Last updated on June 11th, 2023 at 02:45 pm
Summer is my absolute favorite season! There’s just something so magical about being outside in our yard or at the beach, soaking up the sunshine and making memories with my family. I have some of my best memories from my childhood, spending summer days at the pool, beach, waiting for the ice cream truck to come down my block and playing outside until the sun went down.
Now, as a mama myself, protecting my little one from the sun’s harmful rays has become one of my top priorities. I want my little one to have the same joyous experiences that I had as a child, but also want to ensure her health and safety. So, let’s dive into some tips on how to keep our little ones safe and healthy during the sunny summer months!
How Certain Foods Can Help Protect Your Child’s Skin from Sun Damage
When we’re trying to protect our littles ones’ skin from sun damage, it’s not just about slathering on sunscreen and calling it a day. Did you know that what we put into our bodies can also play a crucial role in safeguarding our skin? That’s right! Eating foods that are rich in certain nutrients can actually help boost our skin’s natural defenses against harmful UV rays.
Tomatoes: Not only are they refreshing and bursting with flavor, but they also contain a powerful antioxidant called lycopene. It’s a powerful antioxidant that can help protect your skin from sun damage and reduce the risk of skin cancer. This amazing compound has been shown to help protect our skin from sun damage and reduce the risk of skin cancer. Tomato and mozzarella salads anyone??
Leafy greens: Leafy greens like spinach and kale are packed with antioxidants like vitamin C and beta-carotene. These greens work wonders in reducing inflammation and protecting our skin against sun damage. Plus, they add a delightful crunch to salads and smoothies, making healthy eating fun for the whole family. Best way to introduce some greens to your kids if they’re hesitant? Let them help you make a smoothie and add spinach to it. They’ll be more excited to try try something they made themselves.
Carrots: Carrots with their vibrant orange hue, are not only visually appealing but also skin-loving powerhouses. Loaded with beta-carotene, carrots help shield our skin from harmful UV rays and reduce the risk of sunburn. So, don’t forget to pack some carrot sticks for your next outdoor adventure!
Fish: Fatty fish such as salmon and tuna, are not only delicious but also great for our skin’s health. Thanks to their high omega-3 fatty acid content, these fish help reduce inflammation and protect our skin against sun damage. Summer is the best time to cook some salmon on the grill!
Dark chocolate: Indulging in a small piece of dark chocolate can actually benefit our skin too! Dark chocolate contains flavanols, which help improve blood flow to the skin, enhance hydration, and protect against sun damage. So, go ahead and let your kids enjoy that square of dark chocolate with ZERO guilt.
Blueberries: Not only are these little berries bursting with sweetness, but they also pack a powerful punch when it comes to protecting your skin from the sun’s harmful UV rays. They are loaded with antioxidants called anthocyanins, which not only give them their beautiful deep blue color but also help shield your skin from UV damage. Blueberries are my little one’s favorite!
By adding these skin-protective foods into your family’s diet, you can enhance your little ones’ defense against sun damage while savoring delicious and nutritious meals together. Remember, eating well is not only good for their overall health but also provides some built in sunscreen.
The Benefits of Safe Sun Exposure for Kids
Safe sun exposure can have some amazing health benefits for kids! When we spend time in the sun, our bodies produce vitamin D, which is essential for strong bones, teeth, and a healthy immune system.
In fact, studies have shown that vitamin D deficiency is a growing concern, especially among children who spend more time indoors. So, getting outside and getting some sun can be a great way to boost your child’s vitamin D levels.
Additionally, safe sun exposure can also help improve mood and reduce stress. Spending time outside and enjoying the sunshine can help boost serotonin levels, which can help improve mood and reduce feelings of anxiety or depression.
So now we know it’s both important to protect our little ones from the damaging rays of the sun and practice safe sun exposure. But how the heck do you protect them from the sun but also get them out in the sun safely?? Here are some tips.
Go outside early in the morning or late in the day: The sun is strongest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., so try to avoid being outside during these hours. Instead, go outside early in the morning or late in the day when the sun is less intense.
