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Helping Your Teen Stay Healthy and Safe This Winter

With a busy schedule filled with homework, social events, and extracurricular activities, it can be hard for teenagers to maintain a healthy lifestyle. This is especially true in the winter as the days shorten and the weather cools. Your teenager’s health should not worsen with the arrival of winter. With the help of Glen Allen Pediatrics and the tips below, you can help keep your teen happy and healthy all winter long.

Keeping Teens Healthy

One of the hardest parts about winter is finding fresh foods to feed your family. Often times, teenagers have quite hectic schedules filled with school, extracurricular activities and social events. That’s why it’s critical that they eat foods which help them obtain the nutrients necessary to give them plenty of energy during the short, colder days of winter.

To help your teenager stay energetic all day long, make sure you are feeding them energy-rich foods. Salmon, for example, is protein-rich and low in fats. This heart-healthy protein is packed with amino acids and is a wholesome addition to any meal this winter.

To help your teen avoid that pesky winter cold or flu, make sure they eat plenty of citrus fruits. Citrus fruits, which include oranges, grapefruits, and clementines, are packed with vitamin C, which helps boost your child’s immune system, keeping them healthy all season long. You can pack a citrus fruit in your teen’s lunchbox as a snack to help boost their immune system throughout the school day.

You can also feed them other vitamin-rich vegetables. Dark, leafy greens such as kale, chard, and collards all thrive in the chill of winter, often surviving through the first frost. These vibrant greens grace the produce section in the winter when other produce options are scarce. Dark, leafy greens are a great source of vitamins A, C, and K.  These vegetables are also a good source of minerals such as iron and calcium. 

Keeping Teens Active

As the cold weather of winter sets in, it becomes increasingly difficult to maintain the proper levels of physical activity necessary for a healthy lifestyle. It is recommended that teens get at least 60 minutes of exercise each day. While many teenagers join sports teams and partake in other after-school activities in order to stay active and healthy, it becomes more difficult to exercise outside when the weather cools.

In the wintertime, many families find it best to take advantage of the many activities at local community centers in order to find opportunities for staying physically active. Oftentimes, there are recreational sports and other activities at your local YMCA. Winter is a great time to encourage your teen to try something new like indoor rock climbing or indoor swimming, which can get them involved in a fun new hobby and while still helping them maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Keeping Teens Safe

WInter can be a rather dangerous time for teenagers as well. With freezing roadways and shorter, darker days, driving conditions often worsen in the winter months. It’s important that you discuss hazardous driving conditions with your teen and help them understand that they need to be extra cautious when driving.

Remind your teen to be patient while driving during the wintertime and to always be alert for ice on the roadway. You may also want to prepare each vehicle with an emergency roadside kit just in case an accident or breakdown occurs in the below-freezing weather. You should also make sure you and your teen are both familiar with basic winter driving strategies to help avoid an accident this season.

For more information about your teenager’s specific health needs, contact Glen Allen Pediatrics today by dialing (804) 282-4210. As a small practice, the doctors, nurses, and staff at Glen Allen Pediatrics will get to know you and your child, providing continued, quality care that is customized to their needs.