Information & Advice
Health & Beauty Magazine
Health & Beauty Magazine Online Editor
Published 10th September 2008
Having a tasty, nutritionally-balanced lunch helps keep kids full of energy throughout the day.
If you want to give them a healthy lunch, but you're not sure where to start, ‘check out the weekly menu ideas for 5 to 8-year-olds and 9 to 12-year-olds, as recommended by the Food Standards Agency [www.eatwell.gov.uk],’ says Vicky Pennington, dietician and Boots in-house nutritionist.
‘Generally, a healthy lunchbox should contain the following foods:
‘Starting school is a big adventure,’ says clinical psychologist Claire Halsey. Try these tips if your child feels:
The right food can help maintain healthy brain function.
‘If children eat too much of the wrong kind of carbohydrates and refined starchy foods, their blood and brain sugar levels may start roller-coasting and their concentration can wander,’ says Patrick Holford, author of Optimum Nutrition for Your Child. He recommends these low-GL (glycaemic load) options:
‘Supplementation can be a reliable way to ensure your child gets the appropriate levels of all the vitamins and minerals they need to be optimally nourished,’ says Patrick.
‘Many firms formulate multivitamin and mineral supplements with all the necessary nutrients for children.’ As B vitamins can mildly stimulate by releasing energy from food, give them at breakfast, not at night.
‘Let your school nurse know about any health conditions your child has so they can provide support,’ says Christine Brown, school nurse consultant.
Here are three to mention…
What’s the best way to tackle head lice?
Christine Brown: ‘Options to consider include “bug busting” where you apply conditioner, then use a fine-toothed comb to “capture” the lice. But the most successful treatments are over-the-counter medicines or medical devices. Some contain an insecticide that targets the lice’s central nervous systems. But some lice are resistant to insecticides so you may prefer formulations with dimeticone. Apply according to the instructions on the packaging. For more information, visit www.onceaweektakeapeek.com.’
What will get rid of stubborn verrucas?
Angela Chalmers, Boots pharmacist: ‘Verrucas are viruses that burrow into the skin, causing a wart. A treatment containing salicylic acid gel can be effective but you must apply it following the pack instructions. Some products advise you to use them for a specified time, and then remove the dead layers of skin with an emery board before continuing treatment. Do this regularly as it can take 3-6 months to be fully rid of a verruca, depending on how many and how deep they are.
‘Another option is to use a freezing product, which can cause the verruca to drop off after 10 days. If this doesn’t work, see your doctor who may run a freezing clinic at the surgery.’
My child is prone to ear infections – what can I do to help stop them recurring?
Angela Chalmers: ‘Some kids are simply more prone to them. As most ear infections are viral, antibiotics may not help. Instead, focus on keeping your child’s immune system in tip-top condition, as kids often get ear infections if they are a bit run-down or have just had a cold.
'A healthy, balanced diet and a daily multivitamin will support the immune system. If your child gets infections after he’s been swimming, use earplugs to help prevent water getting into the inner ear.’
What should I do to treat my nine-year-old’s fever?
Angela Chalmers: ‘In children the most common cause of fever is a viral or bacterial infection. As well as having an abnormally high temperature, children with a fever can feel clammy, sweaty, irritable, tired and flushed. They may also have a headache or aches and pains and, if the fever rises rapidly, may experience chills and shivering.
‘Peel off any layers of clothing – leave a single layer of cotton clothing. Monitor your child’s body temperature, as often the forehead feels hot but the body may be cold. If so, use a light blanket and give sips of water to keep him hydrated.
‘Keep the room well ventilated, and remove any extra pillows and teddies that could make the child feel stuffy. Cooling forehead pads can also help.
‘For a fever that does not respond to child’s ibuprofen or paracetamol, or lasts over three days, visit your doctor.’
Written by Faye Rowe
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