels.co.za or www.more4momz.com that you can do together.
6. Limit highly-processed foods
While using fresh produce may not always be possible, try limit the amount of highly-processed foods. Ready-to-eat meals, packaged snacks and desserts are often high in saturated fat, sugars and salt. These foods consumed in high quantities may negatively impact a child’s gut health which in turn may affect their mental health. If you do purchase processed foods, check the label and try to choose healthier options.
7. Encourage healthy living
Beyond the nutritional aspect, there are other ways to boost a child’s immunity. These include:
· Sleep: This supports immunity, good gut health and mental health. Children are often allowed to stay up too late in the holidays and wake up early which is not ideal. The recommended sleep time depends on age, but everyone needs at least 6 to 8 hours of quality sleep.
· Regulated sun exposure: Children should play in the sun for at least for 15 to 20 minutes during the day with most of their skin exposed to the sun for the production for Vitamin D. This is important for immunity, with Vitamin D deficiency associated with seasonal depression and enhanced anxiety.
· Keeping active: Allow children to be safely active while observing pandemic regulations. It is easy for them to spend a lot of time on screen during the holidays so encourage them to play in and outside the house.
Tea4Kidz, Laager’s range of Rooibos teas designed specifically with kids in mind, is available in a range of five delicious flavours, including 2 with added Vitamin C. Tea4Kidz provides parents with a healthy drink option to ensure adequate hydration throughout the year. For more information, visit www.joekels.co.za.
Joekels pack, blend and distribute some of South Africa’s most popular household tea brands including Tetley, Laager, Tea Time, Tea4Kidz, and Society Coffee. Started in 1994 by businessman, Joe Swart and Master Tea Blender, Jonathan Kelsey, Joekels is an award-winning brand with both Halaal and Kosher accreditation, as well as the highest global food safety and quality certification, FSSC 22000. The Laager Rooibos brand is accredited by the Heart & Stroke foundation of South Africa. Visit www.joekels.co.za
About Laager Tea4Kidz
Tea4Kidz is Laager’s range of Rooibos teas, the first tea ever created just for kids. Providing parents with a healthier drink option for their young ones, Tea4Kidz is available in six flavours, including the new Tea4Kidz+ range with added Vitamin C. The beverage has all the associated benefits of Rooibos, including being naturally caffeine- and sugar-free, boosting immunity and relieving symptoms of allergies. Visit www.more4momz.com for more info.
Issued on behalf of: Joekels
Olivia Jones Communications
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