The kids are back at school and all should be well in the classroom… for now. But beware — the dreaded cold and flu season will soon be upon us. Arm yourself with the right foods and you can eat your way through a healthier wintertime.
The icky weather will be on its way, and the closed quarters of the classroom and close proximity of other kids with colds and the flu will provide a germtastic adventure at school. One way to help your kids avoid the crud this school year? Keep immunity-boosting foods on your menu as a delicious and nutritious effort to help your kids avoid getting sick.
Eat well, stay well
The change in the seasons can stress the body and make people more susceptible to catching a cold or the flu. Being confined to crowded rooms, getting less rest than during the summer season and the stresses of school in general don’t help either.
Good nutrition (along with exercise, rest and staying hydrated) provides a big boost to your immune system. Seasonal fruits and vegetables can help feed your body with immunity-boosting vitamins, minerals and antioxidants to help in the fight.
What’s good for the fight
There are many foods that are good for you, and while this is not a comprehensive list of all the good foods and their nutritional values, it’s a start. Consider adding some of the following foods to meals you make for your kids. Some of these might not be at the top of your kids’ list of things to eat, but there are ways to incorporate them into delicious meals.
The vitamin E in almonds is a powerful antioxidant that may help keep colds and upper respiratory infections away. Add toasted almonds to homemade granola bars or use almond butter instead of peanut butter on sandwiches or to spread on apples or celery sticks. Check out these recipes for almond butter varieties.
Apples, raisins and red grapes
Rich in antioxidants, the vitamins, minerals and other nutrients found in these fruits can protect and repair damaged cells. Try these fruits in a fun fruit salad or simply as snacks. You could also serve cornbread stuffing with apples and raisins.
Shown to have antibacterial and antiviral properties, garlic can work as an antioxidant and stimulant for producing white blood cells. Add garlic to soups, stews and pasta sauce. Consider trying this recipe for garlic soup with cilantro dumplings.
Low levels of vitamin D have been associated with an increased risk of developing a more severe flu. Grab the mushrooms for added vitamin D in your diet. Add mushrooms to omelets or top a pizza with them. For breakfast, whip up a mushroom and cream cheese omelet.
Oats and barley
The fiber in oats and barley contains antioxidants and antimicrobials. Studies show these can help speed wound healing and boost immunity. Go back to basics with chicken and barley soup or make your own variety of homemade granola.
This super food is packed with nutrients, folate (good for producing new cells in the body), fiber, iron, antioxidants and many vitamins that help boost the immune system. Try using spinach instead of lettuce in your next salad. Strawberries add interest to this sesame, strawberry and spinach salad.
Beta-carotene and vitamin A (which may reduce the risk of some cancers) are part of the sweet potato’s makeup. Your kids will love these baked sweet potato fries!
A great source of calcium, the vitamin D in yogurt may help to stop viruses from spreading in the body and probiotics found in yogurt can help fight infections and boost immunity. Likely a favorite items on this list, put together a yogurt parfait for breakfast or as a dessert after dinner. Try these berry yummy yogurt parfaits for some fun!