Superfoods That Make Super Meals!
As a mom you get very creative with making healthy meals for your child while always being conscious of taste. We know what’s best for them but often times we find ourselves catering to their dietary demands because we are desperate to get them to eat. Speaking to many moms about issues regarding nutrition I know they are not alone in this struggle and it is often distressing because they want to give their child the very best. Well struggle no more because I have a very exciting solution for you! There are superfoods that can be simply added to meals to enhance the nutritional value without compromising taste. This way your child’s meal can appear the same yet you know you’ve giving it a little nutritional enhancement to satisfy your need to give them the very best.
1. Nutritional yeast: It is a deactivated yeast chopped full of B vitamins and is a complete protein source! Not only is it nutritionally beneficial it tastes like cheese so it can be easily added to pasta dishes, chili or even sprinkled on top of popcorn.
2. Protein powder: Whether it be whey, hemp, rice, pea, soy or a blend of these protein powders they are a great way to get protein into your child. Toddlers and children need lots of protein for healthy growth and development so just enhance their meals with a little protein powder. Great ways to do this are by making fruit smoothies or adding it into your baked goods or even pancakes.
3. Extra virgin coconut oil: This is a delicious and healthy saturated fat. Fats have had a bad reputation, but it is important to understand that fats are extremely important for health. Extra virgin coconut oil is a medium chain triglyceride which is easily digested by babies even as young as 6-9 months old. They are rich in Lauric acid which has antimicrobial effects and therefore can boost their immune system. You can add this to any meal, use it as body lotion or cook your vegetables in it.
4. Flax or chia seeds: High in fiber and essential fatty acids these seeds are a simple way to boost the nutritional value of any meal. Always buy the whole seed and grind them right before use. This way you liberate the fatty acids so they can be digested. Buying ground flax seeds means that the omega 3’s have had a long time exposed to oxygen and are likely rancid. Which goes against why you would use them as a omega fatty acid source in the first place. Sprinkle them onto your breakfast cereal or oats, yogurt, smoothie or into your baked treats.
5. Hemp seeds: A complete protein, source of Omega 3, 6 and 9, full of minerals and a great source of fiber. Eating them in raw form they also contain enzymes to aid in the digestion. They have been shown to support the immune system and decrease inflammation. Hemp seeds are a great salad topping, sprinkle them on your oatmeal or just raw on top of your infants pureed veggies.
6. Fish oil: A very high source of omega 3 fatty acids and extremely important for neurological development in children. Fish oil’s are a healthy source of fat and are extremely anti-inflammatory. Its a very easy thing to introduce at a young age so that they grow up used to the taste. There are a wide variety of flavours available such as lemon, orange, mango, strawberry, pomegranate and key lime made to taste great for children and adults alike. They are a pleasant addition to smoothies or a salad dressing.
Wishing you a very satisfying meal time, every time!
Dr. Michelle Peris, ND