Having trouble getting your kids to eat healthy? You’re not alone, and we know how frustrating it can be when your child is resistant to the foods you’re trying to nourish them with. Thankfully, there are a number of healthful ingredients that, once identified, can easily be incorporated into home recipes that even the pickiest eater is sure to love. Consider this a point of entry into teaching your child about nutrition and expanding their palette to welcome nutrient-dense foods.
When you package these superfood hits into a child’s menu, you can be sure its a surefire way of giving them the nutrients they need and show them great nutrition is just around the corner:
This superfood packs in vitamins A, C and K, iron, potassium and calcium– kids can grow their own basil at home. toss it on pasta sauces or pizza! Its rich in plant chemicals, chlorophyll and other happy mood plant compounds.
Add cocoa powder and honey to kefir for a healthy quick breakfast for kids who won’t sit still to eat a meal. Or a cup of hot cocoa (at least 70 percent pure cocoa) promotes oral health and helps to protect delicate skin from sun damage over time. You can also sprinkle cocoa powder on fruit, snacks and desserts for a healthy punch of flavor. Plant chemicals and antioxidants increase concentration and decrease inflammation!
Adults aren’t the only ones who suffer from high cholesterol, they just get checked more often than kids. Black beans help kids keep cholesterol levels down and provide plenty of calcium and protein to boot. Make a tasty black bean dip with some fresh veggies for a fun snack.
This superfood is great sprinkled on breakfast foods. it regulates blood sugar, which will keep energy from crashing after breakfast in the middle of a school day, tastes great and is so easy to use. Its natural sweetness is a plus and goes with so many foods and beverages!
Avocados are full of good fat. Kids need a daily diet of 30% monosaturated fat and a little avocado a day provides more than enough. Use it like ordinary mayo for a great mix-in to creamy dips and sauces or sliced fresh for an afternoon snack. Guacamole is a no brainer for kids!
Here’s a switch: a tomato a day can help keep cancer away. That’s right, the plant verision of vitamin A can fight off all kinds of stressors and the potassium they contain helps to boost energy and stabilize hydration. In season, tomatoes are amazing with basil and olive oil or lightly sautee for a very tasty sauce for pasta, fish or veggies!
A sweet spot you don’t want to ignore, kids have a natural liking for fruit and its energy boosting plus. Encouraging eating fruit curbs drinking sugary beverages and snacks. Go for seasonal fun and plan a harvesting trip to a local orchards or bring your kiddies to the local green grocers to pick out what they want. A variety of colors provides kids with essential vitamins and minerals they need to grow and fiber to keep their bodies healthy. Introduce your kids to a daily fruit plate at a young age and they will probably continue the habit into adulthood.
These orange tubers are high in Vitamin A which helps kids develop healthy vision and eyes. And they’re delicious roasted, mashed or baked. For an amazing marshmallow flavor, use vanilla extract and honey for a not to be missed sweet treat.
Flaxseed is bursting with Omega-3 fatty acids that little guys need to grow their brains to their full potential. Buy it ground and sprinkle it over their cereal or add 1/4 cup to their favorite baked-good recipe. They’ll get better nutrition without even knowing it.
Kids who start their day with oatmeal concentrate better in school all day. oatmeal breaks down slowly to give continual bursts of energy over a long period of time. Add honey, nuts or chocolate chips to make it more kid-friendly, for a great way to use oatmeal be sure to check out the recipe section for a granola receipe the whole family will love.
Nicolette M. Pace MS, RDN, CDE, CBC, CDN, CFCS, FAND: Nicolette founded NutriSource Inc. in 2002 to provide high quality education, counseling and nutrition services for a diverse community population. Prior to founding NutriSource Inc, she served as Director of Clinical Nutrition at the NYHQ/Silvercrest Center where she provided both administrative and direct care for sub-acute and chronically ill patients. Nicolette was a key member of performance improvement projects and as Chair of the Nutrition Committee; significant positive changes were made in the standard of care.