News that South African schools are scheduled to reopen at the beginning of June 2020, means parents will start packing lunches again. If i’m honest I didn’t miss packing daily lunch boxes but there’s no way around it. Well there is, like giving your child money to buy lunch at tuck, but will they have access to immune boosting food?
Effects of lock-down on our eating habits
Covid-19 has begun to impact our lives, more than any other event in recent memory. The impact on our behaviour will be on a scale never seen before.
Our new normal has thrown us a curve ball and being cooped up at home could result in emotional eating as well as other bad eating habits. Parents need a strategy to ensure their children have a balanced and healthy diet that boosts their immunity. Meal prepping could just be the saving grace to keeping your children (and yourself) on track. Did you know that meal prepping will also save you time and money?
For a detailed step by step guide to Meal Prepping Like A Boss click HERE
Immune boosting foods to stock-up on
1. Red bell peppers – Red bell peppers reign supreme when it comes to fruits and vegetables high in vitamin C. One cup of chopped red bell peppers contains about 211% of your daily value of vitamin C.
2. Broccoli – Broccoli is also rich in vitamin C. Just half a cup contains 43% of your daily value of vitamin C. Broccoli is packed with phytochemicals and antioxidants that support our immune system. It also contains vitamin E, an antioxidant that can help fight off bacteria and viruses.
3. Chickpeas – Chickpeas contain a lot of protein, an essential nutrient that helps grow and repair the body’s tissues. Chickpeas are also packed with zinc, which helps the immune system control and regulate immune responses.
4. Strawberries – A half a cup of strawberries gets you 50% of your vitamin C needs for the day. Vitamin C is great for strengthening your immune system, as it can help protect cells from damage caused by free radicals that we’re often exposed to in the environment.
5. Garlic – Not only is garlic full of flavour, but it’s packed with health benefits such as lowering blood pressure and reducing risk of heart disease. Garlic’s immunity-boosting abilities come from its heavy concentration of sulfur-containing compounds, which can help fight off some infections.
6. Mushrooms – While sun exposure is the best source of vitamin D, it can also be provided by some foods, including mushrooms. Mushrooms can help enhance the absorption of calcium, which is good for bone health, and may also protect against some cancers and respiratory diseases.
7. Spinach – Spinach is rich in vitamin C and full of antioxidants that help shield our immune cells from environmental damage. It also has beta carotene, which is the main dietary source of vitamin A, an essential component for proper immune function.
8. Yoghurt – Yoghurt is a great source of pro-biotics, which are good bacteria that can help promote a healthy gut and immune system. Pro-biotics can also be effective in fighting the common cold and influenza-like respiratory infections.
9. Sunflower seeds – Sunflower seeds are high in vitamin E, which works as an antioxidant and helps boost the immune system. Just one ounce of dry-roasted sunflower seeds can give you 49% of your daily value of vitamin E.
Balanced and healthy lunches
As our children head back into structured schooling, we need to understand that there will be an adjustment period. Concentration levels, separation anxiety, grief and possible trauma are things that need consideration.
Fueling our children with balanced and healthy lunches is key and will aid in them adjusting to their new normal. I’ve put together this chart below to help create those immune boosting lunch boxes for your children. So whether your children are heading back to school or not, a balanced meal is essential. Meals should include a portion of each food group mentioned below.
Is your child getting adequate nutrients?
Supplements aren’t intended to substitute real food. They can’t replicate all of the nutrients and benefits of whole foods, such as fruits and vegetables. A healthy child who receives a normal, well-balanced diet does not need vitamin supplementation. The child should be able to get the recommended daily allowances of all of the vitamins and minerals they need from the food they consume.
Some children don’t eat a well-balanced diet. Consult your doctor if your child
- Is a picky eater
- Misses out on one or more food groups such as vegetables or meat
- Doesn’t drink enough milk or eat other dairy products (vitamin D and calcium).
- Drinks too much milk and not enough other foods
- Consumes a vegan diet
- Consumes a lot of junk food
- Has a medical condition, such as short bowel syndrome, malabsorption or cystic fibrosis, that could lead to problems absorbing vitamins and minerals from the foods they eat
- Is taking certain anti-seizure medications
- Is on a restricted diet due to multiple food allergies or a medical condition
Stay home. stay safe and work on boosting those immune systems.
Much love – Natasha