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Chronic absenteeism is not a term that most parents have heard of, but unfortunately, it is becoming a popular condition afflicting many school-aged children. Parents need to know what to do to prevent it. In fact, recent studies showed that more than 70 percent of schools saw increases in chronic student absenteeism since the onset of the pandemic.

Part of the explanation for this increase in children missing school is, not only the stress of the pandemic and its aftermath; but also, their immune systems not being up to par.

How can parents help their children’s immune systems work best to beat flu season?

Flu season is upon us, we are giving you strategies to winterize your child’s immune system! Other good news is the germs young children encounter educate their immune systems, so when they become teenagers, pediatricians say they experience an average of only four colds per year—similar to adults.

The occasional cough and runny nose is never fun or convenient. maybe for kids, although it may be common. With hopes of minimizing the sleepless nights and days missed from school, parents increasingly seek ways to support their children’s immunity, especially through the fall and winter months.

What can parents do so their children avoid unnecessary school absences during this time? Parents must learn quick and easy tips and tricks to boost their children’s immunity and protect their children from harmful infections.

Let’s get into the nitty-gritty to help you become prepared and proficient parents who plunder the plaques inherent during the petulant flu season. The Proficient Parent Steps are quick practical and easy action steps you can take to bulletproof your child’s immunity.

Step 1: Understand Your Child’s Immune System

The Two Parts of the Immune System

To boost your child’s immunity you need at least a basic understanding of how it works. The immune system has the important job of keeping out foreign invaders, protecting the body, and helping maintain wellness throughout a person’s lifespan. Although we think of the immune system as one system, it actually has two separate sub-systems: innate immunity, and adaptive immunity.

In simple terms, innate immunity is your body’s first response to an invader, and adaptive is your body’s learned response to an invader. Because children’s immune systems have not been adequately trained, they tend to rely more on their innate system (which is often fully functional by two years of age) than an average adult.

Development of microbia Lloyd, C.M. and Marsland, B.J. Immunity, 2017. 46(4):549-61. Simon, A.K., Hollander, G.A. and McMichael, A. Proc. R. Soc. B., 2015.

Both the innate and adaptive immune systems grow and develop from infancy through adulthood. The figure above shows the factors that affect the immune system’s growth, strength, and the development of the bugs in your child’s body, called the microbiota.

The strength of the immune system’s response to environmental stimuli is supported in infancy by the mother, but it is affected by maternal exposures like smoking, stress, and genetics. The child’s immune system strength is affected by whether the baby is born naturally or not, with natural birth typically providing the strongest infant immunity.

Children’s immune system continues to increase into adulthood before decreasing in old age. One factor that we will discuss more later is the microbiome (the bugs on and in us), which develops from a narrow amount of diversity in the young, peaking in adulthood before a decline during the elderly years.

In summary, your child’s immune system can be strengthened by choices you, as parents make. For example, a healthy immune response can be strengthened or compromised based on the food you choose to feed your son or daughter. Being aware of and avoiding hidden toxins in your home environment can also help improve childhood immunity. Even the amount of activity your child has can impact your child’s immunity.



Step 2: Immunity-Building Food

Immunity Boosting Foods

One of the biggest influences that parents have on their children’s immunity is through how they feed them and what they teach them about nutrition. When nutrition is poor, a healthy immune response can be compromised.1 On the other hand, consuming adequate amounts of essential nutrients is crucial for the immune response’s function and development.

The proper concentration of macro- and micronutrients is critical for a child’s health and prepares the child’s immune system for future invaders. Suppose your children eat the standard American diet, or anything similar to it. In that case, chances are they are at risk for, or already have, one of the underlying conditions that could make them more susceptible to complications from COVID-19 or other flu-like infections. But the good news is, there are choices you can make now that will slash your children’s risk of chronic disease and immune stress.

