5 Foods to Boost Your Toddler's Immunity

With Singapore’s weather changes, from hot and humid one moment to rainy the next, it’s no surprise if children often catch a cold, cough or flu. And with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic ongoing, you’re probably on the constant lookout for ways to boost their immune systems so they can stay healthy and strong.

As the saying goes, an apple a day keeps the doctor away.

Your first line of defence in boosting your child’s immune system is through their lifestyle and diet choices. Ensuring that your child gets sufficient sleep and maintains a healthy and balanced diet will help to keep the running noses and sore throats at bay (and the doctor away!).

You can even consider adding these foods to your family’s meals as well to boost their immune systems too.

Here are 5 recommended foods to boost your child’s immunity.

1. Yoghurt

Yoghurt is full of good gut bacteria called probiotics, which help prevent bad bacteria from colonising the stomach and stimulating the immune system. It’s also a good source of calories, fat, protein, calcium, and most importantly, iodine (which can be good if your child doesn’t take much fish or dairy).

Just be sure you’re offering your child a low sugar or no-added-sugar option as sugar has the opposite effect on our immune systems!

How you can introduce this to your child:

Add this to meals as a dip for their veggies or fruit. For younger babies, you can puree or add small pieces of boiled or steamed vegetables to their yoghurt.

Or for a fun treat, mix some fruits in the yoghurt and freeze them as popsicles, this may even help soothe a teething baby!

2. Berries

Children love berries, which is perfect because these fruits are packed with antioxidants that fight against oxidative stress. They’re also a good source of vitamin C (especially strawberries!).

You can also explore other types of berries as well such as raspberries, cranberries, blackberries, and cherries. Keep in mind to cut the fruits up into a size appropriate for your child to prevent choking hazards. Or if you want to be extra safe, you can puree them into their food.

How you can introduce them to your child:

Try adding some blueberries, strawberries, or blackberries to your child’s oatmeal or even yoghurt to make for one tasty meal!

3. Citrus Fruits

High in vitamin C, these are great for boosting the immune system. Some citrus fruits to choose from include oranges, tangerines, grapefruits and pomelos.

Whether it’s in the form of the fruit or fresh fruit juice, you won’t have a hard time incorporating these into your child’s diet as they’re typically well-received by children.

How you can introduce them to your child:

Many kids enjoy a refreshing glass of lemonade or orange juice on a hot day. Tangerines and oranges also make for a great afternoon snack on their own!

4. Sweet Potatoes

Orange-fleshed sweet potatoes are one of the richest sources of beta-carotene, a compound that is converted into vitamin A in the body, which is critical to building a healthy immune system. They’re also a source of vitamin C, which is also essential in boosting immunity,

How you can introduce them to your child:

For younger babies, try making sweet potato puree.

For toddlers, you can make a 2-ingredient pancake from just egg and sweet potatoes. This makes for a delicious meal and a healthier alternative to regular pancakes!

5. Nuts and seeds

These are among the best sources of vitamin E. The antioxidants in vitamin E, called alpha-Tocopherol, have been shown to enhance the body’s immune response.

You can choose from a variety of nuts and seeds including pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, flax seeds, almonds, walnuts and more -- the variety is endless!

How you can introduce them to your child: