As autumn draws in, it is time to start considering how to provide your charge (and yourselves) with the vitamins and minerals they need to stay fit and healthy during the colder months. Along with the lack of sunlight and change in temperature, the exhaustion of going back to school and the germs spread amongst children make colds and coughs inevitable. However, a vibrant diet full of nutrients will help to build the immune system, hopefully resulting in a speedy recovery from any common cold.
Making sure that you provide a varied diet and include food from all food groups is the starting point in preparing for battle against the dreaded cold. Clearly, we all need vitamins and minerals to stay healthy but which vitamins have an impact on a child‘s immune system and how do you get them into your cooking?
This vitamin helps to keep bones, teeth and muscles healthy and is generally absorbed directly from sunlight. Due to the lack of sunlight hours in autumn and winter, people are often lacking in this. If you are looking to increase vitamin D levels, try including oily fish, red meat, egg yolks, fortified foods (most fat spreads and some breakfast cereals) or even liver into your recipes. The advice from the Department of Health is to give a vitamin D supplement to children aged 1-4 years old – discuss this with your employer and find out if this is something they wish you to do.
Vitamin A and Vitamin C:
Both of these vitamins help to strengthen the immune system in children. Vitamin A also helps to improve vision and keep skin healthy. Therefore, to stay fighting fit this autumn, your charges should be eating at least 5 portions of fruit and veg a day. In particular, dark green vegetables such as spinach, cabbage and broccoli along with root vegetables, oranges, strawberries, tomatoes and peppers contain these vitamins. With fussy eaters, it can sometimes be difficult to fit enough fruit and vegetables into their diet, however, a little creativity can go a long way. Try mashing other root vegetables and mixing them into a side of mashed potato. Alternatively, blend up the vegetables and turn them into a soup or a sauce to accompany meat or pasta.
Seasonal Fruit and Vegetables:
Using seasonal produce is a great way to ensure that your charges are provided with the nutrients they need this autumn. The wide range of ingredients allow you to make rich and warming food that is packed with vitamins and minerals and contrasts beautifully to the salads of the summer just gone. If you are struggling to identify which autumnal fruit and veg to use in your next meal, have a look at the list below…
☑ Field - Mushrooms
Enjoy some hearty food together and stay fighting fit!