We are in unprecedented times when now, more than ever, our children’s immunity needs to be at its best. Even though social contact is limited your child may still be going to school and interacting with other children. There may still be other kids with coughs and colds, and no matter how many times you ask your child not to put their fingers near their face or even in their mouth they are still doing it out of habit!
Children’s immune systems can be built up from eating nutrient dense foods and limiting processed packet foods. This is critical during the current COVID-19 pandemic to help them fight this disease should they become exposed to it. We need to nourish their bodies so they are ready to fight it. Vitamins A, C, D, E and Zinc will help build your kids immune systems. Here are foods to include in their diet.
Vitamin A is an anti infection vitamin and important for the body’s defence system. Foods – Consume a variety of apricots, eggs, green leafy vegetables, cheese, spinach & sweet potatoes.
Ideas – apricot slice, spinach & cheese omelette, frittata with baked sweet potato, baked sweet potato with cheesy spinach filling, mini frittatas with parsley, spinach & cheese.
Vitamin C boosts the immune system. Serve your kids a variety of the following foods – broccoli, Brussel sprouts, oranges, parsley, paw paw, capsicum, pineapple, potatoes, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, sweet potatoes and tomatoes. If berries aren’t in season then use frozen.
Ideas – berry smoothie with milk & yoghurt, tomato pasta sauce, chicken & orange pasta salad, berry overnight oats or ho berry porridge, layered granola with yoghurt & berries
Vitamin D. Ensure your child gets out in the sun for at about 15 mins each day to get their dose of Vitamin D (without sunscreen). Foods to include are eggs, milk, tuna, white fish and sprouted seeds.
Ideas – boiled eggs, scrambled eggs, tuna mornay, tuna salad, fishcakes with sweet potato mash, tuna savoury egg muffins.
Vitamin E interacts with vitamins A & C and helps fight free radicals in the body. Foods to boost vitamin E are almonds, beef, corn, eggs, hazelnuts & sunflower seeds.
Ideas – Seed slice, muesli slice with oats & almonds, trail mix with almonds, hazelnuts, sunflower, pumpkin seeds & dried apricots, steak with corn on the cob & mash, egg mini frittatas, omelettes.
Zinc boosts the immune response and promotes healing of wounds. Foods high in zinc are beef, capsicum, eggs, ginger, milk, lamb, sunflower & pumpkin seeds, seafood, wholegrains.
Ideas – spaghetti & meatballs with wholegrain pasta, beef stir fry with ginger, capsicum & broccoli, seafood mornay with wholegrain pasta, lamb cutlets with green leafy vegetables & wholegrain rice
Try to limit processed packet foods and sugar as too much sugar in the body can inhibit the absorption of good vitamins. It will also provide an added benefit of smoothing their behaviour highs and lows which is important during Covid 19 when they are home more often! You may also want to think about how much sugar you are putting in their lunchboxes when they go back to school.
For lunchbox ideas and recipes you can purchase a copy of Carol’s book ‘Lunchboxes Unwrapped’ from www.nutritionunwrapped.com.au– use code kia to get the Covid 19 Kids In Adelaide special price of just $12.