Immunity Boosting Foods for Toddlers

By on 01/21/2014
Sleeping Sick Baby

Go ahead and guess why I’m blogging about this right now.


Two weeks into daycare and Seb comes down with a nasty, phlegmy, loud,  gross cough, sore throat and high fever. But hey! His nose isn’t running, so we’ve got that going for us…

I knew this would happen with daycare, but in just 2 weeks? He doesn’t even go full time!

He is still refusing to eat anything other than cookies, which really just tells me he is a smart kid that knows when his parents are willing to negotiate with a toddler terrorist. I’ve offered him every fruit, veggie, meat, even gluten-laden bread.. anything I can find in the house. All he’s eating (nibbling, really) so far though are guilt cookies.

Guilt cookies I bought from the Publix bakery because he just looks so sick and miserable and can’t even sleep without choking on his own post-nasal drip. If there ever is a time for cookies, this is it.

Of course I took him to the doctor, and of course the doctor said it’s just a cold and he will be better soon. In the meantime give him Motrin for the fever, and get him to drink as much fluids as possible.

Oh, she also told me to spray saline up his nose 3 times a day to help break down all that post-nasal-goo. I’ve never done this before, and while I can’t honestly say it’s making any kind of difference, I can say it releases an inner strength and and fighting ability I never knew my two year old had.

He suddenly becomes Baby Van Damme and successfully fights off 2 fully grown adults.

Honestly, my doctor’s pretty flippant “Eh, he’s a kid. Motrin, Saline, Liquds, Wait.” instructions left me wanting more. I understand that there is no quick fix, and honestly since he’s refusing most foods anyway, it’s not like I can feed him immunity shakes filled with broccoli and kale and juices and magic potions.

But here’s the thing. He will get better, I’m sure. And then I will send him back into the cesspool of germs known as daycare. How long until he’s waking up in the middle of the night, feverish and sobbing again?

I would very much like to prevent future night time fever sobs, k?

I currently give him a daily multivitamin (I know! I know! I just wrote about how those are basically pointless. But that research was all based on healthy adults. I have no idea about the efficacy of vitamins on toddlers, but I feel like its a safe bet that giving them to his growing system is more beneficial than not), but there has to be more I can do to boost his little baby immune system.

So I asked my research monkeys to give me a full report on what, if anything, I can stick down my toddler’s gullet to help him fight off future germs.

And here is that list!

Toddler Immunity Boosters

  • Limit Sugar (ooooooops!). Apparently sugar can suppress the immune system, while also not offering anything good for the kid. So maybe cookies were a mistake. PARENT OF THE YEAR, RIGHT HERE FOLKS!
  • Probiotics. These little bacteria promote a healthy gut and studies show they may help prevent rotavirus (toddler diarrhea) and urinary tract infections. While there are now tons of probiotics available for kids, looks for ones that are low on sugar, artificial sweeteners, and other non-natural ingredients. Maybe substitute a natural probiotic for the kid’s usual Gogurt or Trix brand yogurt, which have enough sugar to give an elephant diabetes.
  • Fruits. I think most kids already willingly eat sweet, juicy fruits anyway, but maybe that’s not a fair assessment to make based on my sample base of 1 kid. Fruits are loaded with immunity boosting vitamins and anti-oxidants, and help increase white blood cell count and boost antibodies. I think while it may be common sense, it’s worth noting that this is with FRESH, REAL fruit. Not fruit flavored things like cereal or drinks or any bright colored package with pictures of fruit on it. Real fruit. Not processed fruit flavored crap. Mmkay?
  • Veggies. Everything I just said about fruit? Also true for veggies like broccoli, kale, spinach, carrots, sweet potatoes, and squash. These may be harder to get into your kids stomach, but try. Just a quick steaming of most of these veggies will make them pretty soft and yummy. I’ll add some salt and pepper, since Seb seems to appreciate seasoning. Again, processed crap that has “vegetable powder blend” as an ingredient does not count, and should probably only ever be used as trash can filler.
  • Fats. Here we are taking about Omega-3s again. Omega-3s feed macrophages, which are the white cells that fight bacteria, but I think giving a fish oil supplement to a kid is a bad idea (this is why), but feeding him fresh, healthy fish like salmon is a great way to give him immune boosting omega-3s in a natural way, without over-dosing the little bugger.
  • Sleep. Not enough sleep for both adults and toddlers contributes to a reduction in natural killer cells (awesome name!), which protect our system by fighting off microbes and even cancer cells. I know Seb isn’t sleeping as well or as long in daycare, just based on their schedule and also the circles under his eyes when I pick him up. I think maybe on school days I should start putting him to bed a little earlier to help him catch up on his Zzz’s.
  • Exercise. This is another thing that boosts the amount of natural killer cells in the body, even in toddlers. While there are already 100 great reasons to exercise and make sure your kid does too, this is just one more. Less butt sitting, more playing chase, rough and tumble, walks, silly dancing, etc. Noted.
  • Hand washing. Ok this one is obvious. But I’ll be honest and say I let my guard down on this one a lot. I either forget to have him wash his hands before a meal, or I get all lazy and just wipe them with a baby wipe. Truth is, he needs to wash his hands with actual soap, and before each meal. I will get better at this.


Ok, really I think these are just good habits in general, with the added bonus of helping Seb fight off all those germs from his slurpy, snotty, contagious little day care friends (Also, can I please call their parents? I would like to discuss the novel idea of not sending your kid to school when sick.)

Sleeping Sick Baby

Just so you don’t stay up all night worrying, Seb is already getting better and even just took a long, uninterrupted nap.

About Anna

Hi there! This is my little blog project where I am trying to learn more about health, wellness and living a balanced life, while also sharing a bit of my silly side as well. By "silly" I mean sarcastic. And by "a bit" I mean way too much. Sorry about that.♥ - Anna