We’re just over halfway through winter and it’s feeling pretty chilly here in Blighty. As we head into the coldest part of the year, I’ve been thinking about ways to sneak vitamins and minerals into my children to ensure they have a head start to stay healthy.

To help fend off the dreaded bugs and to support their immune systems, they’ll be taking their Haliborange supplements every day, as well as eating a varied and nutritious diet. Here are a few extra creative ways I’ll be boosting their immune systems even further.

Why is calcium important and how can we eat more of it?

vitamins and mineralsCalcium is vital for teeth and bone health, especially for growing children whose bodies are achieving peak bone mass. As a family we don’t eat a huge amount of dairy, so I’m always on the hunt for extra ways to get calcium into us all. Did you know that a cup of cooked kale, or a tin of sardines (with bones) contains more calcium than a cup of pasteurised milk? It’s quite fascinating once you start looking into it, check out this article for more info.

Although most of us throw them away, egg shells are an excellent source of calcium. They are mainly calcium carbonate, made up similarly to our bones and teeth. A simple way of preparing the shells is to boil them (to remove bacteria) then roast them in a hot oven for 10-15 minutes, allow to cool and grind to a powder in a blender. When the powder is added to soups and smoothies it’s undetectable. I call that a win!

Why is vitamin D important and how can we eat more of it?

We need vitamin D to be able to absorb calcium, and deficiency in children could lead to bone disorders such as rickets. Unlike many other vitamins and minerals, vitamin D is largely made by our own bodies by converting chemicals it receives from exposure to sunshine. Unfortunately, when you live in a country like the UK, you can’t rely on the sun making an appearance every day, so it’s vital to boost vitamin D where possible. Check out this article for signs of deficiency.     

Red meat, oily fish and eggs are all great sources of vitamin D, as well as certain mushrooms (especially maitake). As long as they’ve been exposed to UV light, these mushrooms are exceptionally high in vitamin D because their skin absorbs it from the light the way human skin does. Even my ridiculously fussy eater Freddy can be persuaded to eat mushrooms that have been sauteed in coconut oil and sea salt from time to time. 

Why is iron important and how can we eat more of it?

vitamins and mineralsIf you don’t have enough iron in your system, your body won’t be able to make enough healthy oxygen carrying red blood cells. This could lead to iron deficiency, also known as anemia, which is one of the most common nutritional deficiencies. Thankfully we can avoid it by eating lots of iron rich food. Red meat and liver are high in iron, as is spirulina, a type of algae. Check out this article for the top ten best foods to eat for boosting iron.

Other great iron sources are raisins, pistachio nuts and dark chocolate. The children love making bark in our house, and it never lasts longer than five minutes. Simply melt dark chocolate (I use 85% cocoa solids, the higher the better as it will be lower in sugar), then stir in a handful each of raisins and pistachios, then allow to set in the fridge. It’s absolutely delicious, and also makes a fab gift. 

What are your favourite ways of sneaking vitamins and minerals into your children? Tweet me @mummytries

**Disclaimer: this post has been sponsored by Haliborange. For my full disclosure policy, please click here.**

Vitamin A: helps support normal vision | Vitamin C: helps support the immune system | Vitamin D: essential for the normal growth and development of bones in children | Vitamin B12: contributes to normal energy release.

Food supplements do not replace a balanced diet and healthy lifestyle.

Although my two girls eat really well, my son is the complete opposite – at 3½, Freddy epitomises the term fussy eating. He mainly lives on home made smoothies, and turns his nose up at almost everything else.

We think that Freddy has sensory issues, because he says things like:

“I don’t like hot food.”

“I don’t like cold food.”

“I don’t like lumps or bits in my food.”

The never ending angst we go through on behalf of our children

fussy eating I’ve gone through every emotion you imagine about this over the last few years, because Freddy’s fussy eating used to really bother me. Being such a foodie I felt like a complete failure due to his lack of interest in almost all food, not to mention lack of variety to his diet. I was also concerned in the earlier days that he wouldn’t grow or put on weight.

You only need to take one look at my boy however, to see that there’s nothing to worry about. With his healthy physic, bright eyes and long legs you’d naturally assume that he falls into the category: eats like a horse. 

You might be wondering what our secret is?

Freddy eats nutrient dense whole foods, which truly sustain him. He has very little in the way of processed carbs, and doesn’t have any refined sugar. In addition to this, we supplement with a good quality multivitamin. By eating this way, I know that Freddy is getting everything he needs.

We make a super smoothie (recipe below) every morning, and some evenings. It is packed full of goodness, and Freddy helps me make them so he knows exactly what goes in. Although he’ll often say that he hates carrot, or avocado, he happily adds them to the blender then drinks the end result. It’s all very confusing to be honest, which is why I decided a while ago to stop fretting about it.

I also constantly offer him new foods, because all children have the capacity to be fickle. They might adore something one day, but not even want to look at it the next. A recent win for us, was Freddy eating two huge chunks of watermelon, because he has always refused it in the past.   

Head over to YouTube for more of my tips on helping your fussy eater

A super smoothie recipe for you

fussy eating
Ingredients

½ medium sized avocado (heart healthy good fat, potassium, fibre)
½ medium sized banana (increases energy, helps regulate blood pressure, contains vitamin B6)
½ medium sized raw carrot (rich in vitamins A, C, K, B8, and minerals) 
350ml live bio yoghurt (probiotic for a healthy gut)
tbsp cacao powder (antioxidant rich, full of iron, magnesium and calcium)
drizzle of raw honey to sweeten (natural anti-bacterial and anti-fungal, aids digestion)
 
Method
– add all ingredients to your blender, and whizz on a high setting until everything is smooth
– serve immediately
 
**Disclaimer: this is a collaborative piece written for Haliborange. For my full disclosure policy please click here.