The modern industrialized diet is rich in calories and poor in nutrients. The modern American diet is based around sugar, refined carbohydrates, and other processed foods, while also deriving 34% of calories from fat, namely factory-farmed meat, dairy, and eggs. 2 Meanwhile, around 90% of Americans aren’t getting the recommended amount of fruits and vegetables.

So, what foods should your children be eating to get the nutrients they need to stay healthy to beat the flu season?

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends a daily intake of 3 to 5 portions of vegetables and 2 to 4 servings of fruit. A mixture of raw, steamed, and boiled vegetables is ideal. There is also some evidence that at least 5 servings per day of fruit and veggies improve antibody response.

Making healthy food choices is like recruiting a microscopic army of nutrients that are all trained to help your body fight off germs.

G-BOMBS to the Rescue

Some of the healthiest foods for you and your children’s immunity are expressed in an acronym called G-BOMBS, developed by Food Revolution Summit speaker, Joel Fuhrman, MD. It stands for Greens, Beans, Onions, Mushrooms, Berries, and Seeds. G-BOMBS are full of critical nutrients to help your body fight off illness.


According to Dr. Joel Fuhrman, “Greens, such as spinach, kale, mustard greens, collard greens, broccoli, bok choy, and Brussels sprouts, are packed with the phytonutrients your child’s immune system needs for optimal function. Green vegetables are rich in folate, calcium, and antioxidants like lutein and zeaxanthin. Folate is especially important for producing antibodies that work to destroy antigens that can make you sick.”

Easy Preparation: You can blend green veggies into smoothies, sauté them, use them as a base for colorful salads, chop and mix them into pasta dishes, or roast them in the oven.


Beans, peas, and lentils are full of fiber and resistant starch (carbohydrates not broken down through digestion). The compounds in beans and other legumes can help enhance your gut microbiome, which is especially important since much of your immunity begins with the health of your digestive system.

Easy Preparation: You can add beans, peas, and lentils to just about any dish, like in spaghetti, on top of salads or pizzas, or in stews and soups.


Onions, which are part of the Allium family of vegetables along with shallots, scallions, leeks, garlic, and chives, are a rich source of organosulfur compounds. These compounds have known benefits for immunity and are released when alliums are crushed or chopped. Onions contain quercetin, a compound that may have particularly powerful bacteria-fighting abilities, as well as prebiotic fiber that feeds only the beneficial bacteria in our large intestine.

Easy Preparation: Onions and garlic make great kitchen staples because you can use them in so many ways. You might enjoy sautéing them and adding them to soups, stir-fries, burritos, or homemade sauces.


Mushrooms, including the commonly consumed varieties, like white, crimini, and portobello, have been studied for their immune-modulating and enhancing abilities. There’s so much evidence that mushrooms are good for your immune system that they’ve even been studied as a potential treatment for cancer. Additionally, mushrooms may increase an important immune-balancing compound called secretory IgA.

Note that you should only eat cooked mushrooms to reduce a potentially carcinogenic compound called agaritine.

Easy Preparation: Cooked mushrooms are great on warm sandwiches, in noodle dishes, on salads, in soups, and on pizza. They can even serve as a base for plant-based burgers!


Berries of all kinds, including strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, and blueberries, are high in phytochemicals and vitamins that may help keep the immune system functioning at its best. The main antioxidant compound in blueberries is called pterostilbene, which has been studied for its ability to lower inflammation and fight disease.

Easy Preparation: Berries are delicious eaten raw, but you can blend them up nicely in a smoothie also.


Seeds and nuts, like chia, flax, walnuts, and almonds, are rich in disease-preventing nutrients like fiber, healthy omega-3 fats, and micronutrients like vitamin E, iron, zinc, and calcium. Zinc — especially high in pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, and hemp seeds — is a particularly potent nutrient that supports immunity, so much so that it’s called a gatekeeper of immune function.

Easy Preparation: Nuts and seeds are a perfect afternoon snack and go well in homemade trail mix. You can blend them to make your own nut and seed butter and ‘cheezes’ or toss them into salads, stir-fries, and smoothies. Also, blend them into smoothies, mix them into oatmeal or yogurt, make them into a homemade chia jam, or toss them into salads.

