Seven tips for winter wellness.


This is the time of year that daycare and school bugs start to reappear. We know it well: a snuffly, runny nose appears, then a niggly cough, sore throat or watery eyes, and at times it can come with a sweaty fever too. For many of us, the ‘sniffle season’ seems to start now and continue right through to September.

Young children may experience between six and ten colds per year1, so a few weeks of winter illness at home seems to be inevitable. But there are some things you can do to keep the bugs at bay and your family healthy through the colder seasons.

1. Healthy lunchboxes

Pre-packaged foods are often high in additives, preservatives, sugar, salt and fats. Why not substitute with some of nature’s pre-packed foods? Oranges are in season, and so are mandarins. These are packed full of vitamin C and the easy peel options are great for little fingers. Add in some vegetable sticks of carrot or celery, and snow peas are a fun snack too.


2. Extra veggies at dinner

Most schools are teaching our kids the value of five plus a day. We can reinforce this at home by adding extra vegetables to the dinner plate. This boosts your child’s diet with wonderful nutrients and vitamins, and also adds a rainbow of healthy colours to the plate! Remember that children love to imitate their parents, so take the lead and let them see you enjoying all of our country’s fabulous fresh produce.


3. One pot wonders

Now is a great time to bring out the crockpot or slow cooker. Winter stews and casseroles are an easy way to add lots of healthy vegetables and nutritious meat to your family’s diet. Another great meal idea is to blitz these ingredients into soup and serve with croutons or toast soldiers for dipping. Soups are also a great way to hide vegetables so that fussy children might eat the foods they usually avoid.


4. Get outdoors

Spending time outside and running around is a great way to get some fresh air, get the body moving and ensure yourkids get some valuable Vitamin D from the sun. Keeping active helps the lymphatic system, which is responsible for moving toxins out of the body. It also helps children burn off excess energy, which in turn, helps them sleep better too. Be sure to bundle up and dress for the conditions though. In colder weather, coats, hats, scarves and mittens can all become a part of the game.


5. Good hygiene habits

Teach good hygiene habits to your children from a young age. Help them wash their hands with soap and warm water before meals and snacks, after playgrounds, and after the toilet for older kids. Try to discourage your children from rubbing their eyes or nose to avoid transferring germs. As soon as they’re old enough, teach them to use a tissue to catch sneezes and coughs, and to dab their watery eyes or itchy nose. Schools and kindergartens are now teaching kids to cough or sneeze into their elbow to catch germs – better on their clothing than their hands!


6. Wind down with a warm bath

A warm bath or shower in the evening before bed will not only keep young bodies clean, but may help them have a better sleep as well. It may be worth considering changing your evening routine in winter though, especially if it’s “hair washing night”. Try having the bath before dinner, so there is plenty of time for hair to dry before bed.


7. Plenty of zzzzzz’s

Sleep is the best way to rejuvenate and restore, ready for the next busy day. Make sure there is wind down time in the lead up to bedtime. A few stories or songs while you dim the lights can be just the thing to welcome sleep.

Reference: 1. accessed 22 April 2016. Pamol® is for the treatment of children’s pain and fever. Pamol® suspensions contain paracetamol 250mg/5mL. Always read the label and use as directed. If symptoms persist see your healthcare professional. Incorrect use can be harmful. ® Registered Trademark. Aspen Pharmacare C/- Healthcare Logistics, Auckland. TAPS PP8079-MY16.