Super Foods for Toddlers – My Top 5
Why super foods for toddlers? Well, first of all, nothing is more important than your child’s health. In this article I’ll describe five great super foods for toddlers and beyond. Proper development of their growing bodies requires specific vitamins and minerals, healthy fats, protein and carbohydrates. Getting children to eat healthy can be a challenge. Because children fill up quickly, it is very important that every bite is packed full of nutrients that their bodies can utilize.
These super-foods are simple to add to any meal and can make a big difference in nutritional value. They won’t change the flavour of the food, meaning your kids probably won’t complain or refuse! Starting super-foods when your kids are young will increase your chances of a flexible, open-minded eater. Here are 5 of my favourite super-foods for kids that are full of great nutrients that will boost their immune systems and improve digestive function. They can help balance blood sugar, meaning better behavior and mood, and will help them stay healthy and prevent illness.
Even just a little bit over time can add up to great benefits in the long run.
1. Hemp Seeds
This seed contains all 8 essential amino acids. Amino acids are protein and protein is essential for every metabolic process in the body. Protein helps balance blood sugar, stabilizing mood and helping to ward off tantrums. Protein is also essential for hormone production and hormone balancing. These little tasteless seeds can be put into oatmeal, yogurt, baby food, a smoothie and can be added into just about any hot meal. Putting them into a blender first to grind them up will make them even easier to absorb and harder to detect by those pickier eaters.
2. Chia Seeds
Chia seeds are the richest plant source of Omega 3 fatty acids; they are high in antioxidants, soluble fiber and protein. They are food for the brain that help control hyperactivity and balance blood sugar in children as well as benefit the digestive system by helping to make bowel movements more regular. You can buy these seeds already ground and then add them to yogurt, oatmeal, baby food, cereal, pasta sauce, soups etc.
Cinnamon contains Calcium, iron, fiber, vitamin C, vitamin K and Manganese. This spice has a sweet delicious taste making it very easy to add into any cookie or muffin recipe. Sprinkle some on a baked sweet potato or on some apple slices or into your child’s applesauce, increasing nutrient intake and taste. Choose organic cinnamon to get the most benefits from this “wonder food”.
4. Dark Leafy Greens
Dark Leafy Greens like spinach, chard and kale, are rich in magnesium and calcium, have high amounts of Vitamin K, A, C as well as many other vitamins and minerals and of course fiber. Their benefits are numerous some of which include keeping your bowels regular and therefore a healthier digestive system as well as supporting bone health. These powerful greens are full of antioxidants that help strengthen the immune system and fight illness. These are easier than you think to add into your child’s diet. Grind up some raw leaves and you will have beautiful green sprinkles to add to any meal you prepare for your child, including sauces, soups and even baby food. You can throw a handful of green leaves into your next smoothie and even hide the colour with this next superfood: Cacao.
Cacao is raw chocolate. Cacao powder is made from raw chocolate and has 20 times more antioxidants than green tea! It also has: chromium and other minerals as well as essential fatty acids. Helping to build bone density and balancing blood sugar are just two of the many health benefits cacao has. Use cacao instead of cocoa in recipes and add some to a smoothie, it will give the smoothie a wonderful chocolate taste and colour (to hide the greens)! It is bitter, just like cocoa, so you may need an extra bit of fruit or all natural maple syrup (or whatever you use) to sweeten your smoothie.
Don’t be discouraged if it seems like you are just adding in a little bit here and there: a pinch of cinnamon or a sprinkle of chia seeds goes a long way. Start with one or two super-foods and keep trying new ones. Even just a little bit over time can add up to great benefits in the long run.
Here’s a great article on Your Children Eating Healthy Fats.