Yogurt, tempeh or other probiotic-containing foods
Probiotics or the good bacteria is commonly known to help maintain a healthy digestive tract. Certain research also shows that the same probiotics may help to prevent the common cold and flu. It helps to suppress or fight against harmful bacteria in the digestive system, thereby helping to maintain a healthy immune system.
Yogurt makes a great breakfast meal for the kids. Get creative and add some colours and textures by adding fruits or granola into plain yogurt. If you’re thinking of adding some probiotics into their lunch meal, try frying some tempeh till crispy and add some crunch to their meals.
Garlic, onion and ginger
Not only do they make your food tasty, the sulphur compound in onion and garlic are said to prevent cancer. They are also commonly known to aid in digestion and enhance heart health.
Although their taste can be a little overpowering for young children, you can gradually add them into their meals, which might even make them tastier!
Sweet potatoes, squash or pumpkin
These yellow-orange tubers are packed with beta carotene, which our bodies convert into vitamin A - an essential vitamin for a healthy immune system function.
Mummies all around the world would probably agree that they make great first foods for babies 6 months and above as a puree, or you can also bake them as “fries” with olive oil for older kids.
You’ve probably heard this from your grandma a lot, but it’s true! Chicken soup does help to relieve colds and flu. The ingredients in the common chicken soup have anti-inflammatory properties and help to temporarily flush out mucus and relieve congestion.
It’s easy to make, it’s tasty and great for the tummy and heart too!
It’s probably less common or a little underrated, but mushrooms are full of good nutrition and immune boosting properties. According to Sarah Remmer, Child and Family Nutrition expert, mushrooms have shown both anti-viral and anti-bacterial qualities in animal studies, and also contain the mineral selenium, as well as antioxidants, which can help to decrease your kids’ risk of getting sick. It also contains zinc, which helps in production of white blood cells to fight infections and improves immunity in kids.
Try mushroom-peas in gravy, add mushrooms to soups, salads or mixed vegetables. You can even sauté them with some onions to make a simple yet stellar side dish!
Berries such as strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, blueberries, and cranberries are not only colourful and appealing for kids, but they offer potential protection against cancer, a boost to the immune system, and a guard for the liver and brain. Filled with antioxidants and Vitamin C, berries may also boost our levels of natural killer cells, a type of white blood cell that’s a vital member of the immune system’s rapid-response team against virus-infection and cancerous cells.
There are lots of ways to add berries to your kids’ meals. They’re great on their own, with pancakes, added into oatmeal or even pureed for younger babies.
Shellfish is not just tasty but is also high in iron and zinc. Iron is an important component of red blood cells that carry oxygen to all parts of the body to help the body’s production of energy. Zinc on the other hand is great for your hair, nails and vision, but both nutrients are essential for the function of our immune system and natural defences.
Do take note that for most babies, doctors recommend waiting 12 months before trying shellfish.
They may be your child’s worst nightmare, but veggies such as broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, and kale are loaded with antioxidants like beta carotene and other carotenoids, as well as other vitamins essential for a healthy immune system.
The key is to serve vegetables in a way that look appetizing. You can make cauliflower rice, steam broccoli – which make great finger foods, add them to smoothies, make colourful fried rice and lots more!