Fall is the perfect time to focus on supporting our immune system and lifestyle so we can adjust to the new season with ease and feel our best. It’s also a great time to take stock of children’s diets to ensure that health-supporting foods are included in their meals and snacks each day to support immunity, gut health, and more. This not only encourages good nutrition, but a healthier immune system and better gut health for growing little ones.
Speaking of gut health, most of us know that it’s more important than ever to include gut-friendly probiotic foods in littles ones’ diets. This is especially true during the fall season when immune systems can take a hit due to weather changes and changing schedules. Back-to-school season is the best time to take stock of your little ones’ routines, including their meals and snacks, since it helps all of us get back into a regular routine. But, don’t the lose momentum! Keep it up all fall with easy tips from our kitchen to yours.
Why Probiotics Are Important in Children’s Diets
The first few years of life are a critical development window for the gut microbiome, and therefore, the immune system as the two develop together. Babies’ guts are first exposed during delivery, and then thereafter during nursing or feeding, and environmental factors. In fact, pregnant and nursing mothers are encouraged to consume healthy diets that include bacteria-rich foods, such as Lifeway Kefir, to help establish beneficial microbes in babies from the beginning, which is important for their immune system and neurocognitive development.
As babies are introduced to solid food and a varied diet around 6 months of age, their gut microbiomes change. Including whole milk kefir as a first food is a smart choice because it contains beneficial probiotics to help support the developing microbiome and immune system. In addition, kefir contains complete protein, along with vital nutrients such as calcium, vitamin D, B12, and others that little ones need to thrive. To feed babies kefir, try mixing into cereals, mashed potatoes, pureed fruits or just dipped on a spoon.
How a Healthy Diet With Probiotics Benefits Children
The continued use of probiotic foods in the diets of babies, toddlers, and kids helps maintain a healthy microbiome and immune system as they grow. This may help shorten the duration of illness, prevent disease, and reduce the risk of future health problems. Studies have shown that probiotics have been helpful in shortening acute viral gastroenteritis in children and preventing antibiotic-associated diarrhea. In addition, there is promising research in preventing atopic dermatitis and other allergies, as well as relieving symptoms in those with IBS and colitis.
As children get older and start the school-age years, they are in the stages of life where immune systems get challenged with every bug passed around and they need optimal support for healthy growth, daily metabolism, and gut function. It’s easy for adults to forget that kids’ tummies can struggle with the same things we as adults struggle with—poor digestion, upset tummies, irregularity, and more. They also need optimal support to have a happy mood, a strong immune system, and even dental health. By including living probiotic foods with healthy cultures in their diets, you can help their microbiome and immune system function at their best level.
How Lifeway Helps Support You and Your Children’s Health Goals
One of our focuses here at Lifeway is to make sure we’re supporting the microbiome health of all ages—including little ones. Lifeway makes a variety of high-quality, easy grab-and-go probiotic-rich products that are also great sources of complete protein we all need. Plus, they come in fun and delicious flavors that kids will love!
Lifeway ProBugs is our focused product for little tummies and comes in BPA-free pouches that make getting in nutrients easier than ever. Our ProBugs are made of our organic kefir made of whole milk for optimal protein, healthy vitamins, and vitamin and mineral absorption. It’s a good source of protein for kids and is packed with the same beneficial probiotics as our regular line of kefir! These fun pouches also come in flavors kids will love like Goo Berry (mixed berry), Creamy Orange (orange), and Strawnana (strawberry banana). They’re so good even adults love them too!
We also make portable-friendly 8-ounce bottles in many flavors of our Low-Fat Kefir line that adults and older kids will love. These are perfect for sports practice, gymnastics, school lunches, or just daily errands on the go. They come in BPA-free bottles with the same probiotics cultures as our original line of kefir products. No matter what flavor or product of our kefir you choose for your children to enjoy, know that you’re getting the highest-quality probiotic kefir possible. We take extra precautions to make the best clean probiotic foods for kids because we believe that the health of our microbiome starts early.
More Tips for Keeping Kids Healthy This Fall
Check out five more easy tips to make sure your kids have the optimal support they need to stay healthy during the changing seasons!
1. For Halloween, consider swapping half the amount of traditional candy with healthy, yet still delicious, options. For example, add mini fruit and nut bars to the candy pile along with mini organic chocolate chip granola bars. Let kids pick one traditional option and one healthier option daily after Halloween to enjoy to encourage balance and diversity.
2. For fall parties and gatherings, keep chilled pouches of Lifeway ProBugs to hand out at parties instead of sugary drinkable yogurt drinks.
3. Let kids be a part of packing lunches each night and choose 1 fruit and 1 vegetable of their choice to include in the lunchbox for the next day. Fruits and veggies are wonderful sources of fiber to support the growth of a healthy microbiome along with a strong and healthy immune system.
4. Make drinking water fun and more delicious by making fruit-essence water with strawberries, lemons, blueberries, raspberries, and limes. To do this, keep a pitcher of water in the fridge with a different fruit each week, and kids will learn to love the way it tastes and enjoy the fun colors! This encourages healthy water intake and keeps things fun in the kitchen without tons of sugar or artificial ingredients.
5. When preparing fall desserts like brownies and cupcakes for parties, sports gatherings, and more, try one of our favorite hacks to make them healthier. Use canned pumpkin purée, unsweetened applesauce, blended zucchini, and Lifeway Farmer Cheese instead of all the oil or butter.
Or, try using blended fruits like bananas or unsweetened applesauce for half the amount of sugar called for. You can half the oil or butter with pumpkin purée, unsweetened applesauce, blended zucchini in the food processor, or Lifeway Farmer Cheese (the best cottage cheese replacement) instead of using all oil or butter in most baked goods. This not only helps children eat healthier and more balanced but also sneaks healthy veggies, fruits, and protein (from Lifeway Farmer Cheese) into their diets more easily. You can also use our regular low-fat kefir line instead of buttermilk for healthier pancakes, waffles, cakes, cupcakes, and more!
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