Healthy diet crucial to bolstering children’s immunity

All parents want their children to be safe, happy and healthy.  We want to see our children thriving, writes Deanna Copland.

Mild illnesses are a natural part of growing up and cannot always be avoided. Children encounter all sorts of germs from the moment they come into the world, and as they interact and explore it - playing and meeting new friends.

This is not something to be afraid of - this process is a natural part of their development. In particular, the development of their immune system.

From birth, children are building and strengthening their acquired immunity with each new immune encounter. But just like adults, little ones can face more serious challenges to their health and happiness. And this can be difficult not only for your child, but for you as a parent, too.

Focus on the basics of health and wellbeing, essential to giving your child the best chance in life – offering you some peace of mind that your child is off to a good start as they set out in life, prepared with tools for the adventure ahead.

Building strong foundations of physical, mental, emotional, social, spiritual, and environmental health means that when challenges inevitably arise on their journey, your child will be equipped to weather the storm - together with you.

Simply eating at the table each night as a family has important long-term benefits associated with better mental health.

Most young children who have encountered Covid-19 have had minimal symptoms but following the viral load, there has been a rise in young children needing medical attention for other immune ailments such as ear infections, and as winter approaches so does the the likelihood of colds and flu spreading.

To help fight these infections children, like adults need nourishing meals, physical exercise and enough sleep. Nourishing food provides the building blocks for their joint health, mental wellbeing, immune system and more.

Soups and smoothies are easily digestible and many goodies can be masked. Try frozen cauliflower rice, frozen banana, cacao, almond milk and a dollop of peanut butter to make a great smoothie.

Supplements can also be useful during the cooler months when more infections occur. There is a range of children’s immune support available in pharmacies and health shops. Vitamin D, zinc and vitamin C are worthwhile to support a healthy diet. Using an essential oil diffuser in the home can also be useful. Just adjust quantity of oils and check they are safe for children.

What child doesn’t love pizza? Vegetables can even be hidden in pizza bases. Here is a recipe to make a more wholesome pizza sure to please the whole family and it’s also great the next day in lunch boxes if cut into smaller squares rather than triangles.

PHOTO: GETTY IMAGES
PHOTO: GETTY IMAGES
Keto gluten-free pizza

Serves 4-6

4 medium zucchini

1 cup plus 3 Tbsp arrowroot flour

½ cup coconut flour

3 free range eggs

Method

Preheat oven to 200 degC.

Wash and grate the zucchini. Place into a tea towel and squeeze excess liquid out. Place in a medium bowl.

Add the arrowroot flour, coconut flour and eggs. Mix until well combined.

Line a pizza dish with baking paper and place the batter on the paper. Press into shape until it forms a thin, round pizza crust.

Bake for 40-45 minutes, flipping it half way through.

Note 1: If this option seems too complex, Pam’s Gluten free Seed Pizza bases are my pick.

Toppings

Once the base is cooked, mix 1 Tbsp olive oil, 3 Tbsp tomato paste and 1 tsp finely chopped oregano and spread over the base.

Top with roasted veggies, salmon/ shredded chicken/ leftover roast meat, pesto etc and a light sprinkling of mozzarella or goat’s feta and cook in a hot oven at 240degC for about 10 minutes, or until starting to golden.

Note:  Dairy products are mucus-forming, so try to limit how much cheese goes on as this can exacerbate blocked ears, noses and throats.

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