Wear protective clothing: Clothing can be one of the most effective ways to protect your skin from the sun. Opt for lightweight, breathable fabrics that cover their arms and legs. Don’t forget a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses to protect their face and eyes.
Use a safe sunscreen: While sunscreen is important, not all sunscreens are created equal. Chemical sunscreens can be harmful to your health and the environment, so it’s important to opt for a safe sunscreen instead. Here are some great safe sunscreen options for kids.
The Importance of Outdoor Play for Kids
Getting kids outdoors in the summer offers so many benefits for their overall well-being. So don’t fear letting them play outside just keep the above tips in mind for sun protection. Getting outside provides them with ample opportunities for physical activity. Engaging in outdoor games, sports, or simply running around allows children to stay active, improve their fitness levels, and develop essential motor skills. Exposure to natural elements like sunlight and fresh air also promotes better physical health, boosts the immune system, and helps prevent vitamin D deficiencies.
Outdoor play enhances children’s cognitive development. Exploring nature, observing plants and animals, and engaging in unstructured play stimulates their curiosity, creativity, and problem-solving skills. Outdoor environments often present challenges and opportunities for risk-taking, allowing kids to learn important lessons about decision-making and consequences. Being outdoors can also improve focus and help diffuse feelings of overwhelm and overstimulation. Just stepping outside for a few minutes offers a change of scenery from indoor distractions and can quickly improve a child’s mood and yours too!
Overall, encouraging kids to spend time outdoors during the summer not only promotes their physical health but also contributes to their mental and emotional well-being, fostering a sense of connection with nature and providing valuable learning experiences. I know it’s not always easy to break kids away from their screens and get them outside though so try using some of these fun summer facts from Well Beings With Alysia to get your littles ones outside exploring nature.
When it comes to protecting your kids from the harmful effects of the sun, a little bit of preparation’s goes a long way. By eating a healthy diet, getting out in the sun safely, and using a mineral based sunscreen, you can help keep your little ones healthy and happy all summer long.
Here’s a delicious recipe for a sweet and healthy snack that combines the goodness of blueberries, melted dark chocolate, and creamy Greek yogurt.
Blueberry Dark Chocolate Greek Yogurt Bites
- 1 Cup blueberries
- 1/2 Cup dark chocolate melted
- 1 Cup Greek Yogurt plain
- Drizzle of honey or maple syrup for sweetness optional
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper
- Rinse the blueberries and pat them dry with a paper towel
- Dip each blueberry into the melted dark chocolate, coating it halfway. Place the chocolate-coated blueberries on the prepared baking sheet
- Once all the blueberries are coated, place the baking sheet in the refrigerator for about 10-15 minutes to allow the chocolate to set
- Meanwhile, in a bowl, mix the Greek yogurt with sweetener (if desired) to taste
- Take the baking sheet out of the refrigerator and spoon a dollop of the Greek yogurt mixture onto each chocolate-coated blueberry
- Place the baking sheet back in the refrigerator for an additional 10-15 minutes to allow the yogurt to firm up
- Once chilled and set, remove the bites from the refrigerator and serve immediately
These Blueberry Dark Chocolate Greek Yogurt Bites are not only a yummy treat but also a wholesome snack packed with antioxidants, beneficial probiotics, the natural sweetness of blueberries all while boosting the bodies natural sun protection. Enjoy these bite-sized delights with your little ones as nourishing way to satisfy your sweet cravings all summer long.
Evans, J. A., & Johnson, E. J. (2010). The role of phytonutrients in skin health. Nutrients, 2(8), 903–928. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu2080903
Köpcke, W., & Krutmann, J. (2008). Protection from sunburn with β-carotene—a meta-analysis. Photochemistry and Photobiology, 84(2), 284–288. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1751-1097.2007.00253.x
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (n.d.). Office of dietary supplements – vitamin D. NIH Office of Dietary Supplements. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminD-HealthProfessional/
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