Adding berries and yoghurt to food rather than swallowing vitamin tablets is one of the natural ways to boost immune systems and help to fight off coughs and colds.

Boosting a child's immune system to ward off coughs and colds can be a challenge for most parents.

But experts say that instead of turning to oranges, garlic and vitamin tablets as the solution, a few simple additions to meals can make all the difference.

Paediatric dietitian Miriam Raleigh says a varied diet is much more beneficial than popping a pill.

"Increasing our intake of only one specific thing is never going to do the trick," she said.

"Parents should always be thinking about a colourful diet with their children to make sure they are getting a broad range of foods.

"We need to be eating lots of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and probiotics as well as trying to minimise packaged and highly processed foods because they don't offer much nutrition.

"The key is trying to do things differently each day and not eat too much of the same thing."

She said a varied diet, especially in winter, was superior to a vitamin C pill when it came to protecting children from colds and flu.

Jenna encourages her children Gwynie and Tal to eat lots of fruits and veggies to fight the flu. Picture: Sarah Matray
Jenna encourages her children Gwynie and Tal to eat lots of fruits and veggies to fight the flu. Picture: Sarah Matray


Mother of two Jenna said kids Gwynie, 3, and 22-month-old Tal have not been sick this cold and flu season so far, and she believes it is thanks to a varied diet and creative thinking.

Jenna says she exposes her children to a wide variety of fruit and vegies, uses games to encourage healthy eating away, and steers them away from packaged and processed foods with fun and colourful "bento" lunch boxes.

"If the plate looks fun and colourful, the kids are much more likely to eat it, we always try and have a wide range of colours on the plate," she said.

Jenna has started a blog, called "Mum of Two Bumbling Through",to help other parents tackle challenges with young children and having fun while learning through play.

Some of her tips include getting probiotics from yoghurt that contains live cultures as an alternative to buying them in a tablet. And for your daily dose of antioxidant, she suggests plenty of coloured foods, berries and oily fish.

And to get vitamin C naturally, there are plenty of alternatives to citrus fruits - such as capsicum, broccoli and spinach.

The cold and flu season typically runs from April to October, peaking in August. Confirmed cases have been higher than usual this year.

For more fun ideas on how to get your kids to eat a rainbow of fruits and vegetables, visit Jenna's Instagram @mum_of_two_bumbling_through

grace.mckinnonleyton@news.com.au