The winter months can prove a nutritional challenge for our little ones but with some planning, you can keep them happy and healthy all winter long. Food plays an understated role in winter but here are some reasons why you need to pay closer attention to what your kids are eating.
It strengthens the immune system
The cold winter months means closed windows, central heating and shared confined spaces — all this is a hotbed for germs to breed. Your little ones are a lot more vulnerable to attacks on their immune system than you are. However, you can take preventative measures to reduce the severity of any illness by boosting their immune system from the inside.
There are several nutrients that play an important part in proper immune system. Vitamin C is every parent’s go-to when it comes to preventing a cold. Great sources of vitamin C include citrus fruits, berries, broccoli and sweet potatoes.
Probiotics help keep your little ones’ gut healthy by encouraging good bacteria to grow; this bacteria plays an important role in the immune system. Fermented dairy products such as live yoghurt and kefir, as well as other fermented foods, such as sauerkraut, miso soup and pickled vegetables are all high in probiotics.
It prevents dehydration
Although it’s not technically linked to supporting the immune system, making sure your kids are hydrated is a must in the colder months. Their fluid intake prevents the throat and nose lining from drying out, and can help ease symptoms of a cold.
If your kids are in a slump around midday and in the late afternoon, chances are they’re not drinking enough water. In addition to guzzling down plain water, try eating fruits and vegetables that are rich in water, such as cucumber, lettuce, spinach and watermelon.
It boosts the mood
Short days and long nights can leave us really feeling the winter blues. But it’s not just the lack of sunshine that’s causing our gloom — besides being good for your body, proper nutrition also has an influence on our moods.
Don’t let your kids rely on sugary foods, biscuits and chips to fuel them through the afternoon. While they do temporarily stave hunger, their energy, concentration and mood can suddenly drop.
Instead, try these mood boosting foods at home:
- Dark chocolate
- Fermented foods