It’s hard for us adults to keep away from junk food and sweets. Obviously, keeping kids away from such treats is going to be a tough task.
But keeping your child away from junk food is not all that’s necessary. It’s equally important for you to make sure you’re feeding him the right things.
Here are seven super-foods that you can easily source and that will do wonders for your child’s health.
Steel-cut, instant, or rolled- whatever you prefer, all types of oats are good for health. Oats are rich in fiber and have a low amount of fat content. They are also rich in iron, calcium, potassium, and vitamin A, and have small amounts of niacin, thiamin, riboflavin, and magnesium present.
The high fiber content of oats helps kids feel full for longer and also improves bowel movement. As oats have a low Glycemic Index, they are less likely to be stored as fat, thus reducing the risk of juvenile diabetes, heart disease, and pediatric obesity.
Oats have more protein and fewer carbohydrates than other whole grains and are believed to help reduce the risk of asthma in children. Furthermore, sugary cereals can cause the blood-sugar levels to rise and fall dramatically, thereby affecting mood, concentration, and memory. On the other hand, oats are absorbed slowly and the gradual rise in blood-sugar levels keeps kids energetic up to lunch time.
By opting for oats and making sure you're not buying sweetened ones, you can be sure that your little one is eating right. Even if you’re picking freebies samples, take note of the nutritional information.
If your kid doesn't love eating oats, you can add honey; skim milk; dried fruit such as apricots, raisins, or cranberries; nuts; or fresh fruit like bananas or apples to enhance the taste of oatmeal.
Yogurt is a perfect balance of all things good. It has protein, carbohydrates, fats, and essential minerals. Moreover, it's densely packed with nutrients. Such foods are important for kids as they have small tummies and you'd want them to get as many nutrients as possible even if they eat a small amount of food.
Additionally, yogurt is much easier to digest than milk. As it is cultured, it helps boost immunity and aid digestion. It also helps your child absorb vitamins and minerals better.
This simple food is not only a hit with adults but kids too. Eggs are easy to cook and you can make them in many ways. You can also incorporate vegetables into egg recipes like quiches for a complete meal.
Eggs are densely packed with nutrients and though they have lesser calories packed in, they are a rich source of amino acids that are essential for your child's growth. Eggs are also loaded with other vital nutrients like vitamin D, vitamin B12, choline, and selenium.
Amino acids in eggs are important for growth and they are the building blocks of hormones, tissues, skin, and more. Choline helps in brain development, and vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium. In addition to this, an egg or two for breakfast will keep your little one feeling satisfied and full for longer.
Beans and Lentils
Beans and lentils are great sources of proteins for kids who don't eat meat. These foods are also high in fiber and have a low Glycemic index, and will thus keep your kid's mood and energy levels stabilized. Beans are also rich in calcium and help reduce the risk of cholesterol and heart diseases.
If you're buying canned beans, drain and rinse them to get rid of excess salt. You can also make your own beans. It's not that difficult to get kids to eat beans, but if you have a picky eater, use them mashed, in soups or stews, or use beans to make nachos or quesadillas, veggie burgers, burritos, hummus, etc.
Nuts and Seeds
Kids are bound to reach for unhealthy items like fries or soda whenever they feel hungry. Encourage your child to snack on some nuts and seeds instead. Sure, they are rich in fats too, but nuts and seeds are sources of good fats compared to the unhealthy fats found in fried foods.
Nuts and seeds are also rich in fiber, vitamin E, sterols, selenium, and omega-3 fatty acids. All these nutrients promote overall health and reduce the risk of heart and circulatory diseases, and stroke. Nuts and seeds also contain trace amounts of different minerals like copper, manganese, phosphorous, magnesium, etc.
Make sure your kid only eats a handful of nuts or seeds every day. Some nuts and seeds to snack on include walnuts, almonds, pecans, chia seeds, flax seeds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, etc. Note that peanuts aren't real nuts, they are legumes and as such, less nutritious.
You can roast these nuts and seeds or add them to salads or steamed vegetables. You can also treat your kid to nut butters instead of the usual peanut butter. Be sure to pick a jar of unsweetened nut butter (cashew, almond, or blended) when you go grocery shopping next time.
Fatty fish like salmon is the best source of DHA and other omega-3 fatty acids that are an important component of brain cells. These fats can boost brain development, fight depression, and are anti-inflammatory.
Studies show that consumption of oily fish such as salmon lowers the risk of diseases like cancer, asthma, diabetes, Alzheimer's, Macular Degeneration, rheumatoid arthritis, high blood pressure, etc.
Blueberries are what you can call a true super-food. They are rich in anthocyanin, vitamins C and E, flavonoids, iron, and manganese. This fruit is also packed with anti-oxidants and has anti-inflammatory properties.
Make sure your kid eats a handful of this super-fruit at least thrice every week. This shouldn't be tough; blueberries are tasty and can be eaten on their own. You may also want to include a few in your kid's breakfast cereal or along with his favorite dessert.
You don’t have to deprive your kid of comfort food that he loves. But it’s important for him to eat healthy. With this list of super-foods at your fingertips, you’ll be able to ensure your child eats right.