What Your Kids Should be Eating to Keep Healthy During a Pandemic, Flu Season

One local nutritionist recommends that cold-water, fatty fish, like salmon, sardines and tuna, can be especially beneficial for children's health

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Boosting your immune system right now should be top priority, but what about making sure your kids are staying as healthy a possible? It’s a big concern, especially heading into flu season and as COVID-19 numbers increase for much of the country. 

To get some more insight, NBC 7 spoke with a registered dietitian nutritionist who has some recommendations for parents on making sure their kids are getting enough iron, fiber and fish.

Kacie Barnes, Founder of Mama Knows Nutrition, said she sees that a lot of kids not getting enough of those foods.

Though parents may have a hard time getting children to eat meat, fish, fruits and vegetables, they should try their best to incorporate such foods into the kids' diets so they can be full of nutrition.

There can be some pretty big consequences if kids are missing these important foods on a regular basis.

Children can become cranky, feel tired and have low energy if they do not consume enough fish, meat, fruits and vegetables. They can also see long-term effects with their growth, so that makes it even more important to make sure these foods are a priority.

One food that’s really good for kids that parents may not typically think of first is fish. Barnes advised that parents should aim to serve their children fish at least one to two times a week.

Parents don’t always know when it’s safe to give kids fish, or how to prepare it, but the protein-packed meals have a lot of benefits, according to Barnes. The nutritionist recommends three types of fish could be especially beneficial for children.

“It’s great in preventing cardiovascular disease as part of a healthy diet," Barnes said. "And it’s high in omega-3’s, certain types of fish, especially the cold-water fatty fish. Your salmon, your tuna, your sardines. Those have omega-3 fatty acids which are literally building blocks for kids brains, so it’s hugely important."

Although it may be uncommon, sardines are great, even for babies and toddlers because they have iron, a great source of protein and omega-3 fatty acids.

Barnes warned that parents should be careful about mercury, and to make sure the amount the serving of fish is OK for children.

One more thing Barnes suggested is to make sure to pay close attention to is unhealthy snacks. It's best to have a snack schedule and stick with it to make sure children are hungry for meal time.

To learn more about Barnes' recommendations, click here.

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