Super foods are whole foods. Kids who eat a lot of whole foods are pretty super!
Whole colorful foods are foods that have not been refined or processed. This gives them an added boast in nutrition and taste as they are pretty close to their original source. I enjoy talking to kids about the difference between whole and processed foods and this past summer, I had a boy in one my classes tell me,
“ Oh, I get whole foods are foods you can pick!”
He nailed it and the rest of the kids got it too. Perfect scenario.
I encourage whole food colorful eating because these foods generally are nutrient dense providing the essential vitamins and minerals, fats, proteins and phytonutrients that people need. Plus, they are usually much tastier and easier to snack on. Creating and incorporating whole colorful foods in your family’s diet is the perfect proactive way to provide essential nutrients that are necessary for healthy growth, healthy immune system and healthy being.
Top 5 super foods for kids:
Purple Peruvian Potato
Why its healthy: This potato is packed with vitamins and minerals, fiber and it also has phytonutrients, phenols, polyphenols and beta carotene which fight off many degenerative diseases.
Simply delicious: A perfect after-school snack. Slice them up, mix with salt, pepper, garlic and olive oil and bake in the oven like a french fry. Any potato recipe can be substituted with this lively vegetable. Try serving it next time in replacement of your oven roasted potatoes.
History: The broccoli was a valuable and favorable vegetable to the Italians; according to the Italians, broccoli is the, “ flowering top of cabbage.” Despite being introduced to North America by Thomas Jefferson, they were not popular until the 1920s.
Why its healthy: Broccoli is packed with fiber, and vitamin A and K which are help keep our vitamin d levels balanced. Broccoli also contains phytonutrient called kaempferol, which may lesson allergy reactions because of its anti-inflammatory properties.
Simply delicious: Before meals, lay out a tray of chopped veggies – broccoli, carrots, celery – with a dipping sauce which could be hummus or a yogurt mix you have made. Let the kids snack on them while you are preparing the meal. If you have a nut lover in the house, mixing lightly steamed broccoli with cashews or almonds can be a real treat.
History: Blueberries are one of the very few fruits native to North America. Native Americans not only ate the berries for their sweet taste but also used the leaves and roots for medicinal reasons and to aid in dying their clothes. Blueberries are Maine’s state berry, in honor of Abijah Tabbutt, who invented the blueberry rake to aid in the picking of blueberries by hand.
Why its healthy: Blueberries providepotassium, fiber, and the phytonutrient, bioflavanoids, which the eyes use for night vision. They are packed with antioxidants which do much in the body to help protect healthy cells from damage.
Simply delicious: Blueberries are usually an easy food to encourage your kids to eat as they are super sweet tasting. Some of my favorite ways to prepare them is adding them to oatmeal, yogurt, baking a blueberry crisp, mixing in a smoothie with peaches and bananas or tossing into salads.
History: Walnut trees gained some notice in historical writings around 2000 BC in Babylon. The trees made their way to Europe and much of North Africa where they became known as the English Walnut tree. They finally made it to Central California in the 1800s by monks who then sold the nuts under the name, “mission walnuts.”
Why its healthy: Walnuts are packed with magnesium, zinc, iron, vitamin b6 a a significant amount of omega -3s which amongst many things, helps in cardiovascular and neural health.
Simply delicious: I like to buy walnuts whole and let the kids crack them open ( this is a great way to keep them occupied before a meal). I also have been known to grind them up and put them in salads, pancakes, yogurt but I also like to mix them up with in a trail mix.
History: Known as the, “Alligator Pear,” by the English who were living in Jamaica as they thought the skin resembled that of an alligator. The avocado is part of the berry family and was officially named by Spanish explorers.
Why its healthy: Creamy, and easy to digest, avocados provide a terrific source of the “good fat” called monounsaturated fat. Monounsaturated fats are an essential part of proper growth and development and enable the absorption of many fat-soluble nutrients. Avocados are also packed with a large variety of nutrients including potassium which is important for good heart health.
Simply delicious: Because of its creamy texture, most kids do enjoy eating avocados. I will cut up the avocado into cubes, and the kids will either eat alone or I will mix the cubes with cilantro and a little splash of lemon, and they will eat with corn chips.
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