A Science Teacher, Content creator, constant Learner and a Mother.
What are Superfoods? Are Superfoods good for kids?
Food rich in nutrients and loaded with health benefits is termed Superfoods. They are usually plant-based and rich in antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals-- easily available in our humble kitchen.
The nutrition of the child starts as soon as the mother conceives. The mother is advised to think positive, be happy and stress-free, read good books, mingle with people who have positive vibes, etc. All this is done for the sound mental health of the mother which would, directly and indirectly, affect the baby.
This is accompanied by nutritious food for the mother and growing fetus in the womb. So, it becomes very important to have nutritious food or superfood to counter malnourishment, poor mental development in the developing fetus.
As superfoods are consumed during the prenatal period by the mother, so it becomes even more necessary to continue consuming after the child is born(postnatal period ) and during the growth period of the child to adulthood.
Types of Superfoods
Superfoods form the basis of the overall development of the child. In today's time, it is needed even more as children need to build a strong immunity to fight constant weather changes, food adulteration, pollution, deadly microbes, packaged food, fast food, etc. There are 12 superfoods every parent should include in their child's diet to make them healthy and disease-free.
1. Leafy greens
Locally grown leafy greens are best for the growing child. Depending on the location, one can select their local greens. Some of the examples could be spinach, lettuce, cabbage, kale, broccoli, mustard greens, turnip greens, beetroot greens to name a few.
They are rich in nutrients, roughage, folate, calcium, vitamin C, and low in calories. It is very difficult to make kids eat these greens, but can be given to kids as dips, chutneys, spreads, salads.
Berries are rich in antioxidants, vitamins, potassium, phytoflavinoids and are believed to boost immunity if taken in small doses. They are a very good source of vitamin C for the growing child.
Some examples could be blueberries, Indian gooseberry, acai berries, grapes, strawberries. They help in making skin glow, are good for hair growth, etc.
Indian gooseberry is rich in vitamin C. One Indian gooseberry is believed to have the goodness of ten oranges combined. It improves gut health, is good for eye vision, best for skin and hair health.
Acai berry is rich in antioxidants and increases hemoglobin level in the blood, fights cancer, improves liver functioning, and makes the heart healthy.
Eggs are nature's multivitamin. Eggs are loaded with minerals, proteins, good fats, vitamins, potassium, zinc, folate, etc. They help in child's brain development as it is rich in brain nutrients.
Eggs can be consumed hard-boiled, made into omelets, poached eggs, etc. Kids usually love having eggs in the morning while some kids may prefer it during the evening time. An egg is a whole meal--so, including it in the diet can be a breather for parents of fussy eaters.
Legumes include black beans, lentils, chickpeas, peanuts, horse gram, etc. They are high in iron, fiber, proteins. Legumes are rich in roughage, so are good for gut health. It keeps your kid's tummy full for a long time.
Legumes contain antioxidants that fight free radicals which might cause various diseases. They stop any inflammation that might have occurred due to any food. If the child is obese then it can help in weight loss.
5.Nuts and Seeds
Nuts and seeds include almonds, cashews, hazelnuts, pumpkin seeds, walnuts, pistachios, etc. Children love eating nuts and seeds. Nuts are a quick healthy snack.
Nature has given us nuts and seeds with particular shapes so that it becomes easy for laymen to understand. For Example, walnuts look like a human brain, so help in the brain development of the growing child. Almonds have the shape of the eyes, so is good for the eyes.
Nuts and seeds are rich in antioxidants and vitamins, minerals, proteins, and fibers. They are rich in good fats also. They too help to keep the child full for a longer time.
Nuts and seeds can be made into protein bars, powdered and mixed with milk to get a healthy drink, sprinkled in desserts to enhance the nutritional value.
Yogurt is one of the best superfoods for kids. They are packed with proteins, calcium. They have probiotics like Lactobacillus, acidophilus which promote the smooth functioning of a healthy gut. Yogurt is believed to boost immunity and aid in good sleep. They help improve bone health.
