Summer Health Hacks for Kids

Hey Nourish Community,

Dr. Natasha Monterey here! I recently joined Nourish Medical Center and love treating kids and their families. As summer weather blankets the US and COVID restrictions start to ease up, parents everywhere are celebrating the return to some normalcy for their kids.  After the last year and a half in quarantine, dreams of barbecues, swimming, and sunset picnics are running through all of our heads!  As we all start to get together again, we will inevitably start to share germs and as parents, we can be proactive in keeping our kids (and ourselves) healthy through these warmer months.  Additionally, as the weather heats up, parents need to be aware of the risks associated with warmer temperatures and summer activities! Keeping kiddos hydrated, replenished, and fortified with optimal nutrients can go a long way in keeping the whole family healthy this summer!

Here are some of my favorite summer healthy hacks:

Hydration:

As a general rule of thumb, kids need at least eight ounces of water per year of age per day (without factoring in heat/exercise, etc).  For example, a three-year-old would need around 24 ounces of water per day on a regular day.  Kids, just like adults lose minerals when they sweat and it is important to replace them to keep their bodies functioning optimally.  It can be beneficial to include quality electrolytes into your child’s hydration especially if they are active in sports or outdoor activities.  Dehydration and loss of electrolytes can cause fatigue, headaches, and muscle cramps- symptoms we all want to avoid for our little ones!

Eat the Rainbow:

Luckily, summer is full of delicious foods that we can incorporate into our kid’s diets to help them hydrate, stay cool, and replace minerals and nutrients!  Watermelon, cucumber, celery, zucchini, cantaloupe, honeydew, nectarines, and tomatoes are all excellent examples of summer crops that are delicious, kid-friendly, and hydrating to the body.  Given that so many delicious foods are in season in the summer, and activities like Farmer’s Markets, farm tours, and gardens are up and running, it is a great time to get out as a family and see where our food comes from.  Including children in growing, picking, and cooking foods has been shown over and over again to motivate kids to try new foods and eat the rainbow.

Rest:

I cannot emphasize enough the power of sleep in keeping the body healthy and helping it heal when it gets run down.  Time and time again in practice I see lack of sleep wreak havoc on my patient’s health.  Due to the longer days, and fun activities in the summer, it can be harder to keep our kids on a sleep routine.  Some children may benefit from the addition of magnesium to their routine to help their bodies maintain a consistent sleep schedule.  Magnesium is versatile with many different forms that can help support a variety of different health concerns and is also considered safe for (almost) all ages.  Figuring out what form of magnesium and what amount can be a bit overwhelming which is why seeing a naturopathic doctor is so important!

Individualized Medicine:

I am passionate about supporting each kid as a unique individual.  There are so many great supplements and vitamins that can help keep our immune system strong, but finding the right dose and frequency is very important to optimize wellness.  For example, kids can easily get too much of many common vitamins like vitamin D and zinc which can ultimately lead to other issues, while other supplements like trace minerals and histamine support can go overlooked.  Schedule today to get a customized plan to keep your kids healthy this summer!

-- Dr. Natasha Monterey (she/her)