Toddler-Friendly Foods for Cold & Flu Season

For all sorts of reasons, keeping Zander healthy during cold and flu season is my number one priority. I had the good fortune of being able to attend a workshop on herbal remedies over the weekend, taught by the fabulous Ingar Brunnett, and we are now incorporating Ingar’s recommendations for preventative care into our daily routines.

Below are just a few of the things we are doing now in our household to help boost our immune systems. The best part is that all of these are 100% toddler-approved:

Cranberry Pear Marshmallow Root Tea
(Note: I tripled this recipe and made a big batch; Ingar said that it keeps well for 1-2 days in the fridge.)

1 Tbsp marshmallow root
2-4 cups of water
1/2 cup cranberries
1 Asian pear, whole, with skin (optional–adds sweetness)

Option 1: Bring water, pear, and marshmallow root to a boil, then lower heat and simmer for about 30 minutes. Add cranberries and simmer for another 15-20 minutes, then strain into glass pitcher/jars for storage.

Option 2: Bring all ingredients to a boil, turn off heat, cover, and steep overnight, then strain into glass pitcher/jars for storage.

NOTE: This tea has such a beautiful, vibrant color! I added a bit of agave nectar to Zander’s sippy cup, and he loooooved it. We also chopped up the boiled Asian pear and ate it for dessert after lunch.

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Ingar talked on Saturday about the importance of staying hydrated during cold and flu season, as well as eating lots of fruits and vegetables that are rich in vitamin-C and minerals. She emphasized that soups are an excellent way to accomplish both of these goals and shared a recipe (and samples!) of a really delicious miso-seaweed soup, which I plan to make later this week.

For today, I decided to go with a tried-and-true favorite that we fondly call “Anja’s soup,” a recipe we adopted from our dear friend Anja, who sends us special spice packets from Germany to give the broth its yummy flavor. If you don’t have a German friend to send this to you, you could just use your favorite veggie broth (liquid or powder).

Here’s how to make this delicious, nutritious, and super-simple soup (of which Zander ate 2 adult-sized bowls for lunch, after eating several small handfuls of the raw veggies while he helped me make the soup):

Anja’s Soup

Chop as many of the following veggies as you like (and/or other veggies), in whatever proportions you like, and boil them along with the veggie broth/powder of your choice in a large covered pot until they are tender, but not mushy:

broccoli
cauliflower
carrots
Brussels sprouts
celery

In a separate pot of water, cook the pasta of your choice (we use Ancient Harvest quinoa pasta shells), then drain and add them to the soup when ready to serve.

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In addition to incorporating more soups, teas, and whole foods into our diets, we are enjoying daily doses of Gaia Herbs elderberry syrup (yum!) and Emergen-C Kidz vitamin C packets (in grape, orange, and fruit punch), both of which Zander regards as treats. 🙂

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These are just a few simple ideas that might be useful to incorporate into your daily routine, regardless of age, but especially if you are caring for a toddler!

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About Kim McCoy

Kim McCoy is a passionate animal and environmental advocate with a B.S. in Business Administration from UT Knoxville and a J.D. specializing in Animal and Environmental Law. She graduated with honors from Lewis & Clark Law School, where she served as Editor in Chief of the internationally acclaimed Animal Law Review and interned with the National Center for Animal Law and the International Environmental Law Project. Kim is a member of MENSA (the “high IQ society”) and previously worked for Sea Shepherd Conservation Society in a variety of roles, including Executive Director, Director of Campaigns, and Director of Legal Affairs. Kim is also the former Executive Director of the One World One Ocean Foundation and the proud mother of a healthy, thriving son who has been vegan since conception. Currently serving as Executive Director of Big Life Foundation, which protects wildlife and wild lands in Eastern Africa, Kim remains deeply committed to the defense of animals worldwide.
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