While winter time brings exciting and kid-centric things with it, the cold weather season also brings a variety of ailments alongside it. While it’s natural that some children should fall ill during these months, we’ve assembled a slew of recipes, foods and drinks to help soothe and ease some of their symptoms.
Foods that are Good for a Child’s Immune System
During the winter season, children are more susceptible to getting sick and catching a cold or the flu. Not only is it important that your child engages in a moderate amount of exercise and gets plenty of sleep every night, he or she must have a healthy immune system to ward off illness. A balanced and nutritious diet includes colorful fruits and vegetables as well as foods high in vitamin C such as broccoli and oranges, vitamin D, which can be found in tuna and fortified milk, and probiotic yogurts. Parents should also incorporate smoothies and juices into their child’s life at a young age, helping them to cultivate a taste for vegetables early on. To make drinking juices enjoyable, have young children make up their own names for their smoothie or juice beverage. Some of our favorite smoothie and juice recipes can be found on our Pinterest board.
What to Eat Prior to Being Active and Outdoors this Winter
The winter season is filled with fun sports and pursuits such as ice skating, sledding, skiing, snowboarding and more. We have provided a handy guide that can be found here to ensure that you are dressing your infants and children warmly for the outdoors. Another way to make sure that kids remain snug during the cold weather is to verify that he or she is eating a nourishing diet. This diet includes a mix of protein such as chicken breast, string cheese, and peanut butter, complex carbohydrates such as whole grains, fruits, and veggies as well as a combination of vitamins and minerals. Two important minerals to focus on are calcium and iron. Additional foods and fruits to integrate into meals include salmon, clementine, squash, sweet potato, chili, and spinach, which can even go on pizza! It’s also important to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water throughout the day, keeping a child’s skin healthy and warding off winter ailments.
Fast and Easy Cold Weather Recipes for Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner
Planning three sets of meals can be hectic for families everywhere. Many parents would prefer to sit around the dinner table and catch up on everyone’s day rather than spend their time cooking in the kitchen. The following recipes are quick and efficient ways to maximize time with the family while ensuring that the meal will be delicious and healthy. In addition to what’s listed below, other fast and easy breakfasts, lunches, and dinner options can be located here.
Mornings can be a hectic time for families with everyone getting ready and while parents can skip eating breakfast until they arrive at work, children cannot. Studies have shown that children who eat breakfast have more energy, better academic performances, eat healthier throughout the day, and are less likely to be irritable, cranky or tired. A well-balanced breakfast consists of whole grains such as low-sugar cereals or toast, lean protein as well as low-fat dairy. Some of our favorite breakfast options include:
- Almond Butter and Jelly on French Toast: A new take on the classic peanut butter and jelly combination, parents can incorporate almond butter for a delicious new flavor. Almond butter is a great source of protein and fiber and has recently come into the news as a substitute for original forms of nut butter.
- Healthy Greek Yogurt Toppings: Greek yogurt is a tasty addition to any breakfast. Fruit, chocolate, nuts, and honey can be added to create a filling and satisfying morning meal.
- Bagel with Banana: A bagel with nut butter and banana is easy to make and eat on the go.
- Bacon and Egg Breakfast Grilled Cheese: Grilled cheese isn’t just for lunch and dinner anymore. With ten minutes of preparation time, this children’s staple can be added to the breakfast rotation.
Even the fussiest eater can’t exist on peanut butter and jelly sandwiches alone. Our suggestions for how to deal with a picky eater can be located here and here. Meanwhile, some fun recommendations for lunch include:
- Chicken Fingers and Green Beans with Tahini Sauce: This lunchtime recipe is adult and kid-approved. Parents can also substitute chicken fingers with chicken nuggets by cutting the chicken breast into smaller portions.
- Open Face Egg Salad Sandwiches: This half-hour recipe is a creative way for children to make his or her own sandwich. To make faces, use lettuce, olives, peas, cherry tomatoes, pickles, and cut-up carrot for facial features.
- Roasted Vegetable Pasta: Last night’s dinner can be tomorrow’s lunch for kids! This simple recipe can also be adjusted as needed. To add more vegetables, parents can include eggplant, squash, or mushrooms.
Preparing dinner can be a stressful time for working parents and finding time to cook meals can be difficult. However, there is proven evidence that sitting together for dinner benefits both parents and children when done on a regular basis. The below recipes are straightforward to make, allowing families to spend more time together around the dinner table.
- Chicken with Pepperoni Marinara Sauce: This delicious and easy to make recipe is a fan-favorite of both adults and children. Filled with sauce, cheese, and flavor, this quick dish is sure to become a household repeat.
- Broccoli Cheese Soup: This flavorful Broccoli and Cheese soup takes ten minutes of prep time and a half hour to cook. To make the recipe a little different, parents can also toss in 1 cup of sliced mushrooms.
To simplify the menu, use a slow cooker so you can have a ready-made meal by the time dinner rolls around:
- Slow Cooker Beef Pot Roast: There are numerous benefits to using a slow cooker to assist with mealtimes. For one, parents can throw the fresh ingredients in the cooker prior to leaving for work and the meal will be ready for when the parents get home. Consequently, using a slow cooker helps bring out the flavor in foods, especially meats. This particular recipe has an easy twenty minutes of preparation time before putting it in the slow cooker.
- Slow Cooker Turkey Meatballs with Spaghetti: What child doesn’t love spaghetti and meatballs? This classic recipe has an hour of planning time prior to placing it in the slow cooker but is well-worth the final result.
Healthy Kid-Friendly Winter Weather Drinks
The slow cooker isn’t just for food and is ideal for making warm beverages for parties, holidays, or a night in. Alternate ideas for slow cooker drinks can be found on our Pinterest.
- Slow Cooker Gingerbread Pumpkin Latte: This recipe is good for both parents and children at your next fall and winter event. Throw it in your Crock Pot while you’re preparing the food and it will be ready by the time your guests arrive. The addition of ginger also helps to alleviate cold symptoms.
- Slow Cooker Chai Tea: A powerful blend of tea, herbs and spices, chai tea is renowned for its health benefits. Plus, the aroma that wafts from the slow cooker will spice up the household. Even if you don’t finish the original batch, it can be refrigerated to enjoy a cup at a later time.
The above winter recipes and food suggestions are a good way to lessen your child’s chances of falling ill and also serves as an opportunity to promote family bonding. Parents can enlist the help of their children during meal preparation and planning, giving both parties a chance to spend more time together. If it is still difficult to find the time and energy to coordinate and organize meals, parents should try to enlist the services of a part-time nanny, who can assist with putting together healthy meals as well as purchasing the necessary groceries and supplies. Diet and fitness are integral to a family’s health, not just children’s, and your nanny or mother’s helper can lend a hand. Contact the Nanny Authority at 973-466-2669 for more information today!