With four kids of my own, I’m going to show you the healthy touches I add to our meals to help protect our family from coughs, colds and bugs.
Can you beat a cold with a superfood?
While you can’t stop the germs invading your home, you can certainly winter-proof your family by feeding them foods that pack a nutritious punch. I like to cook winter foods as an insurance policy against my kids coming down with a lurgy.
We had a shocking winter last year, in and out of the doctor’s surgery with one cold after another. The poor receptionist at the doctor laughed when three of the four sneezed at the same time – complete with snot bubbles. I didn’t find it quite so funny.
My healthy cooking tricks
For me this means feeding them a high quality diet that is not only dense in vitamins and minerals but also phytonutrients. Phytonutrients help prevent disease and keep your body functioning properly. Some phytonutrients including carotenoids, lycopene and phytoestrogens are found in plant-based foods such as wholegrains, tea and colourful fruit and veggies (think carrots, kale, capsicum and berries).
If you can get your family eating more of these six superfoods and their 5 + 2 (that is, 5 serves of vegetables and 2 serves of fruit a day) you’re on your way to winter-proofing your family from colds and sick days.
6 superfoods to winter-proof your family.
Wholegrain means you get the full nutritional force of the entire kernal – nothing’s been stripped away by processing. The combination of energy-inducing iron, vitamins B and E and a good whack of immune boosting antioxidants make a bowl of porridge oats a perfect way to start the day.
Eating a rainbow diet full of colourful fruit and veggies means you’re getting plenty of vitamins and minerals. Strawberries are packed with vitamin C which cuts the time a cold lasts, while blueberries have vitamin K which keeps blood healthy. And if your bloody’s in tip top condition, you’ll be better able to fight off coughs and sneezes. Oh, and they taste good too. Top your bircher museli off with some and shine that health halo!
Kale is an over-achiever on the nutrition front. Vitamins A, C and B6, calcium, iron, protein and 45 – count ’em – flavonoids that help ward off colds and infections. If it was a person kale would be annoyingly talented but as it is, it’s a veggie that keeps us healthy so we love it! These spectacularly moreish kale chips are satisfyingly savoury and a tasty alternative to potato chips.
A virtual twin to kale in the health stakes, this ancient grain is the super model of the superfood world. It’s full of protein containing all nine essential amino acids that will keep you feeling full for longer, and has almost double the amount of fibre as most other grains. And there’s the iron, vitamin B2, antioxidants and magnesium it boasts too. Want to know how to cook it? Here’s all you need to know….
You can’t beat salmon. It’s the original brain food, full of Omega 3 fatty acids that keep your body rocking. Slightly sweet and not too fishy for little palates, salmon is an easy way to make sure your family is getting their weekly quota of good oils. Combine it with pasta for a quick dinner that ticks all the right boxes.
Good yoghurt is bursting with bifidus acidophilus which is good fo your digestion. Think of it as the oil to your body’s car engine that keeps you running smoothly. Great for a healthy gut and bowel and a good boost if you’ve been ill and had to take antibiotics. What’s more homemade yoghurt is easy peasy and gives you the satisfaction of knowing it’s all natural too.
This article was written for Kidspot New Zealand.
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