Other Immune-Supporting Foods

Boost your child’s immunity with a few other antioxidant-rich foods that strengthen immunity, including:

Beets: Beets are high in nitrates, which become nitric oxide in the body and open up your blood vessels, improving circulation and lowering heart rate. They also contain betalains, which can reduce inflammation, as well as fiber, an important nutrient to prevent a number of diseases.

Dragon Fruit: Dragon fruit is a good source of fiber and prebiotics, which are beneficial to gut health. They also contain antioxidants, like vitamin C, which enhance immunity.

Purple Veggies: Purple vegetables like purple cauliflower, purple carrots, red onion, eggplant, and purple cabbage, are loaded with antioxidants called anthocyanins, which give them their coloring and heal your cells from damage.

Zucchini: Zucchini contains compounds that can improve digestion and protect your body against oxidative damage that can lead to disease.

Something Fishy-Omega-3 fatty acids: According to Emerson Ecologic’s Medical Expert Team, “Fish should be on the menu at least once a week. Coldwater fish (sardines, char, and similar) are rich in healthy omega-3 fatty acids and are essential for children. The fatty acid docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) helps maintain normal brain function. It also promotes good vision. If you prefer to take omega-3 in the form of oils, you can choose from rapeseed, linseed, and walnut oil.”

General Pointers for Immune Boosting Nutrition: Sweets, chips, and other snack foods should be the exception, not the rule (no more than twice a week). Children should be taught to take a conscious and responsible approach to sweets and fast food from an early age. Everything in moderation!

Step 3: Make Healthy Food Fun

Meal Prep Party

Having a child who refuses to eat lunch or dinner can drive parents nuts. How will you ever persuade them to start eating properly? One solution is to make meal preparation a fun time when your children are involved in food preparation. Give your child small jobs to do in the kitchen. This gives them a chance to see how their food is made. Decorating a meal to make it look fun and pretty can also help stimulate their appetite.

Let your children pick out healthy foods at the store and prepare it at home. Having your children have a say in what they eat allows them to feel responsible and gives them a great sense of encouragement. Talk to your children about healthy options so that they know how to make the right choices when putting input about what goes into their lunch. Find a spot in your kitchen and make it the lunch packing station and get lunch prepared with your children the night before. Put all healthy foods like veggies and fresh fruit at eye level.

Hydration Heals

Encouraging hydration with your children is important. Water provides all the means for energy and school-aged children should drink between 6-8 cups of water a day. Allow your children to choose their favorite water bottle, this may make them more inclined to drink from it. If water is too boring for your children, add fresh or frozen fruit to water for calorie-free flavor and as an alternative to soda and other sugary drinks.

Super Immune Snacks

Kids love snacks, and they supply your children with energy throughout the day, so make them nutritional. Packaged snacks don’t usually have the proper nutrients and can sometimes be packed with sugar. Taking control in the kitchen the night before with your children can help make nutritious snacks fun.


Creating a theme for your children’s food or using cookie cutters to make shapes of bread, cheese, deli meat, and even special cutters to add designs to your children’s fruits.

Step 4: Set Mealtimes

Fixed but Flexible Approach

It is important not to force your child to eat but to establish clear rules and boundaries. It can be helpful to set fixed mealtimes that everyone in the family is expected to stick to. Also, consider that children’s tastes may change, so keep going back to the foods your child didn’t like before – you never know, they might have changed their mind!

Super important: remember to schedule plenty of time for meals into your day, and make sure you all get enough family time!

Step 5: Play and Digital Detox

Play to Power up Your Child’s Immunity

Our bodies are designed for, locomotion, or movement. Children are meant to run around and play. Staying active helps build strong bones and muscles—and also immune function. Studies repeatedly show that frequent exercise supports immune health across all ages. Even a single bout of activity appears to enhance immune function.

