Boost Your Immune System Eat More Fruits and Vegetables

This winter season, we are all trying to avoid the flu, and one of the best ways to do that is to boost our immune systems with good food.

Fruits and vegetables are full of immune-enhancing nutrients such as vitamin C and B vitamins.

Here are some tips for getting more of these “medicines” into your system. And yes, there are ways to get your kids to eat more fruits and veggies, too!

1) The power of chocolate:

We now know that dark chocolate can be good for you in moderation. It contains antioxidants which protect against disease. Paired with fresh fruits, you have a real immune-booster.

If you don’t have a fondue pot, you can melt chocolate in a double boiler and keep it warm in a crock pot. Some fruits that go well with chocolate are fresh pineapple, strawberries, raspberries, and bananas.

Be adventurous – try mangoes, kiwis, or tangerine segments. You will probably be able to get your kids to eat all kinds of fruits they may have shunned before if there is chocolate involved!

2) Add fruits where you can:

In the winter, frozen fruits are the next best thing to fresh. They are cheaper than buying out-of-season produce and they are more nutritious than canned. Add them to hot and cold cereals or to plain yogurt.

You can also make a fruit “pizza,” but try to go easy on some of the sweet additions some fruit pizza recipes call for (such as packaged cookie dough).

Instead, you could use English muffins for individualized pizzas and spread them with lightly sweetened cream cheese or strained yogurt. Then top with fruit. And speaking of pizza…

3) The power of pizza:

Home-made pizza can be a lot of fun to prepare and eat. You can throw all kinds of veggies onto a pizza. Instead of commercial pizza sauce, use meatless, veggie-rich spaghetti sauce (you can always puree it in the blender if the chunks are bothersome).

Use home-made or store-bought whole wheat crust for added nutrition. Try something different, like a broccoli, onion and cheddar pizza, or a more traditional pizza with green peppers, mushrooms, tomatoes, and onions. Sprinkle on some minced garlic for added immune support.

fruit potpourri

4) Make it fun:

Children enjoy having fun with their food. Let them make fruit or veggie “kabobs,” alternating the fruits or veggies with cheese cubes, ham, or other favorites. Everyone in the family can individualize his or her kabob.

5) Dried fruit:

Dried fruit is very nutritious and packs a lot of fiber into a small package. Because there is no water in dried fruit, its nutrients are condensed. Dried fruit is very good eaten out of hand, or it can be used in a creative recipe.

Pitted dried plums, also known as prunes, can be wrapped in bacon, threaded onto a skewer, and broiled under the oven broiler for 10 minutes or so. Figs are also sweet and nutritious dried.

6) Veggie pasta:

Pasta is a wonderful vehicle for all kinds of vegetables. Artichoke hearts, spinach, and even green beans make excellent and colorful additions to pasta. You can also include vegetables in traditional tomato sauce.

Stock up on veggies this winter and stay well!


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