In today’s fast-paced world, a formidable immune system sets the foundation for the health and well-being of your kids. A balanced diet supplies kids with the essential nutrients for their physical and mental growth and development. It includes macronutrients like carbohydrates, proteins, and fats and micronutrients such as vitamins and minerals.
These nutrients are critical for building strong bones and muscles, supporting brain development, boosting the immune system, and maintaining health. One way to invigorate your kid’s immune system brick-by-brick is by incorporating immunity-boosting foods into their daily diet. By packing their tiffin with nutritious and delicious foods, we can provide them with the necessary nutrients to strengthen their immune defences.
How to increase immunity in kids?
Here are some nutrients that can support a healthy immune system in kids:
1. Vitamin C: Found in fruits like oranges, strawberries, kiwi, and vegetables like bell peppers and broccoli, Vitamin C helps produce white blood cells essential to fight infections.
2. Vitamin D: It plays a crucial role in immune function. The best source of Vitamin D is sunlight, but your child can also obtain it from fortified dairy products, fatty fish (like salmon and tuna) and egg yolk.
3. Zinc: It helps in the development and function of immune cells. Legumes (like lentils and chickpeas), whole grains, and dairy products are among the good sources of zinc.
4. Probiotics: These beneficial bacteria support a healthy gut and immune system. Yoghurt, kefir and fermented foods like sauerkraut and kimchi are some of the sources of probiotics.
5. Omega-3 fatty acids: Found in fatty fish (such as salmon and mackerel), flaxseeds, chia seeds, and walnuts, omega-3 fatty acids have anti-inflammatory properties and support immune function.
6. Iron: It plays a crucial role in immune cell development. Good sources of iron are fortified cereals and dark leafy greens like spinach.
7. Vitamin A: It supports the integrity of the skin and mucous membranes that act as barriers against infections. Foods rich in vitamin A include sweet potatoes, carrots, dark leafy greens, and eggs.
8. Selenium: It acts as an antioxidant and supports immune function. Good sources of selenium include Brazil nuts, seafood, whole grains, and legumes.
9. Vitamin E: It has antioxidant properties and helps protect cells from damage. It can be found in nuts (such as almonds and sunflower seeds), spinach, and vegetable oils.
Here are some foods to increase immunity in children naturally
1. Dairy and fortified dairy products
Dairy and fortified dairy products are rich sources of essential nutrients like vitamins (A, D, B12), minerals (calcium, zinc), and protein. Vitamin A helps maintain the integrity of the skin and mucous membranes, acting as a barrier against pathogens. Vitamin D enhances immune cell function and reduces inflammation. Vitamin B12 is crucial for the production of immune cells. Protein is essential for the development and repair of tissues, including immune cells. Including dairy and fortified dairy products in a balanced diet can contribute to a stronger immune system.
2. Citrus fruits
Citrus fruits such as oranges, lemons, and grapefruits are rich in vitamin C, and they strengthen the immune system. Pack these fruits as a whole or slice them into refreshing segments for your child’s tiffin. The tangy taste and natural sweetness make them an excellent addition to any lunchbox.
Berries, such as strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries, are packed with antioxidants, vitamins, and fibre. They help fight off harmful free radicals and boost the immune system. Adding a handful of berries to your child’s tiffin as a mid-morning snack or a yoghurt or oatmeal preparation can be a tasty and healthy choice.
4. Nuts and seeds
Almonds, walnuts, sunflower seeds, and chia seeds are excellent sources of vitamins, minerals, and healthy fats. Pack these nutrient-rich snacks separately or combined to create a tasty trail mix for your child’s tiffin. They provide a satisfying crunch while boosting the immune system.
5. Leafy greens
Include a variety of leafy greens, such as spinach, kale, or lettuce, in your child’s tiffin. Packed with vitamins A, C, and E and essential minerals and antioxidants, you can include leafy greens in a delicious salad or add them to wraps or sandwiches for a nutritious and immune-boosting meal.
6. Colorful vegetables
Colourful vegetables like carrots, bell peppers, and cherry tomatoes have immune-boosting nutrients. Slice them into bite-sized pieces and pack them as a crunchy and nutritious snack. You can also include a small container of hummus or a yoghurt-based dip for added flavour.
7. Whole grains
Choose whole grain options like whole wheat bread, brown rice, or quinoa for your child’s tiffin. Whole grains provide essential vitamins, minerals, and fibre that support a healthy immune system. Use them to prepare sandwiches, wraps, or grain-based salads for a balanced meal.
