It’s a fact of life: Chips, cupcakes and lots of other not-so-nutritionally-noble foods are going to find their way into your child’s mouth. A lot of kids don’t eat anything that didn’t come out of a pizza or pasta box. But that’s all the more reason to make sure the meals you serve up are packed with good stuff. If you’ve got a toddler, here are a few power foods that pack a big nutritional punch.
Sweet potatoes: They provide potassium, vitamin C, fibre, and beta-carotene—an antioxidant that prevents certain types of cancer and mops up free radicals. When cooked and mashed, they can also make a smooth puree that's easy to eat, even for babies who are just starting to transition their diet to solid foods.
Eggs: They offer protein, and they're one of the few foods that naturally contain vitamin D, which helps the body absorb calcium. Including protein in their breakfast helps kids feel satisfied longer, too. (No mid-morning hunger pangs).
Broccoli: A true superfood for babies, thanks to high amounts of vitamin C, beta-carotene, folic acid, iron, potassium, and fibre. If your baby isn't too inclined towards the taste of broccoli, mix it with a sweet-tasting vegetable, such as sweet potato or butternut squash.
Berries: Serve up these colourful, tasty, nutrient-packed superfoods to your kids every day (Go, antioxidants!) In addition to protecting against heart disease, diabetes and improving brain function, they also help increase your metabolism. They're a natural go-with breakfast choice (Say, tossed into a bowl of granola and milk.) and are also great in summer salads.
Tofu: Whole soy foods are an excellent source of lean protein and have potent anti-cancer benefits. Dice and toss tofu into stir-fries or soups, or have it lightly tossed, whatever works for your child.
Beans: Beans are a great source of protein, as well as fibre and calcium—two things kids tend not to get enough of. The darker the colour, the better they are. They also help guard against heart disease and high cholesterol. Make nachos or quesadillas with black beans, cheese and salsa; try black-bean veggie burgers, or whip up black-bean hummus.
Basil: Does your kid freak out at the sight of little green flecks in his food? Welcome to the club! Grind basil up superfine and hide it in sauces, soups, and curries. This herb is packed with antioxidants—vitamins A, C and K—as well as iron, potassium and calcium and can help improve digestion.
Cinnamon: This spice can help regulate blood sugar, which minimises the all-too-common mid-morning energy crashes/meltdowns. Whether you sprinkle it on morning cereal, oatmeal, pancakes, or yoghurt. Make a superfood duo by adding a dash of cacao as well!
All set to stock up on your kids’ next favourite bites?