At some point, your child is likely to go through a picky eating stage. It is very common for kids and toddlers to go through a phase where they only want to eat a certain type of food and they’ll want it every day of the week. Popular ‘kid’ foods typically include mac and cheese, chicken nuggets, and spaghetti Os. While these aren’t necessarily bad foods, they lack in nutrition compared to other options.
You can encourage your child’s healthy appetite by frequently offering better options. Super foods are generally any food that promotes health and/or may be rich in antioxidants or other disease-fighting nutrients. Here’s a look at 10 super food choices you can offer your child for optimal nutrition.
We all know that eggs are an excellent source of protein, but did you know that they are also a natural source of Vitamin D. This nutrient helps your body absorb calcium and is added to many foods such as cereal. Starting your child’s day with a good source of protein will help them stay full longer omitting those cravings for mid-morning snacks.
Oatmeal offers many benefits to adults and children. They are a natural source of whole grains and fiber that help you focus better and feel full longer. Plain oatmeal may not seem too appealing to many children, but there are healthier alternatives to loading it with sugar. Adding fruit is a healthy way to amp up their oatmeal and it’s much better than the flavored variety packs. Some options you can try adding are diced apples and cinnamon (which is also a super healthy spice), diced peaches, or mash up a banana and add some raisins.
We all know how good fruit is for you, but they are also considered super foods. Mix it up and offer different fruits to your child each day such as kiwi, raspberries, melon, and mangos. Blueberries are very rich in antioxidants, but if you don’t like the fact that it stains easily (and anyone with kids know they are stain magnets!) you can freeze them and make delicious smoothies mixing in other yummy frozen fruits.
There is nothing nutty about nuts. They are a great source of the healthy fats kids need to nurture their healthy growth and development. Peanut butter is a really great kid-friendly option for serving up nuts to young kids. You can also sneak in heart-healthy almonds into a batch of delicious oatmeal cookies.
Packed with lycopene, tomatoes are an exceptional vegetable for its cancer-preventing properties and no, ketchup does not count. As part of a healthy snack, try offering cherry and yellow tomatoes. These smaller, bite-sized varieties are easier for kids to eat. If your child is hesitant about eating raw tomatoes you can provide a healthy source by sneaking them into sauces.
6.) Low Fat Greek Yogurt
Yogurt provides a great source of calcium and healthy bacteria that aid in digestion and improve immunity, but you’re better off skipping the kid-targeted brands (think, Trix and Gogurt) that contain added sugar and artificial food coloring. Instead, go for Greek yogurt which contains less sugar and three times the protein as regular yogurt. For children over the age of 1 you can add honey or agave nectar to sweeten or sneak it into a fruit smoothie for a creamy treat.
Along with other cruciferous vegetables, cabbage is high in cancer-fighting phytonutrients as well as rids the body of toxins. You can offer cabbage to your child by making your own version of coleslaw using low-fat mayo and other healthy add-ins such as raisins.
More specifically wild salmon, which has lower levels of mercury and greater levels of heart-healthy omega-3s, is great super food for children as it improves brain development. There are various ways salmon can be prepared to your family’s liking.
9.) Black Beans
Beans are great super foods that you can serve up in a multitude of ways. In particular, black beans provide a great source of protein as well as fiber and calcium. The darker they are the better their heart-healthy properties. There are many ways you can prepare black beans to serve to your child. Add them to nachos, tacos, or quesadillas, salads, black-bean hummus, even brownies!
This is a very healthy herb that is loaded with vitamins and nutrients like vitamin A, C, and K, calcium, potassium, and iron! You can easily add basil to many prepared dishes by grinding and adding to sauces or soups, or use it on baked chicken or fish.
Many of these super foods can easily be added to a variety of dishes. Adding these foods in addition to healthy grains, protein, fruits and vegetables are all part of a balanced healthy diet for you and your family. Have a delicious recipe you have tried with one of these items? We would be happy for you to share in a comment 🙂