Dietitians Can Help You Combat the Fall Flu Spike

Fall has arrived in all its glory! Unfortunately, the not so glorious Fall Flu Spike has also arrived! This is the time of the year when those of us spending our days in enclosed spaces, such as classrooms, shopping malls, office buildings and entertainment venues are more susceptible to becoming sick with influenza and then bringing those germs home to our families.

In fact, studies show school children often bring germs home from school and spread them to their parents and younger siblings, causing sickness ranging from colds to severe asthma flare-ups – this is known as the Fall Spike. (1)

So, is it inevitable that we become ill during the Fall Flu Spike?  No, it’s definitely not!  You’ll be happy to know, measures can be taken to decrease the likeliness of becoming a victim of the Fall Spike!

Atlantic Superstore Registered Dietitian, Kara Parsons, and student, Kelsey.

Along with impeccable hand washing and receiving the annual flu shot you should:

  • Make an appointment with one of the in-store Registered Dietitians at your local Atlantic Superstore. Dietitians can help you prepare for cold and flu season with nutrient-rich foods and recipes that help support good overall and immune health.

With this in mind, I recently made an appointment and subsequently had a very informative consultation with my local Atlantic Superstore dietitian, Kara Parsons, Registered Dietitian.


During the consult, Kara explained the need to make healthy food choices all year. She also stressed the need to consciously up the consumption of healthy foods, such as citrus fruits, beans,  legumes, probiotics and nuts and seeds to get the nutrients you need during flu season.  Kara also explained how these foods contribute to good overall and immune health during the Fall Spike and leading into cold and flu season.

 You need to ask yourself, do you and your family eat enough of these foods?

  • Citrus Fruit: not only are citrus fruits a good source of vitamin C, they’re naturally delicious. If fresh fruit is not an option, try frozen – they are just as nutritious and delicious in smoothies, on top of yogurt or cereal. Read the label to make sure they do not come with added salt or sugar.

  • Beans and Legumes: boost your protein and zinc intake by including a variety of beans and legumes in your diet.
  • Nuts and Seeds: a variety of nuts and seeds during cold and flu season help you benefit from vitamin E – a dietary antioxidant that helps in the maintenance of good health.

  • Probiotic foods: probiotic foods like kefir or probiotic yogurt contain probiotic bacteria which may modulate immune function. Eating foods that contain probiotics is preferred to taking probiotic supplements because then you also get the other nutrients in the food, like protein and calcium.

Health Claims:

  • Vitamin A helps to maintain immune function and is a factor in the maintenance of good health.
  • Vitamin B12 and B6 are both factors in the maintenance of good health.
  • Vitamin C and E are antioxidants for the maintenance of good health and a factor in the maintenance of good health.
  • Zinc helps maintain immune function.
  • Protein helps build and repair body tissues and antibodies.
  • Probiotics modulate the intestinal and systemic immune systems

To maintain good health and help combat the Fall Spike we should all try to include these foods in our daily meals.

 TIP – If you are having difficulty introducing healthy but new foods, try ingredients of different colours and textures, adding them to multiple meals to make the family accustomed to eating them.

I urge you to head to your Atlantic Superstore to book an appointment with one of the in-store registered dietitians for lots of helpful information on foods that support good overall and immune health, and while you’re there, visit your in-store pharmacist for your flu shot.

I also want to send out a big thank you to Registered Dietitian, Kara Parsons. She is extremely knowledgeable, super friendly, and went out of her way to be helpful and answer all my questions.

To stay up to date with all the latest news, be sure to follow the #SuperstoreFluCrew and #Fluless hashtags.

Biography — Kara Parsons, RD

Kara’s professional career has taken her to clinical, corporate and community settings. With each opportunity she has risen to the challenges and helped pave the way for those who choose to follow in her footsteps. More recently, with the team of dietitians at Loblaws, Kara is helping lead on new frontiers in the application of food and nutrition science and technology from the farm gate to the table. She is a key contributor to the DC local action group (New Brunswick Dietitians in Action), and regional representative for DC Nutrition Month. Kara’s contributions heighten the profile of the profession illustrating that dietitians are champions of healthy eating skills.





(1).  Johnston SL et al.  The relationship between upper respiratory infections and hospital admissions for asthma: a time-trend analysis. Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 1996 Sep;154 (3 Pt 1):654-60., accessed September 9, 2016.


Disclosure: This post is sponsored in partnership with Atlantic Superstore.  As always, all opinions are our own.


  1. Stephanie LaPlante says

    Yogurt, fruit and roast beef are all foods that boost the immune system. I’d definitely get those.

