Would your child would eat macaroni and cheese out of a box every day if he could? Children’s palates are pretty limited. Yours may have a handful of favorite foods, and it’s probable that they’re of the sweet, flavored-with-neon-colored-chemicals variety.
Kids generally crave sugary foods in the form of carbohydrates, and bread and pasta are easy go-tos for busy parents. Instead of seeking to “expand their child’s palate”, parents should offer nutritional choices rather than powdered cheese atop of white macaroni noodles. Nutritious doesn’t have to be complicated! Here are 7 superfoods you can feed your kids every day to help them grow up big and strong.
Sure, your kids’ cereal claims to be made of real fruit flavors and packed with vitamins, but it’s also packed with sugar and artificial additives. Oatmeal is a great breakfast alternative. Oats are packed with fiber, nutrients, and they are a low-glycemic carbohydrate, which helps your child feel fuller longer. And oatmeal is incredibly versatile. Have oatmeal and strawberries on Mondays, oatmeal with dark chocolate chips on Tuesday, oatmeal and bananas on Wednesday, and so on. Sweeten with honey or natural syrup. You can even cook oatmeal in the crockpot overnight, making breakfast a breeze.
Kids need protein and healthy fats to grow, and yogurt provides both. Just avoid the kind with fruit already added, as it contains loads more sugar than necessary to make yogurt taste good. Yogurt is even good for kids with lactose intolerance, as the lactose has mostly been turned into lactic acid. Like oatmeal, plain yogurt can be sweetened with fruit, honey, or syrup. Add texture by mixing in granola or make a delicious yogurt smoothie. Frozen yogurt is a great alternative to ice cream on hot summer days. Yogurt is also one of the best probiotic foods there is, which means it’s helping to aid your child’s digestive health.
Chicken is chock-full of protein, rich in nutrients like phosphorus, selenium, and B-vitamins, and it’s beautifully bland, making it a top choice of children everywhere. Serve chicken plain or spruce it up in a casserole: it doesn’t matter, so long as kids are eating it up. Antibiotic-free, free-range chicken is best for kids, or anyone, for that matter.
Blueberries may be the world’s healthiest food. Or at least the world’s healthiest blue food. They’re low in sugar, high in taste, and considered “brain food,” and are packed with cancer-fighting antioxidants. It should also be noted that blueberries pair well with oatmeal and yogurt. Easy to freeze, we suggest you purchase several blueberry bushes and plant them immediately, so your kids can have access to this superfood year round.
If you were stranded on an island, and had to choose one food to eat for the rest of your life, we recommend the avocado. It’s got your fiber, it’s got your protein, it’s got more potassium than a
banana, it’s got those beneficial healthy fats perfect for growing kids’ brains, as well as folate and vitamin C. It’s creamy, delicious, and versatile.
Use it as a dip, in salads, in smoothies, hide it in brownies (really!), or spread it on sandwiches instead of mayonnaise. Once kids get past the green color, they won’t be able to get enough of it. And if the island you’re stranded on happens to produce a mango, good news! Avocados and mangoes pair beautifully together.
Carrots are an especially kid-friendly veggie. They’re an easily portable, crunchy snack, and they make the perfect cooked side dish when you’re serving, say, chicken. The beta-carotene in carrots helps improve vision. Carrots contain lots of fiber, are heart-healthy, and are full of those cancer-fighting antioxidants. Also, they are a natural way of cleaning the teeth. So if your child balks at spending enough time at the sink with his toothbrush, supplement regular cleanings with carrots.
7. Sweet Potatoes
We’ve saved the most delicious among the other superfoods for last. This superfood will satisfy your child’s sweet tooth. Serve ‘em as fries, in a pie, baked, or mashed: sweet potatoes taste like dessert and provide growing kids with the complex carbohydrates they need for energy. Sweet potatoes are also full of fiber, calcium, and iron.