Give your kids ‘superpowers’ with these 5 superfoods
Incorporating some of these nutritious foods in your kids’ diets is an easy way to build your child’s resilience, wellbeing and brainpower.
Superfoods are essentially just foods which are nutrient-dense; it’s likely you are already using some of them in your diet!
Thanks to science, we now know that both nature and nurture play important roles in the development of children. The environment that you give your kids – including their diet – can have a big impact on their overall wellbeing.
While visiting a nutritionist is always a good idea, especially if your kids are prone to genetic disorders such as anaemia or food allergies, there are some general guidelines that may help you and your kids benefit from a healthier diet. By following these guidelines, you can ensure you’re your kids are enjoying genuinely healthy food that will give them the absolute best start in life.
When you’re armed with the right nutritional knowledge, it’s a lot easier to find quick and healthy dinner ideas that your kids are going to enjoy. If you’re stuck for ideas, here are some healthy HelloFresh ideas that your kids might like, as well as others from Kidspot. Let’s take a look at a few of the most important nutrients kids need and where you can find them.
Essential nutrients for a healthy child
Protein is an important macronutrient which builds and repairs cells and tissues. It also helps to convert food into energy, fight off infections, and carry oxygen throughout the body. Unlike some other nutrients, the body does not store protein, which makes getting enough protein in our diets essential.
Healthy fats are a great source of energy and help support many of the body’s key functions. Try to keep your kids’ diet higher in unsaturated fats than saturated and trans fats. Monounsaturated, polyunsaturated and omega-3 fatty acids are considered healthy in the right doses. Omega-3s are also associated with improved eye and brain health; you’ll find these in fatty fish like salmon.
Dietary fibre – found mostly in raw fruits, vegetables and legumes – is crucial for maintaining good bowel health, maintaining a healthy weight, controlling blood sugar levels (and warding off type 2 diabetes) and lowering cholesterol.
Don’t let the anti-carb trend scare you away from this vital nutrient – carbohydrates are a crucial source of energy. They also help your child’s body utilise proteins and fats properly. There are several different kinds of carbs; try to steer clear of added sugars and refined carbs (which have had their fibre and nutrients removed) like white bread, white flour and pasta. Complex carbs which are rich in starch and fibre (like wholegrains and beans) and have a low glycaemic index are the way to go.
Vitamins and minerals
The most vital of the vitamins are considered to be vitamins A, B, C, D, E, and K. Minerals your kids should be getting in their diet include iron, calcium and zinc. These help with children’s growth and development, and ensure that they have plenty of energy to get through the day.
Top 5 superfoods for kids
We’ve rounded up five of the most nutrient-dense foods that you can easily incorporate into your kids’ diet to boost their wellbeing. Here they are:
Boasting 200% of the daily recommended intake of vitamin A and C, kale is considered a superfood for good reason. It’s also rich in fibre, protein, iron, calcium, magnesium and vitamin B & K. However, if your kids aren’t a fan of kale (and you’ve tried sneaking it in your dishes), spinach is a great alternative. While it doesn’t contain as much vitamin A and C, spinach is richer in fibre, folate, iron and magnesium.
Rich in protein, unsaturated fats, iron, calcium, selenium, choline, lutein and vitamin A, B & D (just to name a few), eggs are nutrient powerhouses which make for a great start to the day. They are highly versatile; you can whip them up into an omelette, or serve them in an egg cup with sliced bread sticks. And the best part? Most kids love them.
Tomatoes are considered to be the best way to get more lycopene in your child’s diet. Lycopene is an antioxidant which protects against free radicals, and is linked to reduced risk of cancer and heart disease. Tomatoes are also an excellent source of potassium, fibre, folate, vitamin C & K.
If your kids aren’t a fan of meat (and even if they are), you should definitely consider adding legumes to their diet. Beans are very high in a range of nutrients, including fibre, complex carbs, protein, iron, magnesium, zinc, and B vitamins. They also have a low glycaemic index and are virtually free of saturated fats. Consider adding kidney beans, chickpeas, lentils or navy beans to your next dinner.
Both delicious and nutritious, salmon is an easy way to get more omega-3, protein, healthy fats, minerals and B vitamins in your kids’ diet. Try adding it to sushi, sandwiches or wraps. It also makes for a great breakfast with scrambled eggs on toast.
Giving your kids a healthy, diverse and delicious diet has never been easier thanks to the abundance of food (and recipes!) available to us.