  2. We eat pretty good through out the year and we do not get take out, and when someone starts to get sick I make a big pot of homemade chicken soup, only the best!

  3. I love a hearty homemade soup on a cold day!

  4. we are big yogurt eaters and fresh fruit eaters !

  5. The go-to food choice in our house is citrus to avoid the Fall Flu Spike. A recent discovery is pomegranate…I cannot tell you how many times regular fruit has returned home from my daughter’s lunchbox but, for some strange reason she just loves eating pomegranate seeds which is perfect!

  6. Judy Brander says

    Home made or chicken noodle soup

  7. We eat mandarins, tangerines and strawberries!

  8. The nutrients in lentils, sweet potato, bell peppers and even sauerkraut can be beneficial, citrus fruit of course.

  9. I eat whole grains, legumes and lots of fresh veggies and fruit

  10. Tara Betterley says

    I love having chicken noodle soup on cold days to help fight off the bugs.

  11. We eat a lot of fruity yogurts, oranges and avocado!

  12. lori galbraith says

    We like to eat a balanced diet to help fight off the flu. We especially drink lots of fluids and fruit.

  13. We try to get more fruit and veggies in, and I hide ginger and garlic in where I can.

  14. we like to eat lots of veggies and oranges and apples

  15. Anne Taylor says

    We eat tons of veggies and fruit! We also get the flu shot and get lots of sleep!

  16. We eat home made soups. and lots of fruit and veggies.

  17. We eat lots of oranges and lemons, garlic, fresh greens and lentil soup.

  18. Cathy Oppedisano says

    I hear good things about tofu and sprouts, unpasteurized milk and unpasteurized fruit and veggie juices. I buy freshly pressed juice because of the taste and can’t go back to the processed juice.

  19. We love to eat a lot of fresh fruits and veggies, especially citrus and kiwi.

  20. We love to eat a lot of fruits and veggies. I also use a lot of garlic.

  21. We eat lots of fresh fruit and homemade chicken noodle soup.

  22. We are quite fussy about avoiding processed items and always having a homemade dinner.

  23. Wendy hutton says

    homemade chicken soup is one of our favorites to eat, along with plenty of fresh fruits and veggies

  24. Amy Heffernan says

    Chicken noodle soup and chili!!

  25. Diana Powell says

    I make sure we snack on fresh fruit during the day .

  26. We like to have a variety of soups and oranges.

  27. Florence Cochrane says

    We eat a lot of fruit that contain Vitamin C and soups that contain a lot of veggies.

  28. We eat a lot of broccoli, spinach, yogurt, and oranges. I also have starting taking turmeric supplements and drinking turmeric lattes.

  29. Brenda Penton says

    We like to eat Vitamin C rich foods like citrus, peppers, and broccoli and Vitamin D rich foods like mushrooms.

  30. Our favourite dish to eat is chilli because it is loaded up with immune boosters like tomatoes, bell peppers, garlic, cilantro, and onions.

  31. laura feist says

    a lot of fruit and vegetables

  32. ivy pluchinsky says

    I eat lots of homemade soup, I drink tea and take my vitamins. I also drink orange juice, and drink Kefir as well. I have a low immune system so I try to stay as healthy as I can possibly be.

  33. Our family eats yogurt every day, plus fruits and veggies to boost immunity through the winter season! A spoonful of honey daily too plus good old fashioned chicken soup!

  34. Rosanne Robinson says

    My family likes to eat fresh green leavy vegetables, fruits, homemade soups & stews, & smoothies with Kefir & Greek Yogurt to help fend off the Fall Flu Spike.

  35. My kids and I like to eat lots of veggies and fruit that have lots of vitamin c

  36. Tricia Cooper says

    We try to get in lots of vegetables and fruits, especially the citrus fruits!

  37. I love kefir smoothie and eat lots of oranges

  38. Hot oatmeal and yogur.

  39. I eat 1 cup of black beans daily, lots of green vegetables, salmon or chicken and squashes, sweet potatoes and various fruits.

  40. Lots of fruits and vegetables homemade soups with beans

  41. We eat as much fresh food as we can and I like to make homemade soups and stews!

  42. We like homemade soups and stews.

  43. Jennifer Lucas says

    oranges apples brocolli and water

  44. We like to eat lots of oranges and chicken noodle soups to fend off colds and flu.

  45. We eat lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, yogurt and fish.

  46. Debbie White Beattie says

    We eat a lot of vegetables and fruit like apples, oranges, raspberries, broccoli, cauliflower, and carrots. Plus we love nuts and seeds like pine nuts pumpkin seeds etc. I also try to do most of the meals homemade with little processed foods.

