The tell-tale signs are all around us: coughing, sniffling, and kids and colleagues taking sick days. It’s flu season, gang.

Flu season is from November to March, but fall is the best time to get vaccinated as protection can last roughly six months.

If you want to stay #Fluless, there are a number of ways to tackle it. The National Advisory Committee on Immunizations recommends everyone get a flu shot, but it is especially important for at risk individuals (elderly, children, pregnant women, and people with chronic medical conditions).

Still, getting the flu shot is just one piece. Keeping your body’s immune system in top shape is a key defense to avoid getting sick.

I spent some time with Whitney, a Registered Dietitian at Loblaws City Market to get the ins and outs on other things we need to know about staying healthy through the winter.

whitney at loblaws

Making an appointment to see your dietitian is easy. Loblaw Registered Dietitians are available at various Loblaw stores across the country. Check online to find a Registered Dietitian near you.

The most important thing I learned is that flu season is NOT the time to go on a drastic diet. If our bodies were to notice a change in calories, our metabolism would slow, which puts stress on the body making us .. you guessed it .. susceptible to flu!

So, instead of radically changing things, it’s best to have a consistent plan that you implement year round. You know, a balanced diet where your plate is filled 1/2 with vegetables, 1/4 with grains, and 1/4 with proteins. Proteins build and repair our cells, whole grains are great for digestion, while vegetables bring along vitamins and zinc.

After chatting for a bit in her office, Whitney took me for a walk around her store.

The first thing she did was dispel the guilt anyone might have about bag salads being bad. She loves them (I do too). They’re quick, they’re easy, everything you need is right there, and if there’s a better way to have vegetables become fast food, she hasn’t seen it.

We need to eat our veggies, and if having them precut, prewashed, and ready-to-go makes more of us have them, she’s all for it.

Then Whitney walked me over to a part of the produce section I had never seen before. It’s a big book with nutrition information for all the things lying loose in the baskets. Apples, pears, onions, and .. corn.

We all know about the nutritional information labels on the boxes of pizza or bags of chips, but what about the good stuff for us? This book breaks everything down telling you carbs, proteins, sodium, etc.

Here’s a good rule of thumb for these nutrition guides: more than 15% of your daily intake of something is a lot (that can be good or bad depending what it is), less than 5% of your daily intake of something isn’t significant.

See how that knowledge plays on this pizza box. There’s a lot of vitamin C in there, but lots of sodium too. And remember, that’s just for 1 slice! Could you stop at one slice?

Spending an hour with Whitney really had me get my head wrapped around all the healthy habits that I knew I had to follow, but really hadn’t thought about for a while.

Getting on the right track with a colourful, balanced diet is a great way to attack the flu season.

Here are some other ways to strengthen your immune system:

Get adequate sleep (at least 7 hours a night)

Drink plenty of water (at least 8 glasses a day)

Practice good hygiene (singing Happy Birthday while you wash your hands is the right amount of time)

Most importantly, get vaccinated! 70% – 90% of flu cases can be averted through vaccination. Spending a few minutes could save you 14 days of misery! Loblaws City Market makes it easy by offering in-store Registered Dietitians to get nutrition tips and your flu shot.

If you’re a little needle shy for getting a shot, I have a foolproof way of getting my flu shot: don’t look. I look the opposite direction of the needle so I have no idea when it’s going to happen.

Sure, I squirm and squint a little (a lot), but in the end it’s worth the big smile for getting the deed done.

BUT .. I got it done! Mix in the knowledge I got from Whitney and I’m prepared to be #Fluless this season. How about you!?

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This post is sponsored. I’m part of the #SuperstoreFluCrew this season. Get your shot and be #Fluless!

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