An easy way to keep our children's immune system strong is by making sure they are eating nutrient dense food. These are foods that have been shown to increase our body's ability to flight colds and infections. Fruits and vegetable give our bodies the vitamins it needs protect us from germs: orange foods (beta carotene & vitamin A), dark green foods (vitamin E) and red or pink foods (vitamin C).

It's not always easy to convince our kids to eat large amounts of fruits and vegetables, so here are 3 simple recipes for immune-boosting foods the kids will love.

Smoothies

There is so much room to customize, based on a child's preferences, with smoothies. Use the strong, sweet flavor of fruits to cover up a handful of fresh spinach leaves. 

The recipe below is one I make for my boys and it continues to be a hit.

PB & J Smoothie

Ingredients

  • 8 oz of milk (or dairy substitute, such as almond milk)
  • 1 heaping T peanut butter*
  • ½ cup fresh spinach leaves
  • ½ cup frozen berry mixture
  • ½ - 1 banana, depending on size

Method

Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.

*For families who need to consider nut allergies, omit the peanut butter and add either 1 T of cocoa powder or double up on the berries.

Baked Vegetable Chips

Slicing, seasoning and baking is all that is required to create these savory, crispy snacks.

Sweet Potato Chips

Ingredients

  • 2 large sweet potatoes
  • 1 t salt
  • 1 t cinnamon
  • 1 t nutmeg
  • 1 T olive oil

Method

Peel the potatoes, then slice them as thin as possible.

Combine salt, cinnamon and nutmeg.

Drizzle the sweet potato slices with the olive oil, then toss in the seasoning mixture.

Spread them evenly on a lined or oiled baking sheet.

Bake in a 400 degree oven for 30 minutes or until the sweet potatoes have become crispy.

Kale or Chard Chips

Ingredients

  • 2 bunches kale or chard
  • 1 t olive oil
  • 1 t salt
  • ½ t garlic powder

Method

Clean, dry and chop the kale or chard. Massage the greens by kneading them with your hands for about 3 minutes. (This eliminates the bitterness.)

Toss with olive oil, then sprinkle with salt and garlic powder.

Spread evenly on a lined or oiled baking sheet.

Bake in a 400 degree oven for 15 minutes or until crispy.

Mac N Cheese

A small twist on this classic can add tons of beta carotene and vitamin A without compromising the familiar flavor kids adore. This is an easy go-to dinner on a busy weeknight, that can be done in 30 minutes or less.

Prepare your macaroni and cheese as usual (store bought or home made will work). Once you are ready to add the cheese to the cooked pasta, stir in one small jar of either carrot or squash baby food puree.

Serve and enjoy!