  47. We like to eat lots of citrus fruit (mainly oranges/clementines) to boost our Vitamin C intake and hopefully ward off the flu.

  48. We eat a lot of fruits and veggies and drink lots of water

  49. Cheryl Grandy says

    I drink smoothies made with fruit and leafy green vegetables ( and sometimes kefir), and make soup with lots of vegetables.

  50. Alison Braidwood says

    We always have wild blueberries in the freezer (we live in blueberry country), so we make sure we eat loads in oatmeal/smoothies, etc when cold and flu season hits.

  51. I prepare arroz caldo – a rice and chicken soup cooked with lots of ginger to clear colds and sore throats that often comes with the flu.

  52. We love to eat lots vegetables and fruits. and so much more! I will have to try Kefir nature, didn’t know it was available, I only seen the flavour one and the sugar contain is very high.

  53. We enjoy soups and stews made with lots of beans and lentils. Also grapefruit and oranges for some vitamin sunshine

  54. I make a lot of soups with fresh vegetables and we eat fresh fruit, whole grains, yogurt and a variety of foods to stay healthy.

  55. We drink a lot of fresh orange juice and eat a lot of fruits and veggies :)

  56. We eat a lot of garlic and onions and drink herbal tea with honey. I also make a lot of soups and stews in winter

  57. We eat lots of veggies and fruits. Oranges are great…lots of vitamins

  58. lots of fresh fruits and veggies. thanks

  59. I drink tea and gobble up thse vitamn c & d that I have..right now I have an ear ache and the right side of my throat hurts so I’m also drinking neo citrin

  60. Plenty of fruits and vegetables and some lemon tea

  61. I try to eat food with Vitamin C such as oranges.

  62. fruits, veggies and soup

  63. I’ve been making soups the last couple of years, using lots of red peppers and herbs from my garden.

  64. We have increased our vit D since the days are shorter now. Adding stews with a lot of beans to our nightly meals. A lot of good reminders you’ve given me. Flu shots are done too … hopefully no flu this year

  65. Our family loves fruits, veggies and nuts!!

  66. To fend off the Fall Flu Spike we like to eat a lot of fruit, veggies, and we like to make hearty soups that have a lot of antioxidants and vitamins (like lentil soup, chicken noodle, etc).

  67. Lots of fruit and veggies , soups and warm comfort foods like chilli

  68. Jennifer P. says

    For us we’re mostly about using fruit such as oranges, grapefruit, and blueberries, as well as almonds and homemade soups like chicken noodle.



  70. tammy harrison says

    we like to eat lots of oranges and homemade soups

  71. kathy downey says

    Homemade chicken noodle and lots of oranges!

  72. We try to eat lots of fruits & veggies, orange juice, and yogurt with probiotics. We love homemade soups this time of year packed full of veggies!

  73. We stick to real foods and I amp up garlic this time of year.. mainly because I love it though :)

  74. Mary Boudreau says

    We eat our normal diet which contains lots of fresh fruit and veggies.

  75. My husband has recently lost 55lbs. We eat tons of fresh fruits/vegetables. I use flax and hemp seeds in a lot of my recipes.

  76. Home made chicken soup .

  77. We love soups and lots of fruit and veggies

  78. We all love our veggies, both cooked and uncooked! Hearty soups throughout the winter season seem to help us out some!

  79. Elizabeth Matthiesen says

    I eat fruit daily, at a minimum an orange/day ad take my vitamins daily. I also get my flu shot yearly too. A combination that seems to work for me.

  80. Bananas are often a go to.

  81. Lots of yogurt and citrus fruits.

  82. Vivian Dionne says

    We eat lots of fruits, especially oranges as part of our regular diet.

  83. We try to eat lots of leafy greens

  84. lots of fruit and vegetables

  85. lots of fruit/vegg smoothies

  86. Citrus fruits, greens & garlic…along with plenty of water.

  87. Andrea Williams says

    I like lots of salads, nuts and plenty of water.

  88. We try to eat as many fresh fruits and veggies that we can get locally in winter as well as drink lots of water.

  89. Kelley Moore says

    We eat alot more oranges to get the extra vitamin c

  90. Robyn Bellefleur says

    We eat lots of fruits and veggies and yogurt with breakfast.

  91. chicken noodle soup and oranges!

  92. caroline m. says

    We add lots of turmeric to our food. We rub oil of oregano on our chests and feet to help us clear our lungs.

