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Eating healthy foods means good health, and this statement stands true for children as well. As parents, you should ensure that your child eats healthy right from a young age so that their immune system is strong and they fight infections like a champion. If your little falls sick, it could be due to a weak immune system. As a baby’s immune system is still developing, you must include healthy foods in their diet to help him fight off common infections.
This article covers a list of foods that you should include in your child’s diet to boost their immune strength.
Video: 8 Immunity-Boosting Foods for Kids
List of 15 Foods to Boost Immune System in Toddlers
Here are the top immunity-boosting foods you should incorporate in your child’s diet. Note: All these foods are safe for consumption for toddlers, i.e., children above 12 months of age.
These are quite the BEST foods to boost immune system simply because they are so full of essential nutrients. Nuts are a rich source of minerals, vitamins, antioxidants, and omega fatty acids. Different kinds of nuts are good for varied benefits as well as varied taste, so make sure you feed your kids walnuts, pistachios, almonds, etc to your child.
How to Feed: Nuts are best served in powder form or soaked form to younger children. For older children (3+), you can serve them as is or make simple nut bars at home. However, be careful as nuts might pose to be a choking hazard. Also, discuss with a doctor in case your child displays any signs of an allergic reaction to nuts.
Yes, the good old cheese which many kids love is also one of the immune-boosting foods! It is high in zinc, and zinc is useful in producing antibodies to fight infections. You can feed cheese to your child but do ensure that you are not giving them processed cheese.
How to Feed: Cheese goes well with many foods, including baked potatoes, sandwiches, etc. Kids also usually love pasta so you can make cheese pasta for your child.
These veggies are also packed with zinc which helps boost immunity. The best part is, different kind of mushrooms also have antibacterial and antiviral properties. But before feeding it to your child, you must check with a doctor since mushrooms are highly allergic foods.
How to Feed: Mushrooms go well in many variations, so experiment with curries, pasta, etc. A Mushroom Roll with other veggies is also a good and wholesome snack for the evening.
This bright red-orange vegetable is high in beta carotene – a nutrient that the body turns into Vitamin A. This also boosts the body’s mucus membrane lining which means bacteria find it harder to attack. Carrots are thus great options to boost your little one’s immune system and protect him from day-to-day infections.
How to Feed: If your little one has recently started on solids, you can introduce carrot pumpkin puree. Older kids can be served delicious carrot halwa. Carrots can also be eaten raw as a snack, after being well washed and sliced.
A good source of vitamins for toddlers to boost their immune system is berries. You can try strawberries, blackberries and blueberries. Though not many children have allergies to berries, a few do – watch out for symptoms like skin rash, vomiting, diarrhoea or swelling of the face.
How to Feed: Berries can become part of many delicious smoothies and shakes. They can also be served with oats or as a whole fruit.
This amazing food can prevent your child from a nasty cold. It is one of the best immune boosters for babies and toddlers in the changing weather.
How to Feed: Ginger can be added to different foods for added flavour and health. You can lightly flavour your curries, dals, etc., with ginger. It can also be added to soups in grated form.
This food has the power to fight off bacterial, viral and fungal infections. It also stimulates the immune system cells to increase antibody production. This means a boosted immune system for your child.
How to Feed: Add 1-2 cloves of garlic to food while preparing it for added flavour as well as health benefits. Ensure not to overdo it as garlic has a very strong flavour. Some moms also add boiled garlic cloves to milk and serve this to kids before bed-time.
This is a good super-food for your baby’s overall health and immunity. Papaya is rich in potassium, folate and vitamins, and this helps regulate your child’s overall immunity.
How to Feed: Papaya is a great food to introduce to your baby in puree form first, and then in the form of slices.
When you’re looking for natural immune boosters foods, look no further than your box of spices. Yes, haldi is actually very good for the immune system. It has an ingredient called curcumin which can protect your child against colds, flu, etc.
How to Feed: Simply add a pinch of turmeric to your foods while cooking. You can also add a dash of turmeric to a glass of milk and serve it to your child to cure a cold.
This protein-rich and delicious food are also one of the foods to build up the immune system. Chicken is useful for alleviating symptoms of common cold and fever too.
How to Feed: You can feed your child chicken in the form of curries, soups, sandwiches, or even in roasted form. Check out this easy chicken recipe shared by our mommy chef.
Yoghurt or curd is laced with probiotics, which are good bacteria that benefit the gut. They can reduce instances of diarrhoea and even lower the risk of colds and ear infections. While yoghurt is the probiotic form of choice, you can try similar foods good for the immune system such as buttermilk. Introduce these foods gradually in your child’s diet so that he has the time to develop a taste for them.
How to Feed: Yoghurt can be served along with regular food or be whipped up into different yoghurt recipes for kids such as smoothies, salads and shrikhand.
Eggs are a complete food and one of the few to contain vitamin D naturally. They are also an immune system booster for kids. However, some children are allergic to egg whites and a few to egg yolks so wait until your tot is at least a year old.
How to Feed: You can give hard-boiled egg and mash or chop up the yolk into small pieces. Feed it as is or mix it with your child’s regular food.
Packed with Vitamins C and K, broccoli is one of the best immunity boosting foods for toddlers. The right age to introduce this food is when your child is between 8-10 months as it has the potential to cause gas.
How to Feed: If your child doesn’t seem to take too kindly to broccoli, you can make a creamy soup out of it, cook it with cheese or make a delicious broccoli sandwich.
Iron-rich lentils can be added to the list of foods that strengthen the immune system. They can also help alleviate the symptoms of cold and flu. In case, a child is suffering from an infection, you can include lentils in their diet.
How to Feed: Most toddlers will eat lentils without a fuss but if yours takes some convincing, add diced carrots, beetroot, and corn. Soupy lentils mixed with a bit of tomato is another way to prepare it.
Pumpkin is an easy item to feed toddlers and when given in the mashed form with rice, most kids readily eat it. It’s rich in vitamins A, C, E as well as calcium, potassium and folate.
How to Feed: Why not make a pumpkin soup with paprika? Yum!
Some Important Immunity-Boosting Tips for Your Child
When you’re trying to figure out how to build a strong immune system in toddlers, there are certain things that you should remember other than just incorporating the above foods in your child’s diet. Keep these tips in mind to boost your child’s immune strength.
- Ensure your child gets adequate sleep. Check this sleep chart for kids to find out if your child is getting the required amount of sleep. It is during sleep that the body rejuvenates and builds a stronger immunity.
- Avoid high-sugar foods for kids such as cakes and cookies and also packaged fruit juices. Too much sugar can suppress the immune system.
- Help your child remain stress-free by maintaining a calm environment at home and giving him plenty of physical exercises. Stress, when unchecked, can weaken the immunity.
- If your child keeps falling ill despite making these dietary and lifestyle changes, speak to your child’s doctor. He will be able to recommend the best immunity booster supplements for kids, if need be.
These are some healthy foods that you should include in your child’s diet to boost their immunity. Try out new dishes with these foods and serve a healthy and delicious meal to your child every day!