How to keep kids energized this summer
MANILA, Philippines – The usually quiet streets transform into playgrounds of children during summer despite the intense heat.
The increasing temperature brought about by the season, however, can put anyone’s health at risk – especially kids’.
Staying under the sun – exposed to the heat – for long durations can lead to dehydration, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke, among others. (READ: Summer maladies, first aid remedies)
Filipinos have been more at risk of these “summer ills” as temperatures have been increasing in recent times. In 2014, the temperature during the summer period of April to May 2014 hovered between 35 to 37 degrees Celsius. The “hottest days” were during May 21 to 22, at 37 degrees Celsius.
Lack of energy in children
Children are very active when school is out. But being active entails burning energy, which should be replenished constantly. If not, kids could suffer from energy deficiency.
Replacing used energy can be done through eating. However, eating alone is not enough as one should consider nutrients that food contains.
According to studies, the kind and amount of food your child eats affects his physical and mental well-being. (READ: Learning on an empty stomach)
The World Health Organization (WHO) said that children who do not eat enough nutritious food “lack energy,” impairing their ability to function and interact well with other people. Without enough energy, a child may not be as jolly and enthusiastic as other healthy children. (READ: Hunger children: What happens to their behavior?)
One out of 10 Filipino adults suffer from Chronic Energy Deficiency (CED), according to the Food and Nutrition Research Institute (FNRI)’s latest National Nutrition Survey.
It is possible for children – especially those who are so active but do not get enough nutrients – to add to this statistic when they get older.
During summer, it is frequent for families to eat unhealthy food to feel refreshed. Unfortunately, these can take a toll on the health of children.
It does not take much to make sure that a child's health is not compromised during the summer, according to the FNRI.
Aside from following the nutritional guidelines set by the institute, these practical trips can also be followed to keep the fun – and the sickness away – during the summer:
1. Make water and milk your child’s best friends
These two beverages are considered best to consume.
Water can ensure that a child is hydrated throughout the day as it regulates the temperature of the body. A person should consume more than 8 glasses of water a day, especially with the summer heat.
Meanwhile, milk is a very good source of calcium for healthy bones, while water provides the medium of transportation, chemical reactions, protection, lubrication, and temperature regulation in our body.
If a child prefers to drink juices, sugar content of the ready-to-drink type should be watched. It is better to produce homemade juices to ensure that these are 100% healthy and beneficial.
2. Make the most out of fruits and vegetables
Filipinos do not eat enough fruits, according to FNRI's latest Food Consumption Survey (FCS). Only two fruits – tomatoes and bananas – made it to the 20 frequently consumed foods by Filipino households. (READ: What are the top 20 food products consumed by Filipinos?)
This is unfortunate as a lot of benefits can be obtained from fruits. In addition to vegetables and dairy, fruits can be served as healthy snacks in various ways.
Fresh fruits can be added to desserts – an example is putting fresh watermelons on ice cream – to have an additional vitamin in the food. If that's not enough, fruit juices can be freezed and pureed in a blender.
Fruits are also usually cheaper during summer months compared to the rest of the year.
Meanwhile, vegetables can be included in daily meals as viands. In addition, other vegetables such as carrots can be cut into strips for snacks.
Keep in mind, however, that fruits and vegetables should be fresh. (READ: Beat the heat: How to protect yourself with fruits this summer)
3. Prevent food contamination
Summer diarrhea affects children the most during hot weather. This is caused usually by the presence of Salmonella and other harmful bacteria.
These are found in products such as raw meat and sometimes, in unwashed fruits. Cross-contamination often occurs when food is prepared on something previously in contact with the said food products.
Food contamination can be prevented if the one handling food maintains high standards such as: cooking thoroughly, being hygienic, and using only safe food products. (READ: Preventing food contamination: 5 ways to ensure food safety)
Summer can be the happiest days for a child. Don't let health risks get in the way of a child's joyful summer. – Rappler.com
Do you have any more ideas how to keep children healthy and energized this summer? Let us know in the comments section!
Fruits, vegetables, beverages image via Shutterstock