Last week we talked about some great ways to boost your child's immune system (you can read that post here
). So I thought this week I should share some easy and tasty ways to take care of #1, eat more fruit and veggies:
Take your standard smoothie up a notch by pouring into a bowl, topping it with nutrient rich fruits, nuts or seeds and eating it with a spoon. A basic recipe for a smoothie is to blend fruit (and this is a great opportunity to add some leafy greens to a picky child's menu), omega-3 from flax or chia seeds with water, milk or dairy free alternative. Slice up some vitamin C rich fruits such as strawberries, kiwis or papaya and boost it further with various nuts and seeds and let your child design their own bowl.
Did you know that a cup of cauliflower provides 86% of your recommended daily vitamin C intake? Of course there are many ways of incorporating cauliflower in our meals, and if your child likes to much on it raw with a tasty dip - great! But here is a fun way to change it up a bit! Cut the cauliflower into popcorn-sized pieces. Arrange in a baking sheet in a single layer and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and parmesan cheese (if your child likes it) and bake at 425 for about 20 minutes.
Fruit Infused Water
Staying hydrated it essential for a strong immune system, but our little ones might not always be that excited to drink water which really is the best way to hydrate our bodies. So fancy up that water by infusing it with fruit! Fresh or frozen fruit and berries work equally well. Add a bit to a water bottle, or keep a pitcher in the fridge. Tasty!
Garlic has the amazing ability to boost our body's immune system by increasing the rate at which our natural killer cells are made. But garlic can be a bit strong for some kids, so we recommend roasting it to help really mellow out the flavour. Roasting also makes it easier to digest. Use the roasted garlic in mashed potatoes, pasta dishes, spread on homemade pizzas or toast, or mix into a dip for raw veggies. To roast, simply peel off the outer, papery layer of the whole bulb. Cut off the top 1/4-1/2 inch of the bulb, exposing the individual cloves. Place the bulbs in a baking dish or muffin pan and drizzle olive oil on each bulb. Rub the oil into the exposed cloves and cover with foil. Bake at 400 for 30-35 minutes until soft. Allow them to cool before squeezing them out into a container.
Yogurt and Kefir
Yogurt and kefir both have probiotics which is very important for a healthy gut and a healthy immune system. Look for yogurt with live cultures in order to get the most benefit. Add some berries to up the vitamin intake. Kefir can be a bit tart, but if your child doesn't mind it can be a great addition to the lunch box.
Foods alone won't completely prevent or cure a cold or flu, so don't feel like you've failed if you or your child ends up sick anyway. It is just one of the ways to give your body the best chance at defence. I hope you found some tips you and your family can use!