5 Back-to-School Immune-Boosting Foods

As the new school year begins, keeping your kids healthy in the midst of cold and flu season is always top of mind for parents. The kid-friendly foods in the five categories below contain key nutrients to support a strong immune system and overall health the natural way—making them the perfect addition to your kids’ daily meals and snacks this season. 

Citrus Fruits


Oranges, grapefruit, lemons, limes, and tangerines are packed with vitamin C, an antioxidant that helps reduce damage from free radicals and is highly concentrated in immune cells for immune-boosting support. Although vitamin C won’t prevent you from catching a cold, studies have shown that it can help reduce the length of cold symptoms. Other fruits that are a great source of vitamin C are mango, cantaloupe, kiwi, pineapple, and berries. 

Try this KIWI recipe:

orange mango smoothie
Mango Delight Smoothie 

Vegetables


Although citrus fruits are widely recognized as the go-to source for vitamin C, these three vegetables are highly concentrated with the immune-boosting antioxidant. One medium-sized bell pepper contains more than double the recommended daily value of vitamin C. Peppers are also a great source of beta carotene, which is a precursor of vitamin A, an antioxidant that supports healthy skin and your immune system. 

Broccoli is high in vitamins A and C as well as beta carotene, potassium, magnesium, iron, zinc, and the antioxidant glutathione. The best way to ensure your kids are benefiting from broccoli’s powerhouse of nutrients is to eat them raw or steamed. Spinach is also packed with vitamin C and beta carotene, which may increase the immune system’s infection-fighting ability. 

Try this KIWI recipe

rice salad
Rice Salad Stuffed Green Peppers

Nuts and Seeds


Another beneficial antioxidant is Vitamin E, which helps boost the immune system by widening blood vessels and reducing the risk of blood clots. Almonds are a good source of healthy fats, making them the perfect snack to help fat-soluble vitamin E be absorbed properly in the body. Sunflower seeds are also rich in vitamin E, which is known to support the regulation and maintenance of immune system function. 

Try this KIWI recipe:

Almond Berry Crisp
Almond Berry Crisp

Healthy Proteins


Poultry, like chicken and turkey, are lean protein sources that provide you with amino acids which help build antibodies to fight infection. Combine poultry in a dish with lots of vegetables, or boil it to make a soup, which releases gelatin and other nutrients to support a healthy gut and immune system. 

Try this KIWI recipe:

Miso Fennel Chicken Soup

Yogurt 


When fighting off colds, maintaining a healthy digestive tract is key. Yogurt contains live and active cultures of probiotics to help stimulate the immune system. It’s also a good source of calcium and protein (especially plain Greek yogurt). When shopping for yogurt, check the labels to make sure it contains live probiotics.

Try this KIWI recipe:

Yogurt Granola Bark
Yogurt-Granola Breakfast Bark