Yogurt can be taken with date syrup, jaggery, it can be added to fruits to improve its nutritional value. It can be eaten with rice also.
7. Ginger and Garlic
Ginger and garlic are a staple of every kitchen. They too are loaded with massive health benefits. They should be taken in small quantities every day to see better results.
Ginger is rich in vitamin B6, vitamin C, iron, fiber, phosphorus, calcium, zinc, proteins, sodium. Ginger is commonly used to relieve cough, cold, etc. They are good for kids with gas problems or flatulence, it makes liver strong, boosts immunity, aids in digestion,
Garlic is a good source of manganese, iron, potassium, vitamin B6; all vital nutrients needed for the growing child. They also have anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties which help to protect kids from infection.
children can be ginger and garlic in small quantities-- ginger Julienne can be added to soups and garlic can be used to saute' the soup, they can have ginger candy--shredded ginger mixed with honey.
Turmeric is anti-allergic,anti-bacterial, and anti-inflammatory in nature. It is rich in vitamin C, antioxidants, iron, potassium.
They are good for gut health--kill microbes present in the intestine. They boost immunity. They are a must addition in cooking in Indian kitchens as they impart color to the food and also aids digestion.
kids can be given turmeric by adding a pinch of it to milk--it help in digestion, relieves respiratory congestion, and induces good sleep.
It's no secret--fruits are superfoods. They are rich in vitamins, minerals, fiber. There is a rainbow of colors to choose from.--provide a rich source of antioxidants that help to fight various diseases.
Fruits promote good health, strengthen the immune system, protect against diseases, and the fibers present aid in good digestion.
Fruits can be consumed as juices without sugars, can be eaten raw, made into a fruit salad, added to yogurt to increase nutritional value, can be made into a fruit chat.
Mushroom or edible fungi are very nutritious food for kids. They are a natural source of vitamin D, Most children suffer from vitamin D deficiency--including it into your child's diet will meet the daily vitamin D requirement of the body. They are rich in iron--helps in making new blood cells which will help the child to be active. Red blood cells will help supply oxygen to all parts of the body.
Mushroom boosts immunity which is needed for the healthy development of the body. They are rich in antioxidants and help to fight various diseases. They are rich in calcium and is full of proteins.
Sprouts are regarded as the best protein food for kids. When you keep the grains soaked in water for hours, tiny, tender white shoots grow from the grains. They are called sprouts. They have 30% more nutrition than cooked food.
Sprouting increases the nutrition content of seeds and grains to ten folds. They are loaded with vitamin C and vitamin B. They are a good source of protein and antioxidants. They are rich in fibers and help avoid constipation.
Sprouts can be made into a fresh salad. Many kids don't like the raw taste of sprouts so they can be semi-boiled and eaten. This is a wonder food, so parents should include it in their child's diet to reap good health for their kids.
Jaggery or Gur in Hindi is a natural healthy sweetener. The jaggery is primarily made from sugarcane, other alternatives are dates palms. It tastes less sweet than maple syrup and a little thicker than honey. Jaggery should be consumed in less quantity-in milk, homemade sweets, tea, etc. It contains molasses( rich in nutrients like minerals and vitamin B), a viscous product as a result obtained from refining sugar.
It is believed jaggery generates heat in the body so preferably be consumed more in winters. They prevent constipation, enhance the production of digestive enzymes, and also act as laxatives. It is rich in iron so prevents anemia. It prevents respiratory problems as it is believed to purify the lungs.
Food plays a vital role in our life and nature has blessed us with a variety of good food to choose from. To add to that we have superfoods that will help to achieve the desired results.
Children are the future of the country, so it is the duty of us parents to make sure our children are fit, healthy, and disease-free. Giving a balanced diet to our children and involving various superfoods can help build a healthy child who is physically and mentally sound.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2021 Poonam Francis