  93. Lots of homemade soups loaded with vegetables and of course some garlic.

  94. Chicken soup helps ward off the flu.

  95. We eat a lot of grapefruit, oranges, yogurt and homemade vegetable soup.

  96. we enjoy some home made chicken soups with a tasty broth

  97. We like to eat lots of fruits and vegetables as well as soup!

  98. Angela September Smith says

    we eat a little bit of raw garlic on a daily basis and so far it has helped us very well for years!

  99. We love to eat citrus fruits,garlic, chia seeds in yogurt,lots of fruit and vegetables.We also love to drink lots of lemon infused water everyday.

  100. Wendy Jensen says

    We tend to eat about the same throughout the year to try to stay healthy. Fresh fruits and vegetables. Chicken soup if we are feeling low.

  101. Garlic, soups, hearty stews!

  102. Make a nice homemade soup to heal the soul and body

  103. loves fruits, veggies and nuts!!

  104. Rebecca Roberts says

    We love to eat hearty homemade soups and stews to keep us warm and healthy!

  105. Klydra Pugh says

    Lots of our favorite fruits, veggies and nuts and strawberry kefir.
    Thanks for the chance.

  106. In my family, we eat a lot of ginger and garlic in our foods to combat the fall flu spike.

  107. Lots of vegetables, and oranges!

  108. Brad Kinchen says

    Lots of citrus fruits.

  109. We eat congee and curries with ginger slices and lots of fruit.

  110. we eat a lot of fruit, ginger and garlic to ward off sickness!

  111. Jenny Major says

    I love a homemade soup on a cold day

  112. LILLIAN BROWN says

    We like home made soup, yogurt, oranges and fresh vegetables to keep our immune system up

  113. Taylor Charlton says

    My kids and i like to snack on trail mix :)

  114. I keep meaning to try kefir, I’ve been hearing so much about it. We do our best to stay hydrated with lots of water and get in our fruits with vitamin C to fend off colds!

  115. I don’t really cook with the intention of warding off the fall flu but I suppose that eating healthy, home cooked meals will help with that! I make lots of chilis, soups, stews – comfort food at it’s finest, yum!

  116. I’ve been eating plant-based meals as I love them and they contain most of the nutrients that our bodies need. I got a 5 pounds of clementines from Walmart, have pulses and beans in my pantry, coconut yogurt in my fridge and nuts & seeds in my snack area.

  117. We like to eat apples, oranges and tangerines, greens like spinach and of course garlic to help keep the flu away.

  118. Brenda Witherspoon-Bedard says

    We eat tons of veggies and fruit!

  119. We eat oranges, greens and stay hydrated!

  120. Shane smith says

    we try and eat lots of fruits and vegetables to keep our immunities strong

  121. Nicole Jubleew says

    We like to eat lots of soups and stews brimming with veggies and lentils.

  122. Karla Sceviour says

    I make lots of healthy heart soups and stews for my family,and make sure we are drinking OJ and getting enough vitamin C!

  123. I like to drink honey lemon tea

  124. We eat ton sof fresh fruit & veggies!

  125. We have Apples and Peanut Butter as snacks and make a lot of soups for quick meals

  126. I serve my family lentils weekly, it has become the number one staple in my kitchen.
    We are also strong believers in from scratch cooking.

  127. We always have chicken noodle soup, and chicken stock on hand

  128. Jenn Beckett jennpup says

    Tzatziki with extra garlic! Dip our veggies in it!

  129. Lots of fresh fruits and veggies, especially oranges (which is easy for my 8-year-old son, but my 10-year-old daughter has gotten increasingly picky about her fruits)

  130. we have fruits and soups

  131. BobbiJo Pentney says

    Citrus fruits help us to fight of colds and flus.

  132. Oranges, eggs, toast, and peanut butter!

  133. SUMMER PLEWES says

    We try to eat home cooked heartier meals with lots of veggies and nutrients.

  134. Juliee Fitze says

    We eat lots of fruit and veggies to help fight off the flu.

  135. Gillian Morgan says

    We eat a lot of vegetables and fruits.

  136. homemade chicken noodle soup!

  137. Jennifer Ann Wilson says

    We love to eat as many fresh foods as possible and if we happen to have a bug go through the house, we resort to our old standby chicken noodle soup.

  138. nicolthepickle (Nicole Graham) says

    We eat a lot of mandarin oranges, and put honey on our bagels at breakfast time.

  139. Doris Humber says

    We like to eat vegetable soup.

  140. Elva Roberts says

    The most important item is getting a flu shot. Then eat many green and other vegetables; also, many fruits, including citrus, berries and other fruits. Protein is important as is some fibrous cereals.

