Kidneys—those bean-shaped organs in the abdomen—are superheroes! Did you know they act as filters to protect the bloodstream from waste and extra fluid? They also keep blood pressure and electrolyte balance in check. Dr. Robyn Matloff, Pediatric Nephrologist, shares eight fun ways for kids to keep their kidneys healthy. 

1. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate.

If this seems obvious, it’s because it is. Water is important, but kids don’t often stop to get their recommended daily fill. Make it fun. Set a goal for them to drink a certain amount of water each day, and then attach a prize to it. Think: their own water bottle to decorate and show off at school, or a day at the pool. 

>Related: How Much Water Your Child Actually Needs + 5 Creative Ways to Stay Hydrated

2. Eat a rainbow of fruits and veggies.

The more color on one's plate, the better. So do your best to introduce a rainbow of healthy choices into your child’s daily meals. Fruits and veggies are rich in nutrients and essential vitamins and minerals. This combination can help support kidney health, keep blood pressure in check and reduce the chances of kidney stones developing down the line.

>Related: 5 Healthy, Easy Lunchbox Snack Ideas

3. Discover kidney-friendly exercises.

Regular physical activity is key to overall good health—and good heart and kidney health. Aerobic exercises like swimming, biking, dancing and walking are all excellent choices if you’re being conscious of kidney health. 

>Related: Stay Active and Limit Screen Time. Here Are 7 Ways.

4. Ease up on the salt and sugar.

Easier said than done—we get it. But too much salt can raise blood pressure putting you at risk for heart and kidney disease. Too much salt and processed sugary snacks can also increase your risk of kidney stones. Take a peek at labels when shopping and make sure to include plenty of whole foods, fresh fruits and vegetables. This goes back to fun with hydration: make fruit-infused water, try homemade popcorn or pizza night with lower-salt toppings, cheese and sauce. 
Check with your pediatrician or pediatric nephrologist to make sure it passes the test. 

>Related: 5 Healthy Habits to Prevent Childhood Obesity

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5. Bathroom habits are for more than just good manners.

Regular trips to the bathroom—at home and at school—help prevent urinary tract infections. Encourage your child to listen to their body and never hold in their pee for too long.  

6. Have fun learning about kidney health.

Educate kids about what kidneys do and how to keep them healthy. Use age-appropriate resources like books, videos, or interactive games to make learning about kidney health fun and engaging. Every March is Kidney Health Month, so make a plan and get your child’s teachers on board for a fun lesson plan, too.    

7. Cook kidney-friendly meals together.

Involve kids in meal preparation and cooking activities to teach them about healthy eating habits. Explore kidney-friendly recipes from the National Kidney Foundation together and experiment with nutritious ingredients that support kidney health. Check out this Very Berry Tofu Smoothie to start. 

8. Practice mindful eating.

Healthy digestion = healthy kidneys! Encourage your child to eat slowly and pay attention to when they feel full. Putting this into practice can help prevent overeating, too.

>Related: Ways to Prevent Childhood Obesity 

Lead by example 
These fun and educational activities can help your child develop lifelong habits that are healthy for both their kidneys and well-being. So make kidney health a priority for the whole family!