When I think of super foods and kids, I think of nutrient-rich whole foods that provide your child with important fats, protein, vitamins and minerals to help them grow. While it is true, specific foods can be considered ‘super’ for their nutrient value, and some are exotic, there are also many super foods you probably already have in your fridge! Keep it simple when making family meals and include these healthy super foods because a healthy family raises healthy kids!
Fruits and Vegetables
Yes, this is a group but it is comprised of such fabulous stuff. Whether it is the antioxidants in berries, the fibre of apples, the phytochemicals in sweet potatoes, lycopene rich tomatoes, or the unsaturated fats of an avocado, fruits and vegetables are a bountiful supply of nutrients your child needs to grow and be healthy. Start here and make them a part of every meal and snack.
A great source of protein and bone building calcium, try the unflavoured variety to decrease the sugar content and add some of your own yummy fruit to make it sweet. For extra benefit, choose one of the many varieties of yogurt available with acidophilus to help promote healthy digestion.
Research continues to show us the benefits of our friends in the ocean. Omega 3 rich fish such as salmon, mackerel, and trout are important for brain development, heart health and inflammation. Perhaps a salmon sandwich or homemade fish cakes may be something your kids would enjoy. Try for a fish meal 2x per week to get the DHA/EPA benefits of Omega 3 fats.
Whole Grain Bread
To be honest, whole grain anything. Start early with whole grain bread with your children and they will know no different. Move beyond the bread to fibre rich oats, brown rice, whole grain pasta and quinoa to get the benefits of more fibre and added protein for longer lasting energy to enjoy the day.
One egg contains an amazing amount of nutrition. The gold standard in protein plus more than a dozen other vitamins and minerals, eggs are a source of choline – an important nutrient for brain development. For extra nutrition, try the omega 3 variety.
Think beyond peanut butter. There are a variety of nuts and nut butters including walnuts and almonds available today. Nuts are made up of healthy fats that children need for growth and development, as well as for heart health. Having a little bit of “good” fat and protein throughout the day gives your children that extra fuel to keep them going.
A nutrient-rich food, beans contain protein, complex carbohydrates, fiber, antioxidants, and important vitamins and minerals, such as iron. They are a great addition to a child’s diet. Try adding beans to a wrap, soup, pasta sauce or chili. Bean dips are a great way to spice up raw veggies for an afterschool snack.