What to Cook (Mar 2-6): Immune Boosting Dinners

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Salmon Curry in a White Pot

What to Cook (Mar 2-6): Immune Boosting Dinners

Five weeknights of healthy immune boosting dinners to help ward off late winter colds, flues, and viruses. Let’s get ready for spring with healthy bodies.

February is always a month of colds and viruses. Often a peak season for the flu. It seems that everywhere I go, these days, I hear sniffling and coughs.

Of course, allergy season has also arrived.

There is a lot hitting our immune system right now. Spring is just around the corner and I want to keep the bugs, viruses, and flu away.

So whether you’re sick or healthy, let’s boost the immune system this week with healthy immune boosting dinners, all ready in 30 minutes or less.

Are There Nutrients We Should Load Up On?

Prof. Roess says “there are no known specific nutrients to protect against the [circulating viruses]. However, she says taking vitamin C and zinc couldn’t hurt, since they show to boost the immune system. She also says research shows that zinc can cut the duration of a cold, so it’s worth packing these nutrients in as flu season winds down.”

Besides the nutients mentioned, the CDC “also recommends staying home when you are sick, avoiding close contact with those who are sick, covering your cough or sneeze with a tissue and disinfecting frequently touched objects and surfaces.”

Practical Ways to Boost Immunity

Dr. Roess says the best actions we can take to reduce our risk of the virus include:

  • Washing your hands when getting back home or to your office, after you use the bathroom and before you eat. You should prioritize washing your hands with soap and water rather than just using hand sanitizer, as it is more effective. And wash for 20 seconds.
  • Avoiding touching your eyes, nose and mouth. 
  • Practicing healthy lifestyle behaviors. This includes getting plenty of rest, staying hydrated and eating well to help keep your immune system strong.
  • Trying to reduce stress.

Foods That Boost the Immune System

“In general, your body needs nutrients to keep things running smoothly. Vitamins A, C, E & D all play a role in immunity and so do minerals, like zinc, along with antioxidants. Probiotics and prebiotics may help too. Before you go buying up the supplement aisle, try eating a well-varied diet full of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and healthy fats and proteins. The one exception here is vitamin D, which can be very hard to get through diet alone.”

Immune Boosting Dinners and Ideas

Think cozy soups, pastas, and curries which are all great choices to help pack in foods that support the immune system. Think about lots of colorful vegetables and antioxidant-rich herbs and spices. 

Which Foods Help Boost the Immune System

1. Citrus fruits

Vitamin C is thought to increase the production of white blood cells. These are key to fighting infections.

2. Red bell peppers

Ounce for ounce, red bell peppers contain twice as much vitamin C as citrus. They’re also a rich source of beta carotene. 

3. Broccoli

Broccoli is supercharged with vitamins and minerals. Packed with vitamins A, C, and E, as well as many other antioxidants and fiber.

4. Garlic

Garlic’s immune-boosting properties seem to come from a heavy concentration of sulfur-containing compounds, such as allicin.

5. Ginger

Ginger may help decrease inflammation, which can help reduce a sore throat and other inflammatory illnesses.

6. Spinach

Rich in vitamin C, spinach is also packed with numerous antioxidants and beta carotene, which may increase the infection-fighting ability of our immune systems. 

7. Yogurt

Look for yogurts that have “live and active cultures” printed on the label, like Greek yogurt. These cultures may stimulate your immune system to help fight diseases.

8. Almonds

When it comes to preventing and fighting off colds, vitamin E tends to take a backseat to vitamin C. However, vitamin E is key to a healthy immune system. 

9. Turmeric

You may know turmeric as a key ingredient in many curries. But this bright yellow, bitter spice has also been used for years as an anti-inflammatory in treating both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. 

See: Turmeric: How to Get Recommended 1 Teaspoon Daily

10. Green tea

Both green and black teas are packed with flavonoids, a type of antioxidant. Green tea is also a good source of the amino acid L-theanine. L-theanine may aid in the production of germ-fighting compounds in your T-cells.

11. Poultry

When you’re sick, chicken soup is more than just a feel-good food with a placebo effect. It helps improve symptoms of a cold and also helps protect you from getting sick in the first place. Poultry, such as chicken and turkey, is high in vitamin B-6. About 3 ounces of light turkey or chicken meat contains 40 to 50 percent of your daily recommended amount of B-6.

See: 15 Foods That Boost the Immune System

Immune Boosting Dinners

This week is all boosting our immune system. And about easy, healthy dinners for everyday wellbeing. 

Have a great week everyone!

RELATED: More 31Daily Dinner Ideas >>

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What to Eat This Week: Immune Boosting Dinners

Monday: Mexican Cabbage Soup
Tuesday: 15 Minute Instant Pot Chicken Pho
Wednesday: Roasted Vegetable Barley Risotto
Thursday: Simple Stir Fry
Friday: Salmon Durban Curry
Treat: Dr. Oz Never Get Sick Chocolate Cake

What to Cook (Mar 2-6): Immune Boosting Dinners

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