Fit for school?

How’s your back-to-school checklist going? Got the shoes, the lunchbox, the latest pencil case? Found where you put the PE kit? How about the kids? Are they all set to cope with the cold early mornings, the stress and the sudden exposure to a whole new set of bugs? Keeping kids at school can be a struggle, colds, tummy aches and just the change to routine can all play havoc with your child’s attendance. Luckily, a nutritionist may be able to help with all of these things.


Beating the bugs

The immune system is a wonderful thing and, when working properly, your child’s immune army can see off any number of attacks. Like any army though, it needs the right supplies.

Top of the list is zinc. Many children are low in this important nutrient but this doesn’t necessarily mean that you're not feeding them right! Some babies are born deficient or use up supplies fighting off bugs when they are younger. Zinc is in protein foods, so boosting these, or a supplement can help. A probiotic can be a great help in boosting immunity, too.

Friendly bugs help the body fight off unwanted bacteria and viruses, as well as keeping the gut healthy.

Tummy troubles

Both of the above can be a big help in reducing mystery tummy aches, too. Zinc helps the walls of the digestive system stay strong and the good bacteria keep the balance in the gut right. Varying your child’s diet can also help. Ring the changes, and get away from staples like toast, cereal and sandwiches if tummy aches are a problem. Of course, tummy pains can be linked to stress so the advice below may also help.


It can be hard to get to the bottom of what is stressing your child about school. Even if you’re not quite sure what’s wrong, you may still be able to help. Flower essences can be really useful. Talk to an expert to find the right one.

Essential fats have also been shown to help children concentrate. Foods such as mackerel, salmon and trout are rich in these fats as well as pumpkin seeds, linseed and walnuts. If none of these are popular with your child, there are some great supplements available.

No one wants their child to be unwell. The pressure is even greater now that schools send out threatening letters after only a few days off sick. If you are worried about your child’s attendance or just want to nip any problems in the bud, have a chat with a medical professional and consider speaking with a professional nutritionist about how they can help.

For more help and advice on back-to-school nutrition, read:

The views expressed in this article are those of the author. All articles published on Nutritionist Resource are reviewed by our editorial team.

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Exmouth, Devon, EX8
Written by Hazel Pelham
Exmouth, Devon, EX8

Hazel Pelham has been a practising nutritionist for the last 21 years. She's also a single mum with children aged 16 and 18.

She has worked with many children with immune and tummy troubles with great results.

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