Lunch ideas for kids
1. Vegetable sticks with hummus: Pack a variety of colourful vegetable sticks like carrots, cucumbers, bell peppers, and cherry tomatoes with a small container of homemade hummus. The vegetables provide essential vitamins and minerals, while the hummus adds protein and healthy fats.
2. Fruit salad: Create a delicious fruit salad using a mix of seasonal fruits. Include vitamin C-rich fruits like oranges, strawberries, and kiwis, which can enhance immune function. Add a dollop of Greek yoghurt or sprinkle chia seeds for extra nutrition.
3. Whole grain wraps or sandwiches: Use whole grain wraps or bread to make nutritious sandwiches or wraps. Fill them with paneer tofu and vegetables. You can add hummus for flavour and nutrition.
4. Yogurt with nuts and seeds: Pack a small container of plain or flavoured yoghurt with a handful of mixed nuts and seeds. Almonds, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, and chia seeds are excellent choices. This combination provides a good mix of protein, healthy fats, and essential nutrients like vitamin E and zinc, which support a healthy immune system.
5. Quinoa salad: Prepare a colourful quinoa salad with cooked quinoa, diced vegetables like bell peppers, cherry tomatoes, and cucumbers, and some crumbled feta cheese or grilled chicken for added protein. Drizzle it with olive oil and lemon juice for a refreshing and nutritious tiffin option.
Now that we have understood everything we need to include in our kids’ tiffin, let’s make it a little more interesting. Once you pack an attractive tiffin, your kid is likely to look forward to his lunchtime.
1. Use colourful ingredients: Incorporate a variety of vibrant and colourful fruits and vegetables in the tiffin. Opt for a mix of red, orange, green, and purple produce to make the meal visually appealing. For example, include cherry tomatoes, carrot sticks, bell pepper slices, or grapes.
2. Play with shapes: Use cookie cutters or food moulds to create fun sandwiches, fruits, or vegetables. Cut sandwiches into stars, hearts, or animal shapes to make them more appealing. Similarly, cut fruits or vegetables into interesting shapes to add visual interest to the tiffin.
3. Create food skewers or kabobs: Thread fruits, vegetables, and bite-sized pieces of protein onto skewers to create colourful and visually appealing food skewers or kabobs. Kids enjoy the interactive element of picking food off skewers, making it more exciting.
4. Make miniature portions: Kids often find mini-sized or bite-sized portions appealing. Create smaller versions of sandwiches, wraps, or baked goods that are easy to handle and eat. It can make the tiffin more visually appealing and fun for kids.
5. Arrange food in sections: Use compartmentalised lunch boxes or bento boxes to separate different types of foods. Divide the tiffin into sections and fill each with food items. It makes the tiffin visually appealing and allows for different flavours and textures.
6. Include sips and sauces: Include small containers of dips or sauces in the tiffin. Offer options like hummus, yoghurt-based dips, or homemade dressings. It adds interactive fun to the meal.
7. Add edible decorations: Use edible decorations like sprinkles, edible glitter, or colourful edible markers to decorate sandwiches, fruits, or baked goods. Draw smiley faces or write messages on the food to make it more visually appealing and personalised.
While making the tiffin attractive, ensure that it remains balanced and nutritious. Include a variety of food groups such as grains, proteins, fruits, vegetables, and dairy. Aim to pack a well-rounded meal that provides essential nutrients for your child’s growth and development. Additionally, let your child be part of the tiffin preparation process. Involve them in choosing ingredients, arranging food items, or even packing their tiffin. When kids feel involved, they are more likely to be excited about the tiffin and enjoy their meals. Choose colourful and attractive lunch boxes, containers, and accessories to pack the tiffin. Look for containers with fun designs or characters that your child likes. It can make the tiffin visually appealing and encourage your kid to eat their meals entirely and regularly.
The views expressed are that of the expert alone.
How to add TJK to homescreen?
- 1. Tap the share icon on your browser.
- 2. Select “Add to Home screen” from the menu.
How to add TJK to homescreen?
- Click on "Add Now" below and accept the browser prompt.
- Alternatively you can click on “Add to Home screen” from the browser menu.
How to add TJK to homescreen?
- 1. Tap Icon on the top right of your screen.
- 2. Select “ Add to Home screen” from the menu.
Add Tayyari Jeet Ki to your home screen, for easy access.Add