Good nutrition is important all year long, and providing kiddos with clean, real food is part of our mission statement here at DeeBee’s. There’s no better way to ensure we’re getting all the nutrients we need than by ‘eating the rainbow,’ which means eating a wide variety of fruits and vegetables, all year long.
That said, winter is a challenging time of the year. Not only are we in cold and flu season, but we’re also getting less sun and often experiencing lots more stress. That’s why self care in winter is so critical, and why it’s important to pay extra close attention to how we’re nourishing our bodies – as well as the little growing bodies we care about so much.
You should always talk to your doctor about extra supplementation, but thankfully there’s an easy way to get more vitamins in our diet – through nutrition! Keep reading to learn some vitamins your body particularly needs during winter, along with my go-to natural sources for them.
As many of us have learned thanks to the pandemic, Vitamin D is critical to our immune system. And our Vitamin D levels are typically the lowest during the winter, right when we need it most. That’s because we get Vitamin D from the sun, which tends to hide this time of year.
Thankfully, many foods are fortified with Vitamin D, and you can also find it in fatty fish and fish liver oil. You may also want to talk to your doctor about Vitamin D supplements.
And a pro tip - have you heard about how Scandinavian kids play outside all year long? Their parents bundle up them up properly, of course, and send them out on their merry way. They even take recess outside, even in the coldest months! Among other benefits, this helps their little bodies soak up what little Vitamin D there is to be had from the sun. Smart!
There’s a reason chugging OJ when you have a cold is such a ‘thing.’ Vitamin C really is great for the immune system!
Of course, most orange juice has lots of sneaky sugars, so try to pick no-sugar added options (like our no-sugar added mango orange freezer pops). And reach for the real thing! Citrus fruit in general is packed with Vitamin C.
And another pro tip: eating seasonally and embracing frozen fruit is a great way to eat fruit in the winter. And, you can freeze your own oranges. See tips on how to do so here.
B-complex vitamins are also great for your immune system, as well as for your overall health and wellbeing. We could all use a mood boost in the winter, especially if you’re prone to the winter blues, and B-Vitamins might help.
Natural sources of B-Vitamins include meat and seafood, eggs and dairy, and legumes and leafy greens (check out our Lucky Leprechaun Smoothie to get your kids to eat more spinach!). Sunflower seeds are another great choice, making them a great snack all year long.
Flavonoids are an antioxidant that can help boost your immune system. And best of all – there are lots of yummy sources for it. All sorts of berries, cherries, red and purple fruits, tea, dark chocolate, and leafy greens are all good sources. In the winter, an easy way to boost your flavonoid consumption is to take frozen berries and throw them into smoothies or use them in baking.
And of course, our blueberry pomegranate freezer pops are another great source (just sayin’!).
Ultimately, eating a healthy diet with a variety of fruits and vegetables, while also reducing sugar and processed food as much as possible, is a great way to support your body and your immune system during cold and flu season. I hope you and your family have a safe and healthy winter!