A version of this post was originally written as a guest blog post for JK Naturals. To read original post on their blog, click here.

Taking the time to ensure that your beloved kids are armed against the winter season and the seasonal illnesses that often come with it not only keeps them at their best, but also benefits you, as their Mom or Dad. It’s as simple as this: keep those kids healthy and prevent them from spreading their kid germs to you and your family!

Focusing on the foods that go into their bodies is key, not only at all times of the year, but especially during the vulnerable winter months. Rather than waiting to fight off a cold when it first strikes, consider taking preventative action by providing adequate nutrients via food to naturally give the immune system a boost. This will give your tweens and teens that advantage when they’re more prone to contracting those germs — while at school or at their friend’s house.

Try out these 5 tips!


1. Eat fresh, whole foods

Limit packaged and processed foods and encourage your growing ones to opt for the nutrient-dense, fresh, whole and unprocessed foods which will provide an abundance of micronutrients, fiber, and other phytonutrients (plant compounds that provide defense against illnesses). Vitamins and minerals are more likely to be plentiful in fresh foods whereas the processed ones are stripped away of many significant immune-supporting nutrients.

Idea: Start by loading up on your child’s favorite fresh fruits and veggies. They’re more likely to eat foods that they actually enjoy rather than forcing them to take in veggies that they despise.

2. Limit sugar intake

The sweet stuff has been shown to weaken the immune system. Try to keep their consumption of refined and processed sugary foods to minimal levels, relying more on whole fruits in moderation as a healthier substitute.

Snack idea: an apple with a few tablespoons of a favorite nut butter (almond, peanut, cashew).

3. Eat fermented foods

Fermented foods contain naturally occurring probiotics, good bacteria, which promote optimal gut health.  Since many of our immune cells are located in or around the digestive system, nourishing the gut with these friendly flora-containing foods will ensure a strong immune system. It’s a win-win: improve their digestion and give their immune system a slight edge.

Idea: Try adding pickles to their favorite sandwich, or as a snack give them unsweetened yogurt with a bit of fresh fruit or honey to sneak the good bugs into their diet.

4. Consume foods rich in vitamin C

Studies have shown that vitamin C can help prevent the incidence of contracting a common cold rather than shorten the duration of suffering once the cold is already present. To help ward off the dreaded cold, have your kid eat more of these foods which are rich in C: lemons, limes, bell peppers, broccoli, and parsley.

Ideas: pizza night at home (topped with bell peppers and broccoli) or homemade lemon or limeade.

5. Exercise

Get outside with your tweens and teens and take a walk, hike or bicycle around town to promote healthy lymphatic drainage and circulation.  Exercising also helps manage stress, so it can’t hurt.  Besides, it’s a great way to get them away from their phones, computers and the TV – all while spending more quality time with you.

If Keep Your Tweens and Teens Healthy During Cold + Flu Season with These 5 Tips was helpful, please share this post with a friend so that they too may learn something from reading it.

And to read more about the dangers of sugar, click here.

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Mike is a holistic nutritionist that helps people feel more optimistic about their health and wellness through changes in diet and lifestyle shifts.

He has authored posts and articles featured on MarthaStewart.com, today.com, and iVillage.com.