Twenty-five! The number of days my oldest son Kyle was absent from school last year. Sure, some of it was due to family vacation, but a big part was due to the fact that he was sick. Unfortunately, our situation is not unique. In fact, back-to-school is often associated with kids getting sick and bringing home germs from fellow classmates. I remember how hard this phenomenon hit home once Kyle started junior kindergarten. It’s called the Fall Spike, a time of year when parents often see an increase in sickness. In 2015, more than 5,000 Canadians were hospitalized with the flu, including more than 1,500 kids!
For me there’s nothing worse than seeing my kids sick and not being able to do much to help them. So what can you do? How can you keep your kids healthy? Luckily, you can… by taking steps to prevent the onset of the flu! Here are two tips to keep your kids healthy and focused year round!
Feed your kids foods that contain nutrients that contribute to good overall and immune health
Citrus food like oranges, mandarins and grapefruits contain Vitamin C while seeds and nuts contain Vitamin E. These vitamins are antioxidants which are important for the maintenance of good health. Orange vegetables like sweet potato and squash contain beta carotene which helps maintain immune function. Foods that are high in protein, like eggs, chicken, almonds, cottage cheese and Greek yogurt, help build and repair body tissues and antibodies. If you can, I would recommend that you start to serve these foods to your kids from a young age to get them accustomed to the flavours and textures. Personally, I know my kids learn best by example. After seeing my husband and I eat eggs daily, my boys all love eating them now, even sunny-side up! Also, if your kids don’t like the texture of cottage cheese, you can consider pureeing it to make it smooth. Mom Hack Tip: You can purchase flavoured smooth cottage cheese in the dairy / refrigeration aisle. It’s a great way to “sneak” in some protein! If you need further assistance selecting the right food for your family, make sure to ask your local Loblaws, Zehrs, Real Canadian Superstore in-store dietitian for guidance. Through this free service, the dietitian can show you a variety of nutrient-rich foods and provide you with recipes that help support good overall and immune health during flu season.
Get the Flu Shot
While the flu shot cannot prevent against all flu viruses, it will protect against the ones that will be most common during the upcoming season. We’ve been getting it every year since we had kids! Getting the flu shot for your family is as easy as going grocery shopping. Yes, that’s right! Just head to your local Loblaw store and the pharmacist can administer the flu shot to those 5 years and older. No appointment necessary! The flu shot is the best way to prevent the flu, and is available through in-store pharmacists at stores across the country starting in mid-October.
What are some of your tips for flu prevention?
Disclosure: I received compensation as part of my participation in Loblaw Flu Crew campaign. As always, the opinions are my own.