Winter is here, and with it (or at least for my family) come the inevitable sniffles and possibly a few lovely sickness bugs! Oh, the joy. I think something about kids going back to school coupled with cold weather seems to be a recipe for getting sick.
We spend much more time indoors with the heating on, not doing as much exercise and filling up on stodgier foods. Lack of sunlight also means we’re probably not getting enough vitamin D too.
Boosting my child’s immune system naturally
We can help boost our immune systems in winter by keeping up exercise, still spending time outside (as long as we’re wearing warm clothes) and eating food that gives us the vitamins we need. In winter we tend to lack Vitamin D, Vitamin B, Vitamin C and Omega 3.
Current UK guidelines advise vitamins A, C and D supplements for children aged 6 months to 5 years. They also advise everyone to consider taking vitamin D supplements in winter. Women trying for a baby or in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy should also take folic acid supplements. Apart from that, the advice is that we should be able to get all of the other vitamins we need from food.
Immune boosting winter breakfast recipes
There are all kinds of foods that are great to eat in winter that contain important vitamins. I’ve been doing some research, and have included a few of my favourites below.
There are all kinds of breakfast foods that are packed with essential vitamins. Here are a few ideas:
Eggs on wholegrain toast
Egg yolks contain vitamin D so however you like your eggs, this is a great breakfast idea. Good quality 100 % whole wheat or whole grain bread can also have health benefits over white bread.
Omelettes are also perfect for breakfast as you can pack them with other nutritious foods like spinach and tomatoes!
I like to use a banana, a spoonful of yoghurt, a dollop of almond or cashew butter, a squeeze of raw honey (for the older kids) and a mix of frozen berries. As well as containing vitamin C from the fruit, this recipe is full of other great nutrients. Nut butter like peanut or almond butter contains protein, protein, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, niacin and Vitamin B-6. For more info on nut butter, see this helpful article here.
Oily fish on toast
Salmon, sardines, herring (kippered herrings also) and mackerel are all oily fish that contain Omega 3 and Vitamin D. But my favourite of these fishes to make for breakfast is mackerel or kippered herrings. These fish do often contain bones, so if you are serving them to your children, make sure it’s free of bones. I do this by flaking it, crumbling the fish into small pieces and sprinkling it on scrambled eggs.
For more simple oily fish recipes, try mashed pink salmon with cucumber and sardines on toast. These are also great for lunch!
Stewed apples and fruit
This is a lovely warming winter breakfast and really easy to make. Stewed apples can play a protective role against inflammation and are thought to have a healing effect on the gut. This makes it easy to digest and perfect if your babies are feeling unwell or sick. I also leave the peel on the apples for extra fibre and nutritional value.
I don’t add any sugar to my stewed fruit as it’s sweet enough as it is for young children. You could also add sweeter fruits or superfood fruits like banana and pineapple.
Porridge and rolled oats
Rolled oats contain lots of lovely B Vitamins. They’re also super versatile! I like to make porridge using rolled oats and top it with some sliced fruit. Sometimes I mix in some stewed apple too.
Mashed avocado on rusks or toast
Avocados are a great breakfast food. They’re a source of vitamins C, E, K and B-6 as well as riboflavin, niacin, folate, magnesium and more! They also provide omega-3 fatty acids which we need in the winter months.
Note: If you and your family are eating fruit for breakfast, the advice is to make sure you brush your teeth first, or an hour afterwards to help protect them against the natural acids.
Over the winter I’ll be publishing more family-friendly recipes for both lunch and dinner that help you and your family get the vitamins they need! If you have some kitchen go-to’s you’d like to recommend, let us know on Twitter or Instagram @matchstick_monkey.