Georgia Barnes BHSc Nut | Resident Nutritionist & Food Consultant 

As we settle into Winter, there’s no better time to nutritionally support your family’s immune system. One of the most effective ways to achieve this is by ensuring an adequate supply of whole foods that provide essential vitamins and minerals. Let’s explore the benefits of specific foods and highlight the nutrients that naturally support immune function. 

What are whole foods and why is it important?

Whole foods are unprocessed or minimally processed ingredients that are closer to their natural state. When food is refined or heat-treated, many essential components that our bodies need for overall health and wellbeing are removed. Cooking with food that is minimally processed means your meals will be higher in vitamins, minerals, fibre, quality proteins and healthy fats. Research tells us that there’s a direct correlation between poor diet and poor immunity. This is why it’s so important to nurture the body with nutrient-dense ingredients, especially when the flu season comes to town. 


  1. Eat the Fruit & Veggie Rainbow.
     Include a variety of seasonal fruits and vegetables in different colours in your daily diet. Fruit such as berries, citrus, kiwi fruit, pineapple and paw paw are all rich in Vitamin C, natural anti-inflammatory compounds and antioxidants. Leafy greens, broccoli, capsicum, carrots, pumpkin and sweet potatoes are rich in B vitamins, vitamins A, C and E, and minerals like zinc, which play vital roles supporting immune function. Combining these ingredients in smoothies or in stocks and soups is a great way to make a jam-packed immune boosted meal. Flavour with natural immune-supportive ingredients like ginger, garlic, turmeric, raw or Manuka honey.
  1. Whole Grains.
    Opt for whole grains like brown rice, quinoa, whole oats and wholemeal sourdough bread over refined white flours and grains. Whole grains are a great source of fibre which encourage good bacteria in the digestive tract to flourish, also known as a prebiotic. A healthy gut microbiome is often a good indicator of a healthy immune system. Whole grains are also rich in B vitamins and trace minerals such as selenium and magnesium, which contribute to overall health and immune function.
  2. Quality Lean Proteins.
    Incorporate lean protein sources such as chicken, fish, eggs, natural yoghurt, legumes and tofu into your meals daily. Proteins are made up of amino acids, which are the building blocks for immune cells and antibodies that help fight and protect against many common viruses. Ensuring your family is getting adequate protein is not only essential to preventing illness, but also aids in the body’s recovery and repair.
  3. Healthy Fats.
    Including quality sources of healthy fats like avocado, seeds, nuts and extra virgin olive oil are essential for maintaining healthy immune cell membranes. Not to mention incorporating fat into regular meals is essential for the absorption of fat-soluble Vitamins A, D, E and K which are vital for immune health. Coincidently they’re also found in many Winter vegetables like pumpkin, carrot and sweet potato.
  4. Probiotics are essential.
    Many lifestyle factors effect our microbiome and in turn our digestion and immune function. Naturally fermented foods like unsweetened natural yoghurt, kefir, cultured coconut yoghurt and sauerkraut will support good gut health and probiot. Alternatively, you can purchase e a good quality probiotic supplement from your local health food store or pharmacy which is a great addition to a healthy diet. 

 I hope these simple suggestions provide some inspiration and motivation for you and your family. Please reach out if you have any questions or suggestions, I’m always here to help as I’m very passionate about supporting the health and wellbeing of our little one’s growing minds and bodies. 

To find recipes from the Kindy Kitchen menus or for more nutritional information, please speak to one of the reception staff at your centre, or visit the website.