Got College Kids?
Two of my three sons head back to college next week and the preparation has begun. I thought I would share some of the healthy items that I send my kids to school with and why. And of course, these items are handy for anyone at home to use as well. Read through for a bonus tip at the end.
Plant or essential oil based hand sanitizer:
When you walk into college dorm rooms, just about every students desk has a large bottle of Purell hand sanitizer on it. Been there, done that; we all want our kids to stay healthy when in close living quarters! Chemical laden hand sanitizers, such as the popular brand Purell, have been linked to cancer and endocrine disorders and are generally toxic. The better option is to ditch the chemicals while keeping kids germ free. My favorite hand sanitizer brands are Babyganics (no one will notice the label, I promise) and Everyone. There are many other decent brands out there too.
Vitamin D3: Most of the population is deficient in vitamin D3 and that includes children, and young adults. If you want your child to have increased immunity and healthy bones, get them on a vitamin D3 supplement. One of my college age sons was tested recently and sure enough he was barely in the reference range for acceptable vitamin D levels. 1,000 or 2,000 international units (IU) is a typical dose.
Multivitamin: Its very difficult for students to meet all of their nutritional needs every day regardless of how healthy one eats due to soil depletion, transportation of foods, and the increased needs our bodies have due to toxins and stress. A good quality multivitamin fills in the gaps. Not reaching our daily nutritional needs is linked to metabolic disorders and diabetes as well as decreased immunity and faster aging. Look for a whole food formula but ultimately finding a variety that your child will take each day is the most important.
Probiotics: These should be at the top of the list as they are so important to our digestion, healthy immunity, mood, inflammation levels, weight, focus, and more. Stress, poor diet, antibiotics, and over the counter medications can harm healthy gut bacteria so best for everyone to supplement with a good quality probiotic.
Healthy snacks: There is never a shortage of junkier snack options in college dorms so be sure to send some healthy options. I know my sons typically eat two full meals a day and the third is sometimes a snack in their room. A large ziplock back of washed organic apples, low sugar granola bars and bags of nuts and seeds are helpful options. Organic popcorn and vegetable chips are good options too. Cans of seltzer, organic dark chocolate, gluten free brown rice crackers, chickpea snacks etc...
A water filter pitcher or water filter bottle:
Cases of plastic water bottles are convenient but
the chemicals that leach from the plastic into the water along with the burden on our environment is not worth it. The better option is to purchase a Zero Water pitcher or Brita water filter pitcher. Most dorms have a kitchen sink somewhere in the building to refill these pitcher or water bottles. Your student will get to drink clean filtered water and save the environment at the same time!
Non toxic self care products:
With sons there isn’t too much that falls into this category but for girls the list is much longer with makeup, body lotions, hair products etc... All natural, non toxic, and preferably organic, body wash, face wash, shampoo, makeup etc.. are the healthier alternative as what we put on our skin gets absorbed into our bodies (think future healthy babies for young adults; so important). Toxins pile up inside of us and the load can decrease immunity and cause systemic health imbalances. Some of my favorites are Alba, Desert Essence Organics, Giovanni, Earth Science. Acure.
Alas my bonus tip which is not a product to purchase but a practice to instill in your student; walking meditation. These kids are surrounded by people all of the time in dorm rooms, classes, and during meal times and the pace can be frenetic, particularly in the first few weeks back when schedules are new. The simple practice of feeling your feet hit the ground while walking (versus having racing thoughts or phone time) is an excellent tool to bring you back to yourself and to instill calm and focus. Practicing this on the way to class in the morning, or whenever possible, is a great way for students to reorganize their energy and allow their nervous systems to get a break. My sons University (they go to the same one) has a beautiful pine grove between campuses and I cannot think of a better way for them to regroup and recharge with some focused walking in this serene environment! But the busy student center at noon or entering the dorm at 10pm are excellent times to focus too. So simple yet so profound, definitely worth planting these seeds Friends.
This is it! No one can be perfect about these things all the time but getting these health supportive, and healthier alternatives into the mix, even some of the time, is worthwhile.
I wish your student a healthy and happy year at school,