5 Kid-friendly foods to help avoid the cold and flu this winter

Nov 15, 2010 at 12:53 p.m. ET

Are you dreading the flu season again this year? Did you know you can help boost your little ones immune systems and at the same time arm them against catching a cold or worst...The flu? By simply making sure they get enough of certain foods types you can help them ward off illness such as the cold and flu. Here are 10 kid-friendly ideas for eating your way to a healthy winter [and avoiding a colds or the flus].

ants on a celery stick

It's getting cold outside and unfortunetely it also means that cold and flu season is here.

"The seasonal flu vaccine is the most effective method of preventing influenza" relates Health Canada. "Regular hand washing is another way to help minimize your risk. By washing your hands often, you will reduce your chance of becoming infected after touching contaminated surfaces"

However, the choices of foods you eat can also make a difference and elevate your chances of fighting off cold and flu viruses this winter. Food provides fuel and energy for the body, first and foremost, and nutrients from food can also boost body functions -- like the immune system.

 

How can you help your little ones avoid the cold and flu this winter? Here's a few nutrient you should ensure is a part of your kid's diet.

oneFruits

We've all heard the importance of consuming lots of Vitamine C to help treat winter viruses. While Vitamin C may not be the wonder vitamin, it does help your body adsorb important nutrients like iron. Vitamin C is essential for a lot of things in cell support and in membrane. It also can help with absorption.

Vitamine C & kid-friendly food ideas:

  • Fruit kabobs with creamy dip - Skewer Vitamin C-rich foods like papaya, strawberries, and cantaloupe. Serve it with a creamy dip, made with equal parts cream cheese and marshmallow fluff.
  • Chocolate dipped orange segments - Melt a little dark chocolate in a double boiler. Dip a portion of each orange segment in the chocolate and let cool on a waxed paper-lined cookie sheet until the chocolate is firm.

twoVeggies

Here's another reason to make sure your kids are eating their veggies...Telling your kids to eat their veggies isn't just about making them have a well-balanced diet. Those veggies are an important part of a healthy body -- and a strong immune system. Rich in vitamins, like Vitamin A which is one of the important vitamine your body needs to fight back cold and flu. Vegetables really do a body good!

So, what's so good about Vitamin A? According to World's Healthiest Foods, Vitamin A stimulates the immune system, even enhancing the performance of white blood cells.

 

Vegetables & kid-friendly food ideas:

  • Ants on a log: Very simple -- Celery sticks with peanut butter and raisins.
  • Dippin' veggies: Break out a little creamy dressing like ranch or blue cheese, and serve it with sliced veggies like carrots, red bell peppers and cucumbers.

threeLean proteins

When it comes to fighting off the cold and flu, lean proteins are paramount. The amino acids that are found in protein make up the body's cells -- including those that power the immune system. Not eating enough lean protein results in fewer white blood cells to combat antigens.

So, what are lean proteins? Some examples include pork loin, extra lean ground beef and boneless, skinless chicken breasts. For more ideas, check out Health Canada.

Lean protein & kid-friendly food ideas:

  • Turkey burgers - Trade your beef for extra-lean ground turkey and make some delicious turkey burgers for dinner. Be sure to load it up with tomato and lettuce for some extra nutrients.
  • Ham and cheese roll ups - Forget the bread! Kids love simple rollups of meat and cheese. Layer a slice of luncheon meat on top of a slice of Swiss and roll into a tube. Punch up the flavor by adding a dab of honey mustard before you roll!

fourGood fats

While you want to avoid saturated and trans fats, other fats can actually be really good for you -- even for preventing cold and flu. Reducing bad trans fat can boost immune function. Foods with unsaturated fats such as nuts, avocados, and seeds, as well as omega-3 fatty acids found in some types of fish will help your immune system to defend against antigens, thus help prevent cold and flu.

Good fats & kid-friendly food ideas:

  • Tortilla chips and homemade guacamole: Make the guacamole by mashing a chopped avocado with a little lime juice and salt. If decided, toss in a diced plum tomato or even a little hot pepper -- if the kids like a little spiciness.
  • Trail mix - This is also a good option, as long as you are careful about portion sizes.

fiveGreen tea

Yes, you read that heading right. Green tea is a recommended eats for a cold and flu-fighting diet. Green tea is rich in antioxidant called catechin which research has found helps fight antigens and viruses that causes colds. So drink up to elevate your chances of figthing viruses this winter!

Green tea & kid-friendly food ideas:

  • Green tea iced tea - You can buy green tea iced tea in many grocery stores. Can't find it? Brew your own at home [be sure to make it double strength!] and chill before serving.
  • Green tea-infused baked goods - Everyone loves desserts. Why not try a green tea infused version? Check out this SheKnows article on Matcha green tea recipes for inspiration.

Do you have a picky eater on your hands? Get tips here on getting your picky eater to like healthy foods.

More tips about fighting colds and flu this winter:

Natural remedies that work!
5 Healthy lunches to take to work

Why Canadians need more vitamin D

Comments