BY MANDY SACHER
Each year when the cooler weather hits, colds and flus tend to hit us hard. The good news is, there is plenty you can do to boost your family’s immunity and keep bugs at bay.
1. GET A BERRY BOOST
Berries such as acai, goji and cherries are rich in antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and amino acids. They are especially great for children as they help oxygenate the blood and promote a healthy immune system. If your child is starting to get the sniffles, add antioxidant-rich berries to their porridge, cereal, yoghurt and smoothies, or offer them as snacks throughout the day. Remember, for babies and toddlers, always introduce new foods slowly and watch for reactions.
2. OPT FOR OMEGA-3s
Oily fish such as wild salmon, sardines and mackerel are rich in omega-3 oils, the number one anti-inflammatory for the whole body. They also contain selenium and vitamin E – important immune-system strengtheners. Not only do they help the body fight disease, but they are essential for healthy brain development. For an extra boost, include cod liver oil in your kids’ diet, especially during the winter months when they are prone to getting sick more often.
3. B IS FOR BROCCOLI
Broccoli is a super vegetable, containing an abundant supply of antioxidants, vitamin C, calcium, iron, beta-carotene and folate. Broccoli is also high in fibre so it can help prevent constipation. Try adding it to at least one meal every other day – if your little ones struggle with broccoli, try pureeing it and adding (in small amounts at first) to veggie sauces for pasta, chicken or fish. Injecting a little fun makes mealtimes more enjoyable for everyone – break the broccoli up into small florets and tell your kids they are little trees!
4. EAT MORE EGGS
Eggs offer a great source of protein, and they’re one of the few foods that naturally contain vitamin D, which helps the body absorb calcium. Eggs also contain iron, vitamin A and a rich supply of B vitamins. There are numerous ways to incorporate eggs into your kids’ diets – hard-boiled eggs for lunchboxes, scrambled eggs for breakfast or use them in pikelets or custards.
5. GO GREEN
Dark green leafy vegies such as Brussels sprouts, spinach and kale are packed with essential vitamins and minerals including vitamins A and C, fibre and calcium, which are needed to fight infections and help boost the body’s natural healing powers. These can often be the hardest “sell” for tiny taste buds if they haven’t been exposed to vegies of this kind from an early age, so start out slowly, adding small, pureed tastes to soups, stews, risolles and stir-fries.
6. BOIL UP SOME BROTH
Homemade bone broth is excellent for speeding up healing and recuperation from illness. It is nourishing and contains vital minerals in forms that young children can easily absorb such as calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, silicon and more. Chicken bone broth is rich in a natural amino acid called cysteine, which can thin the mucus in your lungs. However, if boiling bones is not your thing, then look for store-bought alternatives at health food stores. Boil vegies, rice and pasta in the liquid; use it as a base for soup; substitute it for stock of water in recipes; and add to bolognaise and other dishes that require a stock.
7. PUMP UP YOUR PROBIOTICS
Keffir yoghurt is packed with probiotics and is available at most health foods stores. The taste is a bit tart so add it to your child’s normal yoghurt in small doses to start off with, or add it to smoothies. Other probiotic-rich foods include kombucha, which most children enjoy but can also be added to smoothies. Another way to get probiotics into your children is through supplementation. But remember, always speak to a qualified expert to ensure your child is on the right strain for their age and immunity requirements.
8. MAKE A RAINBOW PLATE
Brightly coloured fruit and vegetables such as oranges, tomatoes, kiwifruit, red and yellow capsicums, beetroot and berries are high in vitamin C and antioxidants which fight germs and promote well-being. Creating a visually appealing rainbow-coloured veggie plate will entice your children to eat these powerful health-boosters.
9. HYDRATE, HYDRATE, HYDRATE
Although kids may not feel as thirsty during the cooler months, it’s still vital to keep up their water intake to help fight against unwanted flu germs and get rid of harmful toxins. Other fluids that can be of benefit are cold-pressed vegie juices, herbal teas such as ginger and lemon, chamomile, turmeric and cinnamon, peppermint and redbush tea. We also love offering little ones a fresh coconut, they can enjoy the juice and gobble up the delicious fleshy bits as well – a great afternoon snack!
10. Z IS FOR ZINC
Zinc is essential for good immunity and helps with digestion and wound healing. Foods rich in zinc include spinach, beef, kidney beans, lamb, flaxseeds and pumpkin seeds. Add one or more of these foods to your family’s diet every day as the body does not store zinc readily.
WHOLESOME CHILD ALMOND AND BUCKWHEAT PANCAKES
These delicious, nutty pancakes are a real hit with my children and are a great winter brekkie option. Almonds are rich in riboflavin, which helps boost the immune system.
Prep time: 5-10 minutes
Cooking time: 15-20 minutes to cook all the batter (or about 2 minutes each side)
Servings: 20 small pancakes
¾ cup almond flour or almond meal
½ cup buckwheat flour
¼ + 1/8 cup coconut milk
¼ tsp Himalayan salt
¼ tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp baking soda
¼ tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp vanilla powder
1/8-cup pure maple syrup
1/8-cup coconut sugar
High-speed food processor
1. Place all the ingredients in a high-speed food processor and process for approximately 20-30 seconds or until smooth.
2. Place a large pan over medium heat and coat with coconut oil.
3. For mini pancakes use 2 tbsp of batter for larger pancakes use 1/4 cup of batter.
4. Cook approximately 2 minutes each side or until bubbles begin to appear.
5. Serve with topping of your choice.
Serving and storing leftovers: Serve immediately. Store batter for one day in the fridge or cooked pancakes for up to two days or freeze for up to three months. Reheat in a pan over a low heat.
Mandy Sacher is a certified Paediatric Nutritionist and SOS Feeding Consultant. Find out more about Mandy and the recipes on Wholesome Child HERE