As simple and common as it sounds, seasonal Flu is not an easy task for parents to handle when their child suffers from one. In spite of flu being a mild illness, taking care of your little one and choosing the right meal for your child during a flu outbreak can create a lot of hustle. You might want to make your child’s meals tasty and colourful without missing the nutritional component in them.
Here are some smart healthy diet tips to boost your child’s immunity and beat the flu bugs.
- Immunity boosters: These are certain food ingredients which boost your child’s immune system and provide enough resilience to fight any infection in the body.
- Basil /Tulsi
- Garlic and Ginger
- Amla or gooseberry
- Brown rice ,Sunflower seeds ,pumpkin seeds
- Red meat
- Probiotics: Probiotics are essential healthy good bacteria within the body which help in digestion and maintain an acidic environment in the intestinal tract. They are also needed for good health and an intact immune system. Foods like milk and yogurt are natural probiotics which is mandatory in your child’s diet. Sweet yogurt mixed with fruits and berries will not only make it tastier for kids but is also a healthier eating option.
- Green and Leafy Veggies: Diet rich in green leafy vegetables and orange fruits have high sources of Vitamin A which strengthen respiratory epithelium and also makes our system resilient and strong. Making your child eat green vegetables can be a hercules task. You can make the boring veggies interesting by cutting them into long sticks or various shapes and add them in sandwiches or soups.
- Honey: Grandma’s age old advice is indeed true and effective! Honey has been used for centuries to alleviate sore throat and hoarseness. Research studies have shown that giving two teaspoonful’s of honey at bed time to children with cough has proven amazing than any cough medicine. Honey can be given as a whole or mixed with fruits, sandwiches and in milk and lemonades as well.
- Fruits: Fruits like oranges, papaya, banana, berries and water melon are rich in antioxidants and excellent sources of Vitamin C; which help in absorption and tissue repair. Making a mixed fruit salad and serving it with honey and yogurt or a smoothie can make it colorful and tasty at the same time.
- Good Fat friends: No! We are talking about healthy good fat foods which are rich in omega 3 fatty acids. These are healthy fats which help protect against antigens entering the body during infections and a good source of energy. Foods rich in healthy fats include nuts, raisins, peanut butter, fish, and olive oil. Making a peanut butter sandwich or sprinkling raisins over a boring bowl of cereal would do wonders!
- Vitamin D – Sunshine vitamin: A recent research study has revealed that patients including vitamin D rich foods were at much lesser risk to suffer from swine flu infections than others. Foods like mushrooms, salmon and egg yolk are excellent food sources of vitamin D which can be included in your daily meals.
- Chicken Soup: Chicken soup is an excellent cold medicine according to a medical research team. It helps reduce the inflammation and clear the airways. Chicken is high in protein which is an excellent energy booster. Combining it with other vegetables can make it tastier and nourishing.
- Soft and mashed foods: Throat pain and cough can sometimes make your child have trouble swallowing solid foods. Opt for softer pureed diet instead. Sweet potato mash and carrot mash are rich sources of beta carotene which will help your child recover quickly and make the food much easier to swallow.
- Fluid intake – Include plenty of fluids in your child’s diet and make sure water intake is minimum 8 to 10 glasses /day. Swine flu can cause fluid loss and dehydration, hence good amount of water intake is essential.
Foods you need to avoid during flu:
- Avoid any form of processed or packed foods, tinned or canned foods in any form.
- Avoid too much spicy or fried food as they can irritate your throat and worsen it.
- Do not consume citrus fruits like pineapple, limes, and grapes as they are known to aggravate throat and chest symptoms.
- Avoid too much intake of sugar and soda drinks as excess sugar intake is known to impair and weaken the immune system making the body susceptible to infections.
- In cases of swine flu outbreak; Do not consume pork regularly and avoid pork completely if you are already infected.
All said and done, Infections in our body is known to hamper appetite due to which your child may not want to eat at all. Seeing your child going to bed hungry can be daunting for every parent. Do not force feed your child or pressurize them to eat when they are sick. Keep your child well hydrated with plenty of fluids and juices and choose a soft bland diet instead. As the infection settles they shall regain their lost appetite in no time.