The cold and flu season is upon us and this year, sustaining a healthy immune system might be more important than ever before. Nourishing your body with not only healthy foods, but activities and attitudes can help keep your immune system strong. Planning your meals and learning to love what you eat can not only improve your overall health, but can carry you through the winter blues as well. Locally-renowned chef / caterer Gina Trivelli takes a deeper dive into diet, health, and happiness with a few immune boosting tips.

Healthy gut:

Increasing healthy bacteria in your gut (gut microbiome) improves and promotes good digestion by eating probiotic-rich fermented and prebiotic foods. Probiotic foods such as cultured yogurt, kefir, miso, apple cider vinegar, kimchi, lacto-fermented sauerkraut and pickles, kombucha, and probiotic supplements promote healthy digestion as well. Prebiotic-rich foods include garlic, onions, bananas, leeks, asparagus, and raw apple. Try eating a daily amount of a probiotic-rich food.

Healthy dietLet food be thy medicine

Try eating an unprocessed, well-balanced diet abundant in whole foods, fruits, and vegetables that represent all the colors of the rainbow.

It is important to learn to read labels. Limit the purchasing of packaged foods if possible — especially foods with long ingredient lists. Avoid or limit inflammatory foods like sugar, artificial sweeteners, white flour and refined carbohydrates, sugary drinks and soda. Preservatives and chemicals are also things to watch for, try to avoid deep fried and fast foods. When possible eat organic, local, and natural meats, poultry, and produce.

Choose whole grain and whole wheat. Snack on nuts and seeds, and add natural supplements and herbs to your diet to help achieve energy, immunity, and wellness. Eat tons of garlic and onions. Aside from the foods you choose, spend more time cooking. The entire process can prove to be a fun and relaxing activity. Try to eat sitting down and enjoy the experience. Relax and chew your food thoroughly because it’s super important!


This may go without saying for some, but drink plenty of water to stay hydrated! Many Americans find themselves still chronically dehydrated.


Healthy fat consumption: Fight inflammation!

Eat healthy fats such as Omega 3s: fish oils, anchovies, salmon. Other options include walnuts, chia seeds and flax seed oil, avocados, extra virgin olive oil, and pure dark chocolate.


Sleep: Key term – adequate sleep

Sleep is essential and can increase productivity, immunity, and overall well-being.



Be conscious of your stress level and manage it with mindful activities such as yoga, exercise, walking, journaling, breathing, and any other form of mediation.

Take Vitamin C for the cold season and all year round while drinking lots of herbal tea — especially green tea.

Eat antioxidants!



A healthy chuckle can lead to numerous health benefits, relieve stress, encourage blood flow to the heart, build the immune system, and help to promote good moods.

Always laugh when you can, it is cheap medicine. -Lord Byron


Get outside:

Try to be as physically active as possible.

Now I see the secret of making the best person, it is to grow in the open air and to eat and sleep with the earth. -Walt Whitman


Move and listen to music:

Move your body for better cardiac health while lowering your risk of disease. Music and dance can also reduce anxiety and stress, keep your brain engaged, and be a mood lifter.

One good thing about music, when it hits you, you feel no pain. -Bob Marley


Be grateful:

Remind yourself of the things you are grateful for.

Even if you don’t have all the things you want, be grateful for the things you don’t have that you don’t want. -Bob Dylan


Have a positive mindset:

I know it may be hard after the year we’ve all been through, but try thinking positively. Having a positive outlook can ease anxiety and help one persevere through difficult times.


Be forgiving:

Let go of emotional baggage and free yourself!


Have a positive mindset

I know it may be hard after the year we’ve all been through, but try thinking positively. Having a positive outlook can ease anxiety and help one persevere through difficult times.


Be Forgiving

Let go of emotional baggage and free yourself!

To reach Gina for your next catering event, contact her via e-mail at