Digital Detox

One reason that children often resist activity and exercise is because of the temptation of video games, movies, or other activities on screens and devices. Not only does screen time detract from time that can be spent outdoors, but studies show it also interferes with sleep.

School-aged children and teens who spend more time on devices have more trouble getting optimal amounts of shut-eye—another health habit that’s essential for immune function. Limiting screen time to less than two hours per day and emphasizing large and small motor development through physical activity and play, games, arts, crafts, reading, and nature exploration supports better sleep, better learning, and normal physical development.

Step 5: Supplement for Success

Multi-vitamins and more

Children can be picky eaters, at times refusing entire food groups and missing out on important nutrients. Children around the globe are at risk of micronutrient deficiencies, with the most common being iron, iodine, and vitamin A. Even children in industrialized countries may be at risk of micronutrient deficiencies or insufficiencies—particularly B vitamins, magnesium, zinc, vitamin D, and omega-3 fatty acids.

To ensure that children consume all of the essential micronutrients for immune support every day, they can take high-quality multivitamins and minerals. Be sure it includes the full complex of B vitamins as well as an array of minerals, such as iron, magnesium, selenium, copper, and zinc. There are also children’s nutrient shake powders designed to supply optimal nutrition in a daily “smoothie”. Depending on the child’s vitamin D status, an additional vitamin D supplement may be warranted. Also consider fish oil or other omega-3 supplements to ensure adequate intake of essential fatty acids, and probiotics or prebiotics to support the microbiome.

Support optimal well-being with good nutrition and helpful children’s multivitamins like MegaFood Kids Multivitamin Soft Chew Grape Flavor, SmartyPants Kids Formula, and Dr’s Advantage Children’s Super MultiVitamin & Minerals. Also, probiotics like MegaSpore biotics can be beneficial. Future blog posts will discuss these and other immune support supplements in more detail.

Bonus Recipe: Blueberry Bliss Smoothie

Blueberry Probiotic Gut-Friendly Smoothie

Searching for a refreshing summer drink with nutritious health benefits? Try our Symbiotic Blueberry Probiotic, a Gut-Friendly smoothie. This smoothie is a great source of probiotics, which are extremely important for digestive health.

Blueberry smoothie

Probiotics help you to maintain a healthy digestive tract and prevent gut diseases.

A one-cup serving of Blueberry provides 24% of daily vitamin C, 5% vitamin of B6, and 36% of vitamin K needs. Blueberries also provide iron, calcium, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, sodium, manganese, zinc, copper, folate, beta-carotene, folate, choline, vitamin A, and vitamin E.




  • 3 cups of kefir, non-dairy yogurt, or almond milk
  • 2 tablespoons Symbiotics Colostrum Powder
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds
  • 1 ripe banana
  • 1 slice of fresh avocado (add for creaminess)


  1. Blend all ingredients until smooth.
  2. Drink immediately or refrigerate.

For more information on Nutrition and Immunity and more see these New Eden classes:

And these programs:


  • “Dietary Guidelines – Health.” Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion,
  • Ducharme, Jamie. “Fruits and Vegetables: 90% of Americans Don’t Eat Enough.” Time, Time, 17 Nov. 2017,
  • Edgar, J. D., et al. “Increased Fruit and Vegetable Consumption Improves Antibody Response to Vaccination in Older People: The Adit Study: Proceedings of the Nutrition Society.” Cambridge Core, Cambridge University Press, 4 June 2010,
  • Esilvaadhoc. “Blueberry Probiotic Gut-Friendly Smoothie.” Symbiotics, 11 June 2015,
  • Esilvaadhoc. “Keep Children Healthy during Summer Months.” Symbiotics, Symbiotics Life, 18 June 2015,
  • Fuhrman, Joel. “G-Bombs: An Easy Way to Remember the 6 Healthiest Foods on the Planet You Should Be Eating to Prevent Disease and Thrive.” Food Revolution Network, 15 July 2022,
  • “Supporting Kids’ Immunity.” Blog, Emerson Ecologics,