With the holidays in our midst, cold and flu bugs are just inevitable. We don’t live in bubbles, and our kids are sure to be exposed to whatever is floating around your area.
It sure does seem that the holidays have a tendency to bring on extra illness, but there are definitely some ways to give your kids the upper hand to fighting off the bugs and stay healthy so everyone can enjoy the celebrations to come.
(Just a quick note! I am not a doctor, nor do I claim to be one. I am simply a momma sharing what she has found to work very effectively for her kiddos, in hopes to inspire you to take charge of your own kids’ health proactively! Any product links you see are affiliates that I actually use with my own family – there is no extra cost to you when you use the links, rather it helps run the free content of this blog for you!)
:: Keep up on the preventatives & immune system boosters ::
Don’t let your healthy preventatives routine slip up if you are away from home or have some changes in the schedule. If you live in a northern area that doesn’t see a lot of sunshine it is so important to keep vitamin D boosted through the properly balanced vitamin D and A in quality sourced cod liver oil. During illness we boost the cod liver oil. Pastured lard to cook in is another great source of vitamin D. Vitamin D is more and more in the forefront lately showing to be very effective against the flu in particular.
Since the majority of the immune system resides in the gut, it is important to keep the gut flora balanced with probiotics through fermented foods and/or quality supplemental probiotics. I like to rotate this brand and this brand, along with weekly consuming yogurt and fermented veggies.
During the holidays I like to give elderberry syrup or elderberry tincture a couple times per week. If the girls are run down or ill they get it daily until they recover which has never been more than a few days. Elderberries are effective virus killers and work well to boosting the immune system to fight virus off. I also supplement immune boosting vitamin C during this time to give their bodies an extra boost. I like to use a quality sourced whole food C such as THIS brand and THIS brand. You can read more about the importance of whole food vitamin C in this post.
:: Don’t make the holiday treats a month long event ::
Before you label me as the Scrooge of the century, please hear me out. Sugar has a huge impact on our immune system. As in it weakens it. (See THIS article and THIS article for very informative evidence regarding sugar and the immune system.) It just isn’t worth day after day of junk their bodies aren’t used to. Listen, I’m all about a little fun! Absolutely have some fun making Christmas cookies, or your favorite holiday traditional treats like hot cocoa and eggnog, but it doesn’t need to be a daily (or even weekly) event. Just don’t go overboard is all.
In case you are wanting more evidence, I do have an actual life story to relate to this as well. About 2 years ago I discovered a load of holiday “real food” treats that I wanted to try. I mean, come on! It’s “real food” right? It can’t hurt to have some real food treats every week through the holiday month, right? Wrong. Sugar is still sugar – no matter the form. So that year my 2 girls at the time had cold after cold and it never seemed like we could get better. I resolved never to do it again and I have not regretted that decision since – the last couple years the girls have had 1 (one!) cold during the entire winter, let alone just the holiday season. THAT is worth limiting the treats to just here and there.
:: Ensure sure they are getting adequate rest ::
Please remember that these little ones are kids. Not adults. Party after party, event after event takes its toll on their bodies. In addition to school schedule, packing in a bunch of extra activities at the end of the day can really drain their bodies. If activities after school are a “must”, then it really ought to be made up for on the weekend with naps and early bedtimes. Period. Growing kids need downtime and rest time to recoup. Taxed adrenals from lack of sleep and stimulating parties doesn’t allow the immune system to do its job effectively. Plan in what is absolutely necessary, and really look at what might not be as crucial to have in the schedule.
:: Make the menu nourishing ::
I am a big fan of bone broth or bone broth based soups and gravies daily. Boil rice, noodles, or beans in it if they won’t do soup. Get those babies started early drinking it so they are used to it and won’t bat an eye when given a sippy of bone broth.
Ensure they are getting adequate amounts of friendly fats to help their hormones and sugars stabilize. Lots of pastured butter, lard/tallow, coconut oil, etc. Use immune booster smoothies once or twice a week for breakfast. Get some kid friendly soups in the school lunch thermoses. You can still have comfort food dinners in a nourishing way too!Yes there will be the occasional outing to a restaurant or party during this month to celebrate the holiday, but the majority of their diet can still be nutrient dense and nourishing.
If you need more ideas for nourishing, nutrient dense real food meals that real families can even make, my cookbook, Nourished Beginnings is packed out with my tried and true, staple real food meals – I still cook out of this book on a weekly basis and my kiddos are big kids now!
If the kids end up with a cold or flu, it isn’t the end of the world. All three girls had a pretty decent cold last week, and I look at it as cleaning out the system. It’s when they are getting cold after cold or a bug that just won’t go away after weeks that schedules, routine, and diet could be the culprit. You can still nourish your kids while they are ill and help them recover in a natural way so you can enjoy the rest of the month.
I wish you and your sweet babes and healthy and joyous holiday season!