COVID-19 has drastically changed the daily routine for families. With everyone at home and school now conducted online we understand all the challenges first hand. Our recommendations aim to support parents and children during this unprecedented time.
Before all else, kids need LOVE and COMFORT. They miss their friends, schools, and routines. They feel your tension and hear the news in your home and from their friends.
- Be present. When you have time to spend with your kids put down all the distractions.
- Play. Make up new games, bring out the dusty ones, and be silly. This is a big stress-reliever and an opportunity to build special memories with your family.
- Let it go. Consider now which battles are important and when it’s OK to bend a few rules. We’re all under stress and disorder. Forgive yourself if your kids get more screen time than you plan and forgive your kids if they’re exhibiting behavior you don’t like.
When it comes to supplemental nutrients, kids are mostly smaller versions of grown-ups, and so what supports your immune system will also support your kid(s). Make changes to dose amounts (below) and keep in mind that recommendations provided are for kids over 4 years. Please consult a pediatrician for your toddlers or infants.
- Elderberry syrup usually passes kids’ standards. Take the dose recommendations above (700-1000mg) and divide by 150 then multiply by the total pounds in weight. Option to add it to sparkling water for a juice-like drink. You can also find these in a gummy that kids like. Just watch the dose of zinc and consider giving with food (not grains, nuts, seeds or legumes)
- Zinc for kids can be dosed to smaller amounts easier in liquid, such as Zinc Liquid by Pure Encapsulations. These can be easier than lozenges which are tempting to chew and may make tummies upset.
- Vitamin C is so abundant in foods that we highly recommend kids get their vitamin C from foods such as citrus fruits (lemons, limes, oranges, and tangerines), mangos, kiwi, strawberries, pineapple, red, orange and yellow bell peppers, jalapeños and chili peppers, kale, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts. A fresh lemon or lime wedges to your water each day.
- Stick to whole fruits and vegetables which have fiber. Even natural sugars found in juices will give kids a sugar rush. Another option is to dilute the juice in water or sparkling water and serve it with a whole piece of fruit with a fat and protein, like an apple with almond or sun butter.
- Kid-friendly garlic ideas – add to guacamole, hummus, or mix it with butter. Put on steamed squash or veggies. Mince garlic and add to whole grains or pastas. Mix into mashed potatoes
- Kid-friendly ginger ideas – avoid ginger ales or ginger beers thanks to the high sugar. Instead, juice the ginger and add about 1 tsp (moderate for tolerated spiciness) to soda water with a squeeze of fresh lemon, or add powdered or ginger juice to a smoothie with cinnamon.
More ideas for hand washing & germs:
- Make sure kids get both sides of their hands and between their fingers. The CDC has some fun posters you can hang up next to your sink.
- Wash hands before and after meals and snacks.
- Give little kids stickers or marbles every time they wash their hands. Come up with a fun activity to do together as a reward for being so diligent!
- Don’t forget to teach kids how to use the towel to turn off faucets and open doors before they leave the bathroom without getting germs on their hands again.
- Now is a good time to practice keeping hands out of mouths.
- If you’re sick, set up an extra laundry basket for “dirty” toys and encourage kids to put their used toys here so that you can spray them with disinfectant. Refer to guidance from the CDC for disinfecting toys and other things.
Additional Kids Resources:
- Go Noodle. Don’t miss the Flow channel for meditative exercises especially for kids.
- Printable Mad Libs. For creative storytelling.
- Raz-Kids. Online reading*
- Epic! Digital reading library*
- IXL. Online math practice.*
- PBS Kids. Free online games for younger kids.
- *Schools get access to many online education programs for free. Check with your school or classroom teachers.
- Check your local library for online resources for reading.
- Amazon is giving 2 free months of Kindle Unlimited and is a great option for older kids who love to read.
- YouTube Kids app for iPhone and Android is a safer way to access videos for kids.
- Sticky Fingers Cooking provides delicious recipes kids can make at home (supervision is recommended for most of these recipes). Recipes include cool facts about the recipes, cuisine or origin.
- The Kids Cook Monday. Easy recipes with clearly marked adult and kid instructions.
- There are loads of other ideas for fun activities and crafts online from creative moms & dads!
Kid-Assisted Meatball Bowls
1 lb ground beef or turkey
1 large egg
3 TB coconut milk (preferred canned)
2 tsp coconut aminos
2 cloves minced garlic
¼ tsp ginger
¼ tsp cinnamon
½ tsp sea salt
Dash black pepper
2-3 TB coconut oil (for cooking the meatballs)
A mix of steamed fresh or frozen vegetables: broccoli, cauliflower, carrot, red cabbage, snow pea, mushroom, spinach
Serve over cooked rice, Raman, or Soba noodles
- If you’re using fresh veggies, chop into bite-size pieces and set aside.
- Help kids measure the meat, egg, coconut milk, aminos, spices, salt and pepper into a large bowl. TIP: The smaller the kids the bigger the bowl to help make sure it stays off the counter.
- Mince the garlic. Older kids who have knife skills can also do this with supervision. Add to the bowl.
- Use your hands to mix everything well. Roll into golf ball size balls and set on a plate. In the meantime, heat a large skillet or cast-iron pan and add coconut oil.
- Fill your pot with water and add the rough veggies to your steam basket, such as the cauliflower, cabbage or carrots. (Option to boil the veggies in 3-4” of water with the lid on for a steam-like effect.)
- Add the meatballs to the hot pan and rotate to cook on all sides.
- Add the broccoli and peas later as these have short cook times. Mushrooms and spinach tend to have a more preferable texture when they’re fresh or just barely steamed so add these last.
- Fill bottom 1/3 of a bowl or plate with cooked noodles or rice. Top with veggies and add a sprinkle of salt.
- Top with a few meatballs and dig in! (Cooked meatballs freeze well for 3-4 months. Thaw and reheat)
Homemade Chicken Tenders
1 lb organic chicken breast tenders, rinsed and cleaned
2 C Panko or Gluten-Free Panko Bread Crumbs (we like Ian’s brand), increase as needed
1/3 C Parmesan Cheese
2 large eggs
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp paprika
½ tsp garlic powder
Optional dipping sauces: marinara, honey, hummus,
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or top with a wire rack.
- Help kids scramble egg onto a salad-size plate. (Smaller kids can scramble in a large plastic cup or shake the egg in a mason jar with lid, then pour onto plate.)
- Measure Panko onto a 2nd salad-size plate, add Parmesan cheese, salt, paprika and garlic powder. Mix together carefully with a fork. (for smaller kids, put all ingredients into a qt-size zip bag and shake to mix, then pour onto plate.)
- Dip chicken tenders into egg mixture to coat both sides. Then, dip in Panko mixture. Press to coat. TIP: If you use the same fingers on the egg and Panko they’ll start to cake up. Use different hands or separate the tasks between cooks.
- Place the coated chicken on the baking sheet or wire rack. Bake for about 20 minutes turning once. Cook times will vary based on your oven and the size of your chicken pieces. Cut through to test for doneness.
- Serve with your favorite veggies! Leftovers store in the refrigerator or freezer.
For more information and resources on supporting your health during these times, please read our other blogs:
Immune Boosting Protocols for the Pandemic
Stress, Anxiety, and Isolation Support
Disclaimer: Nutrition therapy is not intended as a diagnosis, treatment, prescription, or cure for any disease, or as a substitute for medical care. Jen Marshall and Stacy St Germain are not licensed medical providers. Nutrition plans are not intended as a substitution for traditional medical care, nor should be interpreted as medical advice, but instead is an adjunctive and supportive therapy.