15 Immune boosting foods for young kids

Unfortunately there are no miracle cures to starve off winter colds and flu, but here are 15 immune boosting foods to help toddlers and preschoolers stay healthy and beat those bugs over the winter months.
Here are 15 immune boosting foods to help toddlers and preschoolers stay healthy and beat those bugs over the winter months.

Unfortunately there are no miracle cures to starve off winter colds and flu. However by eating a range of essential nutrients all year round from a variety of foods, it can help boost your toddler's or preschooler's immune system and shorten their recovery time when they get sick or start feeling run down.

15 Immune boosting foods for toddlers & preschoolers


1. Berries

Berries are full of antioxidants to help keep your toddler's or preschooler’s immune systems fighting fit!

And if fresh berries aren’t in season, try using frozen ones instead. 

Berries are great for eating on their own or adding to smoothies.

2. Broccoli

Broccoli might not be a favourite amongst toddlers and preschoolers, but it’s no secret that broccoli is a nutritional powerhouse.

It’s got a number of immune system boosters, including vitamins C, A and E and a number of antioxidants. 

3. Eggs

Research has shown that when a person is low in vitamin D, they are more susceptible to illness. 

Eggs are one of the only foods with naturally occurring vitamin D. 

They also include a number of other immune-boosting nutrients for your toddler or preschooler, such as B vitamins and selenium.

Find out more about when you can start introducing eggs to your kids' diet.

4. Garlic 

Garlic has antibacterial and antioxidant properties that help maintain your toddler's or preschooler's general health and wellbeing.

Adding garlic to their diet can help reduce the severity and duration of their colds and flu.

5. Ginger 

Ginger has anti-inflammatory properties which can help to relieve symptoms and reduce the duration of colds and flu for your toddler or preschooler.

Use it in stirfrys or grate it up and add it to their smoothies for some extra 'zing'. 

6. Kiwifruit

Kiwifruits are one of the richest sources of vitamin C.

Vitamin C is also found in many fruits (such as blackcurrants, oranges, strawberries and blueberries) and vegetables (such as red capsicum, leafy green vegetables and sprouts) and is well-known for its immune-boosting capacity.

7. Leafy green vegetables 

Leafy green vegetables are rich in phytochemicals and provide your toddler or preschooler with a valuable source of vitamin E. 

Vitamin E acts as an antioxidant to protect kids body cells from damage.

8. Legumes 

Chickpeas, beans and lentils are high in fibre and are also a good source of iron.

They act as natural ‘immune boosters’ in your toddler's or preschooler's body.

They can easily be stirred into bolognaise sauce or stews to help disguise them, or how about making your own humus with chickpeas?

9. Lean red meat 

Lean red meat is rich in iron and zinc and keeps your toddler's or preschooler's immune system fighting fit. 

Iron from animal foods such as red meat, chicken, fish and pork is better absorbed by your body than plant sources of iron.

10. Nuts and seeds 

Nuts and seeds contain phytochemicals, vitamin E and fibre.

Fibre is essential for good health. It helps keep your toddler's or preschooler's bowel in good balance and their immune system strong.

11. Oats

Oats contain beta-glucan, a component of fibre that activates killer cells. 

These are the cells that fight bacteria, viruses, and other intruders in your kids bodies.

12. Oily fish

Salmon and other deep sea oily fish such as sardines are a super source of omega-3 fatty acids.

These not only help to ensure healthy brain development in young kids, they also have anti-inflammatory and immune-boosting properties to help ward off sickness and fight infections.  

13. Probiotic yoghurts 

Probiotic yoghurts don’t just contain probiotics, they include zinc too. 

Probiotics are good bacteria that are needed by the body to maintain a healthy digestive system.

Along with improving digestion, probiotics prevent overgrowth of bad bacteria and increase your toddler's or preschooler's resistance to infections.

Just make sure your kids yoghurts aren't doing more harm than good.

14. Sweet potato

Sweet potatoes are rich in beta-carotene which the body converts to vitamin A.

Beta-carotene, found in many orange-coloured fruits and vegetables (including carrots, pumpkin, rock melon and mangoes) has antioxidant properties which help to fight off your kids infections.

15. Watermelon

Watermelon is a hydrating fruit that is a natural high antioxidant food, plus a great source of vitamins A and C.

It also contains minerals that can help fight inflammation and help your toddler's or preschooler's immune system to stay strong.

Plus it’s delicious when served cold, and very popular amongst young kids for its juiciness and sweet taste.

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