Now that the kids are back at school, in activities or daycare (and you may be back at work), why not arm yourself with some immune-boosting tips?
During normal times, we may not be as concerned with a few germs, a cold, the sniffles – even a mild fever. But, thanks to COVID-19, these are not normal times. Nowadays, even having a regular cold becomes a concern, a slight cause for panic, requiring screening or staying at home (missing school, work, activities).
There are a plethora of concerns that accompany cold and flu season, aside from the growing anxiety of the global coronavirus pandemic we are still in. So, it’s important to do what we can to boost our immunity.
So, what exactly is immune-boosting and how can we do that for the whole family?
Be Healthy Overall
One of the best ways to boost immunity is to maintain overall health. By doing some key things most of the time, you can help keep everyone’s immune systems functioning their best.
The key things to keep healthy overall, and hence your immune system is to:
- Stay active
- Hydrate (a lot) and throughout the day
- Eat an overall healthy diet (fruits, vegetables, whole grains), don’t have too much sugar
- Get enough sleep (at any age)
While staying active and hydrating are self-explanatory, it’s vital to keep it going.
Some helpful tips to maintain overall health:
- Keep a water bottle for each kid and set a goal (fill up three or four times for example)
- Set a timer and have a dance party or active game of choice with your little ones to keep moving
- Have a schedule of activities (even if you are planning them yourself), i.e. Wednesday is go for a walk day, Thursday is bike day, etc.
- Have a bedtime and stick to it…if the kids are not tired enough, try adding more activity time in a day (i.e. longer dance parties)
- Eat at the same time daily, this helps to maintain meal planning vs eating in a rush, and more likely to make healthful choices.
Do We Need Supplements?
It’s a popular question without a clear-cut answer. In most cases, it’s a personal choice.
If you are unsure if you are getting adequate or enough healthy nutrients into the body, it may be worth asking your doctor, naturopath or nutritionist for recommendations on supplementing or adding some of the following items into your family’s daily regime.
Nutrients thought to be immune-boosting, include:
- Offers anti-inflammatory properties and has been linked with supporting immune functions by helping to boost immunity cells
- Vitamin D
- Heading into colder months, vitamin D exposure is limited, so it’s a good idea to take it, whether in your multivitamin or on its own. There have been studies to show that being low in Vitamin D can be tied to decreased immune functioning
- Probiotics are made of good live bacteria and/or yeasts that naturally live in your body; this good bacteria helps kill off excess bad bacteria, restoring balance and boosting the immune system
- Vitamin C
- The immune-boosting vitamin; if your kids don’t eat too many citrus fruits, consider if they need this (or if they take a multivitamin, this may be suffice)
Snack-Time: Try These Fun (and Delicious!) Immune-Boosting Snacks
Check out these snack ideas that are nutritious, contain immune-boosting ingredients, yet are fun for each stage (toddlers or kids).
Immune Boosting Snack Ideas For Toddlers
- Berries and yogurt cups: mix yogurt and berries and place into silicone cupcake liners (slightly freeze to harden a bit)
- Tuna on celery sticks: mix tuna however you like (tuna salad, plain, etc) and add to celery sticks
- Toddler munching board: whole wheat crackers, shredded cheddar cheese, grapes, apples, nuts or seed butter
- Strawberry and blueberry smoothie: add hemp seeds or chia seeds with milk, fruit and blend away
- Pears and nut spread: sliced pears with a natural nut butter
Immune Boosting Snacks for Kids
- Tuna quesadillas: instead of a sandwich add tuna to a whole wheat tortilla and cut into small pieces
- Kids munching board: cooked salmon pieces, mixed nuts (almonds, walnuts, cashews), blueberries, grapes, apples, blocks of cheese, whole wheat crackers
- Sweet potato nachos: start with sweet potato crackers; add melted cheese and chopped sweet peppers
- Orange, blueberry and spinach smoothie: add yogurt, milk and hemp/chia seeds to fruits/veggies such as oranges, blueberries and spinach and mix in a blender
- Yogurt parfait: probiotic yogurt, granola, pumpkin seeds and strawberry bits
Life gets busy, but do your best to consistently incorporate some of these healthy lifestyle behaviours into your routine. And, if you want that cookie or feel like having a lazy Saturday, it’s okay! Allow yourself time to unwind and de-stress.
As always, practice the measures laid out by our provincial health guidelines for minimizing risks for exposure, and trust that you are doing great.
Stress is also associated with suppressing immunity, so don’t make it a habit to worry, yourself. Just know that you’ve got this.
Stay safe & healthy, we are in this together.
Mother of toddlers, foodie at heart, city-loving, blogger, writer, marketing specialist, and overall busy-bee, that is Christina Chandra in a nutshell. Christina lives in Vancouver where she is a freelance writer & marketing specialist, and also blogs at ChristinaChandra.com. In her spare time, you can find her exploring local eateries, cafes and local hot spots.