Dietitian Approved Sample 2-Day Meal Plan for Cold and Flu Season
By Sonia Du, RD
Sonia Du is a Registered Dietitian who works for Loblaw Companies Ltd.
Ah, it’s that flu season time of year. With the changing weather comes the desire to sip hot tea near a fireplace. However, it also brings to our attention once again the importance of preventing illness or the flu by supporting our immunity, and there is nothing more important for your immunity than to have a balanced eating pattern with nutritious food choices.
But what is immunity?
Immunity is your body’s ability to prevent the invasion of pathogens, which include bacteria, viruses and other foreign disease-causing substances. This ability that your body has comes from your immune system, which is your body’s defence system against these pathogens. Supporting your immunity means to support your immune system.
Alright, so what role does food play in immunity?
Foods contain nutrients that play various roles in your immune system, from development to regulation to support. Some nutrients can also protect your body against the effects of oxidative stress, which is a natural occurrence that results from your body’s metabolism. Below are the key nutrients that support your immunity, including the foods that contain them.
• Vitamin A: Milk, cheese, eggs, spinach, orange vegetables (ex. sweet potatoes, carrots, squash)
• Vitamin B6: Chicken, salmon, tuna, chickpeas, oatmeal, fortified breakfast cereals
• Vitamin B12: Shellfish, salmon, trout, eggs, milk, milk products, nutritional yeast
• Vitamin C: Fruits (ex. oranges, strawberries, kiwi, guava), green leafy vegetables, broccoli, bell peppers
• Vitamin D: Canned fish with bones (ex. salmon, sardines), egg yolks, fortified foods, sunlight
• Vitamin E: Nuts, seeds, spinach, vegetable oils, avocado, hemp seeds
• Zinc: Meat, poultry, seafood, nuts, seeds, eggs, soy, hemp seeds
• Selenium: Oysters, canned sardines, eggs, nuts, tuna, sunflower seeds, chicken, mushrooms
• Iron: Beef, chicken, beans, lentils, tofu, dark leafy greens, fortified breakfast cereals, whole grain and iron-enriched breads
• Folate: Dark green leafy vegetables, beans, lentils, asparagus, avocado, peanuts, oranges
• Copper: Seafood, nuts, seeds, whole grains, legumes, potatoes
How can I incorporate all these foods into my everyday life?
Glad you asked! Shown below is a 2-day sample meal plan that just might help you envision it. You’ll notice that there are no portion sizes. Rather, the goal is to give you an idea of how to include these immune supporting foods into your meals and snacks. You also do not have to consume all the snacks suggested. It is more important to follow your hunger and fullness cues to give you an indication of how much you need. If you have a bigger appetite, additional food choices are added in brackets.
• Egg omelette
• Includes sautéed baby spinach, diced red bell pepper and grated cheese on top
• Whole grain bread
• Mandarin orange(s)
• (Unsweetened soy or pea protein or cow’s milk)
• Greek or Skyr yogurt
• Mixed berries
• Hemp seeds
• (Cashews in the yogurt or on the side)
• Canned light tuna
• Mixed with diced celery and grated carrot with light mayonnaise
• Whole grain crackers
• Baby spinach, avocado and strawberry salad with olive oil and apple cider vinegar
• Kiwi fruit
• Roasted chickpeas (store-bought or homemade)
• Roasted chicken with broccoli, bell peppers, asparagus and spices
• Roasted sweet potato wedges
• Cow’s milk or unsweetened soy milk or pea protein milk
• (Whole grain bread with peanut or almond butter)
• High fibre whole grain cereal
• Cow’s milk or unsweetened soy milk or pea protein milk
• Hemp seeds
• Pumpkin seeds in the cereal or on the side
• (2 hard boiled eggs)
• Cut up vegetables (ex. carrots, broccoli, cucumbers, bell peppers)
• (Whole grain crackers)
• Leftover roasted chicken with broccoli, bell peppers, zucchini and spices
• Leftover roasted sweet potato wedges
• (Any fruit)
• 1-2% Cottage cheese, no salt added
• Chili with onion, mushrooms, carrot, canned diced tomato (no salt added), lean ground beef and black beans
• Whole grain or whole wheat baguette/dinner roll + margarine (optional)
• Mix of whole grain popcorn, mixed nuts, pumpkin seeds, and dried cranberries
• (Cow’s milk or unsweetened soy milk or pea protein milk)
Where can I get more nutrition support?
Registered Dietitians are regulated health professionals who can help you understand how to make personalized nutrition changes to meet your nutrition and health goals. If you would like support from a Registered Dietitian to help create an optimal diet that is just right for you, Dietitian services are available through Shoppers Drug Mart. Visit www.shoppersdrugmart.ca/dietitians and schedule a free 15-minute call to learn more.
The information provided is for personal use, reference and education only and is not intended to be a substitute for a Physician’s advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult your healthcare professional for specific information on personal health matters. Please note: Dietitian services are currently only available in Ontario. Please contact your store to learn more. ®/TM 911979 Alberta Ltd. ©2020 Shoppers Drug Mart Inc.
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