Keeping kids healthy is certainly easier said than done. After all, kids are prone to touching and licking anything within their reach. But, now more than ever, it’s important to keep your family’s immune systems working their best.
Thankfully, one of the easiest ways to support a healthy immune system is via healthy eating. The last months of summer are filled with farm-fresh produce that can boost your immune system, as well as offer a range of other health benefits.
The next time you sit down to meal plan for your family, try incorporating some of these five immune-boosting, farm-fresh summer foods that the whole family is sure to love.
Watermelons are not just a picnic favorite. The fruit contains lycopene, as well as vitamins A and C, making them a great way to supplement your child’s diet if they refuse to eat tomatoes, which similarly contain lycopene. Watermelon also helps the body fight off respiratory infections.
Getting your kids to enjoy a slice of watermelon isn’t that difficult, and it makes a fun snack or dessert no matter your age.
Want to try something a little more creative with your watermelon this summer? Cut some watermelon into cubes, slide the cubes onto skewers and then freeze, for a cool treat that contains far less sugar than a traditional popsicle.
Berries, from raspberries to blueberries to strawberries to blackberries, are often considered superfoods. They contain vitamins A and C and help strengthen your overall immune system and fight cell damage.
Picking berries at a pick-your-own farm can be a great fun family outing to plan for a weekend. Then you get to go home with your findings and make a sweet treat.
If, though, you don’t envision your family making it out to a farm anytime soon, you can buy fresh berries at your farmers market or grocery store. Then, serve them up as a simple snack, or add them on top of your child’s favorite treat, from yogurt to even ice cream (hey, you’ve got to sneak in that healthy stuff somewhere).
Okay, okay — yes, it’s true. Kids are notoriously and famously bad about eating their spinach. And no amount of watching old Popeye cartoons will convince them to force it down.
But farm-fresh spinach can be a part of your and your children’s diets without anyone having to swallow slimy globs of green goo. Getting creative with your spinach can mean everyone reaps the health benefits of this superfood. These benefits including vitamins A and C, fiber, magnesium and iron.
Sneak some spinach in-between the layers of your lasagna or baked mac n’ cheese. Make a spinach dip and serve it up bubbling with cheese and alongside tortilla chips. Put it in a green smoothie with grapes and pineapple. Throw a bit on top of a homemade pizza.
Another sometimes-scary green vegetable, broccoli may be an unwelcome addition to your child’s dinner plate. But the benefits if they do eat it can be wide and varied. Broccoli offers lots of B vitamins, minerals, potassium and antioxidants, just to name a few.
If your child refuses to eat raw broccoli even when it’s served up alongside some ranch dressing, you can try serving broccoli and cheese soup, cheese-covered broccoli or a green smoothie with broccoli and berries. You can also sneak broccoli into many favorited dishes much like you can spinach, from pizza to pasta dishes.
Much like cauliflower, broccoli can also be incorporated into gluten-free or healthier variations of your favorite junk foods, like tater tots and pizza crusts.
Like watermelon, you may not have any problem getting your children to eat mangos, which are filled with vitamin A. But, if you do, try slicing up some mango and offering it as an add on. Add it to part of a granola bowl, on top of their yogurt or, yes, on top of their ice cream.
But Most Importantly…
When it comes to encouraging your child to eat unfamiliar or less-than-favorite foods, it’s important to make the experience a positive one. Forcing your child to eat something they don’t enjoy will only result in them digging in their heels and your picky eater becoming even pickier.
Easy ways to create a positive dining experience include involving your child in the cooking process (or in the shopping process at the farmers market), as well as getting their input on what they’d like to eat. Then, serve up the unfamiliar items in small portions at first, to get them used to the idea.
And, if they absolutely hate one item, always remember that there’s a world of ingredients out there with healthy, immune system-boosting benefits. If your family hates one food, there’s always another to try next time.
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- 7 Tips to Boost Your Immunity Naturally
- Food That Kids Can Prepare Independently!
- 3 Stress Management Tips for Busy Moms
- Kale Chips Recipe (Plus How You Can Get Your Family To Eat More Of This Superfood)
- How to Help Your Child Study Successfully
- 6 Easy Ways to Workout More During a Busy Summer Schedule