  141. We eat pretty healthy. Green smoothies for breakfast, and colourful lunches and dinners. It’s really important to get tons of different nutrients through fruits and veggies so we do that.

  142. We love to eat lots of fruits and veggies (well the kids like fruit much much more then the veggies!)

  143. Lots of citrus fruits

  144. Caryn Coates says

    We all love Chicken Noodle soup when we are trying to fend off a flu or cold

  145. have hearty soups and bulk up on the fruits and veggies

  146. More fruits, soups and stews are great in the winter time.

  147. More fruits, veggies, soups and stews are great during the cold weather. Chicken noodle is a favorite when we’re feeling like we might be coming down with a flue or cold,

  148. Just try to keep a balanced diet and up my vitamin C.

  149. I like to add vitamin C — we do with by adding citrus daily.

  150. Carey Hurst says

    Drink a lot of water , that builds a foundation to keep a lot of ailments away. We add vitamins and fresh squeezed orange juice.

  151. Elizabeth R says

    We eat lots of citrus to get our vitamin C and drink lots of water.

  152. We eat a lot of fresh fruit and veggies. We also drink a lot of water

  153. Eva Mitton-Urban says

    Never fail – old school passed down generation to generation – Homemade Chicken Soup – KEEP INGREDIENT – “Rosemary Sprig”

  154. kristen visser says

    We love to eat beef stew, chicken noodle soup and tomato soup

  155. Christine R says

    We eat oranges for the vitamin C!

  156. lynn clayton says

    chicken noodle and orange smoothies are a big hit in my house

  157. We eat tons of veggies and fruits.

  158. bone broth soups

  159. Elizabeth Robinson says

    We eat more oranges.

  160. We generally try and eat a balanced diet with lots of meat alternatives like sprouted lentils and homemade sauerkraut. We love clementines and they’re coming into season! Besos Sarah.

  161. We love fruits and also raw vegetables. That is our go to snacks.

  162. We drink a lot of tea and eat hearty vegetable filled soups to try to fight off the flu. We also add garlic and oregano to as any of our meals as we can. It makes for a lot of delicious fall eating!

  163. We eat lots of oranges and yogurt and nuts to stay healthy and also take multi-vitamins!

  164. We like good old chicken noodle soup, and orange juice. Thanks for the chance. :)

  165. We eat a lot of smoothies in winter and oranges! :)

  166. Belinda McNabb says

    homemade veggie soup for us

  167. Amanda Fontaine says

    Honestly, i have never really looked at it like that. I dont ever just make food to fend things off. Not consciously anyways. I do have all of us take our vitamins and extra vitamin d.

  168. Chicken noodle soup!

  169. We eat soups.

  170. we eat a lot of homemade soups and lots of fruit

  171. Homemade soups and stews.

  172. Nattie Hartford says

    We have homemade kefir smoothie every morning with fresh orange, blueberries and greens – power food! Also lots of homemade soups and stews with homemade stock.

  173. Christine D says

    Lots of smoothies and fresh ingredients! Veggie broth and Chicken broth/soups!

  174. Erica Seaman says

    We love to eat lots of healthy foods including pink grapefruit and we sprinkle cinnamon on a lot of food.

  175. Chicken noodle or chicken rice soup

  176. We eat a lot of soup over the winter months. And I try to get fresh fruits and salads in the mix, too!

  177. Definitely lots of citrus!

  178. Keri Tischart says

    I believe the earth gives us everything we need to fight and avoid disease. Great article!

  179. I try to feed our family a balanced diet, keep surfaces clean and keep hands washed to help wars off the flu. We like homemade chicken noodle soup when we are sick. Thanks!

  180. We tend to eat a lot of oranges at this time of the year.

  181. I’m not that good. haha I think about what we’re eating once we’re ALREADY sick (and then it’s soothing soup and herbal teas with honey for me!)

  182. I love adding lemon and lime slices to my water. I also but chia seeds with added probiotics.

  183. We eat lots of citrus fruits and bell peppers!

  184. I make a lot of homemade soups through flu season. Great way to incorporate beans & legumes into our diets. I like the suggestion of using frozen citrus fruit in smoothies!! Thanks!

  185. Scott MacMillan says

    Vegetable soups made in our slow cooker.

  186. We eat a lot more citrus to fight colds and flus

  187. MOHAMMAD ANJUM says

    love a hearty homemade chicken soup in winter

  188. Linda Svarovsky says

    Chicken soup,is a favourite to fend off the flu.

  189. Jennifer L. says

    We eat lots of fresh foods, like fruit and veggies, and homemade soups.

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