As we brace ourselves for the cooler months ahead, Australians have been warned to expect a surge in colds and flus this winter, after spending last year predominantly indoors.

The pandemic’s social distancing measures and increased hygiene practices resulted in a significant decrease in the number of influenza cases recorded around the country and historically, record low years are followed by big flu years.

With immunity at the forefront of our minds, leading dietitian Susie Burrell, reminds us that eating a healthy and balanced diet is integral for maintaining every single one of our body’s organs and cells, which includes our immune system.

However, it can be tricky convincing our loved ones to eat more nutritious foods especially for those that are fussy eaters.

Susie Burrell is a nutritionist and mum of five-year-old twin boys, Harry and Gus, .

While education about nutrition with our children is important, Susie says that sometimes you just have to hide it amongst other foods they like!

“In winter it can be especially hard to stay away from indulgent, comfort foods, however comfort foods can be healthy too! Essential foods to add to your winter diet include spinach, strawberries, peanuts or a 100% natural peanut butter like Mayver’s, almonds, garlic, ginger, sweet potato and foods that contain omega-3 fatty acids.”

As Susie explains, “Omega-3 fatty acids assist in reducing inflammation within the body to support the immune system and are typically found in oily fish. There are also smaller amounts of plant-based Omega-3 in flaxseeds, linseeds and some nuts.

“Mixing fresh fruit, nuts or peanut butter, ginger and certain vegetables like spinach into an after school smoothie is a great way to sneak in extra nutrients.”

Susie also recommends sneaking in extra vegetables wherever you can.

“Add more vegetables to your stews and bolognaise sauces and if your child has a super talent for picking out vegetables, you can try cooking the vegetable elements first, like carrot, celery, spinach, sweet potato until they’re super soft and re-adding to your dish to be disguised in the sauce before serving.”