Throughout the pandemic many people have rediscovered the joys of their kitchens. Creating nourishing home-cooked meals that can boost your immune system can be a fun activity for families, and a great way to teach teenagers good nutrition. Baby boomers who are making meals for themselves or dropping off meals to elderly parents may also enjoy experimenting with recipes using immunity-boosting foods.
How to boost your immune system
The onset of winter — combined with the efforts to physically distance from others — has increased the number of people in search of immune-boosting foods and drinks they can easily prepare at home.
While taking supplements can help, eating whole foods is one of the best ways to boost immunity. Foods that contain these five nutrients should be included in a healthy diet:
Vitamin C – found in citrus fruits and juices, kiwi fruit, red and green peppers, broccoli, and strawberries.
Vitamin E – found in wheat germ oil, hazelnuts, almonds, sunflower seeds, and peanut butter.
Zinc – found in oysters, baked beans, cashews, and chickpeas.
Carotenoids – found in carrots, kale, collard greens, apricots, mango, papaya, sweet potato, and spinach
Omega-3 fatty acid – found in flaxseed, walnuts, chia seeds, and oily fish like salmon and trout
Certain foods and drinks are proven to weaken the immune system and should not be included in your kitchen offerings:
Foods with high sugar content
Tasty, immune-boosting recipes
When cooking for a family, especially a family with teenagers, it can be difficult to find dishes that will please every palate.
Famous chef, food author, and restaurateur Maggie Beer provides her fellow Aussies with free recipes organised by season, theme, and meal. Each recipe includes a list of ingredients and instructions for preparation. She’s also written a cookbook that focuses on health and nutrition as we get older, called Recipes for Life.
Another great resource for immune-boosting recipes the entire family will enjoy is the goodfood website. Whether you are interested in chicken dishes or vegan-friendly offerings, goodfood has a fabulous selection of easy-to-prepare recipes.
Setting up your kitchen for success
Home-cooked meals are a great way to bring the entire family together for a meaningful experience. It is a wonderful opportunity to teach young adults life skills they will need when living on their own. Reach out to your elderly relatives to learn about their favourite recipes and recreate them together.
If it has been a while since you used your kitchen regularly, you may need to spend some time setting it up for home-meal preparation success. Kitchens can be both social and functional spaces with a little thoughtful planning.
Using cookbooks or recipes accessed from your digital device? A recipe stand is a great asset to have in the kitchen. It keeps the recipe handy while protecting your device from accidental food and beverage spills.
Organise all of the cooking items you will use frequently, including containers, pots, utensils, and spices. Items should be within easy reach yet not taking up valuable counter space and food preparation areas. Clean out the pantry and make sure all items to be used in regular cooking have not expired.
Ready, set, cook!
The recent pandemic has created many challenges, but it also has provided unique opportunities. Spending more time with your family enjoying immune-boosting home-cooked meals is just one of the many positives. The team at McConnell Bourn hope you and your family enjoy spending quality time together.