Our Healthy Holiday Series: Happy Holiday Travels
December 22, 2015
Patsy Giarda, Pediatric Nurse Practitioner
8 Ways to Ease Travel with Kids
- AUDIO BOOKS- To cut down on excessive screen time on long car rides, choose a kid friendly audio book or series that everyone can enjoy. If you have older children, Harry Potter can be a big hit and is also one of my personal favorites.
- SNACK BAG – It can be helpful to have a collection of snacks already portion controlled in bags or glass/BPA free plastic containers ready to hand to your child. Having snacks already prepared can reduce stress if the child has diet restrictions and also cut down on unhealthy choices while on the road.
- PLANE RIDES – Sipping on a beverage/bottle or for older children chewing gum can help regulate the inner ear pressure. This should help ease the dreaded ear pain/discomfort during takeoff or landing.
- IMMUNE BOOSTERS – One can never predict when and where a child will start to get sick if coming down with an illness. It’s best to stock up and travel with the immune support vitamins and minerals to have them on hand just in case those first signs of illness present while still travelling or on vacation. Consider starting the immune supporting supplements, except for vitamin A, prior to travel. It’s also a good idea to have dye-free ibuprofen and allergy medication (if age appropriate) on hand just in case needed.
- BAG-O-FUN – Depending on the age of your child, different age levels of activities may be needed to help occupy their attention. For infants and smaller children a couple of their favorite colorful toys or activity boards can be brought along for entertainment. For older children and teenagers, activity books, novels, coloring books, sticker books, mini etch a sketch, LCD boogie board, scratch and sketch, etc can be fun ways to keep them occupied.
- MINDFUL EATING – Eating on the road with dietary restrictions can be challenging. There are a few online resources to help locate a “gluten free” or “various other food restrictions” restaurant that can accommodate your specific requirements or restrictions.
- LESS IS MORE – Over packing can easily occur when travelling with one or multiple children- especially infants. It can be tempting to consider renting a Uhaul to have all the “necessities” on hand. However many hotels offer cribs upon request. Rental of baby equipment at the city of destination (i.e. cribs, strollers, high chairs, etc.) is possible through the company Baby’s Away. It’s also a good idea to pack lighter on the clothes if a laundry facility will be available to you. Making a packing list is a useful way to ensure that all essentials are brought along.
- EXERCISE – If driving, breaks at rest stops with grassy areas set safely away from the parking lot can be a great opportunity to get some exercise and burn off some excess energy during long car rides. Bring a frisbee or small ball which is compact for the car, and can be a fun way to get out and let kids run a bit before the all important potty break before getting back in the car. If travelling to a new destination and if time permits, try a walking tour to explore the new city.
WHOLISTIC HEALTH TIP OF THE WEEK
The increased traveling, togetherness, and crowds of the holidays and winter season brings increased exposure to virus and bacteria. Remember to take preventative measures, and take early action to stay healthy. One possibility is treating your body to our “Meyer’s Cocktail” – an intravenous vitamin C and B-complex. The Meyer’s Cocktail is an effective strategy for preventing illness and fatigue or as a quick pick-me-up after the increased stress and burnout of the holiday season. When taken by mouth, our bodies can only absorb about 500 mg of vitamin C at a time. Intravenous administration, however, allows our bodies to absorb much higher quantities, which provides us better protection.
WHOLISTIC RECIPE OF THE WEEK
Cathy’s Travel-Friendly Healthy Cinnamon Toasted Pecans
- 4 cups Raw Organic Pecans
- 2 tsp Organic Brown Sugar
- ½ tsp Organic Cinnamon
- 2 Tbsp Earth Balance Buttery Spread (soy free) or Coconut Oil
- ¼ tsp Sea Salt
- 2 Tbsp Organic Agave
- Preheat oven to 250 degrees
- Melt butter
- Stir together all ingredients except pecans
- Add in pecans
- Lay flat on baking dish
- Bake for 1 hour
- Stir every 15 minutes
Dr. Catherine Nutting, Family Nurse Practitioner, Metabolic and Nutritional Medicine
May the Light Be with You: Combatting the Winter Holiday Blues
Many people take a reactive approach to the holiday season: decorating, shopping, attending, preparing, traveling. The list of to-do’s is long and expectations are high to get the perfect gift, make everything look just right, and complete all the holiday tasks. The tasks we take on seem to get longer and longer each year. In addition, many people travel to attend their holiday festivities.
On top of already busy life schedules, the additional pressures of the holidays can overwhelm even the most grounded person and create holiday anxiety or holiday blues. This increased stress, along with decreased light exposure and low vitamin D levels, too often lead to seasonal affective disorder (SAD) or seasonal depression.
Winter solstice marks the day of year with the shortest amount of sunlight and longest amount of darkness. (This year winter solstice started December 21 at 11:49 pm EST.) This decrease in light exposure can contribute to worsening depression. Make sure to take advantage of the short window of sun exposure by taking a walk outside during the day. If this isn’t feasible, or your levels are already low, make sure you are consistently take your vitamin D supplement!
Patsy Giarda is a Board Certified Pediatric Nurse Practitioner. Patsy obtained a Bachelor’s in Nursing from Florida State University, and a Master’s of Science in Nursing from the University of South Florida, with a concentration in Pediatric Primary Care. While working many years in various inpatient pediatric settings, she developed a passion for helping families understand the disease processes going on with their child. She discovered that with knowledge, these families could become empowered to take control of their child’s health management.