As most people (namely parents) know, kids can be quite picky when it comes to eating. Aside from causing some frustration, their selective tendencies can negatively affect their nutrition as well. Encouraging an increase in fruit and vegetable intake is always advised, but here are some smart tricks to add more nutrition to their diet (and maybe even your own).
These seeds are rich in anti-oxidants, omega-3 fatty acids, and dietary fiber, and are so small you may not even notice they’re there. But remember to provide extra water when you increase dietary fiber intake. Here are some ideas on how to sneak chia seeds into your food:
- Sprinkle it on peanut butter in sandwiches.
- Mix it into homemade meatballs.
- Add it to homemade granola.
- Stir it into oatmeal or yogurt.
- Use it to thicken jam or pudding.
Fortified Nutritional Yeast
Nutritional yeast (or “nooch”) is fortified with vitamin B-12 and is ideal for those who limit meat, fermented food, or dairy intake. It has a mild “cheesy” flavor and can easily be added to snacks and meas. Try sprinkling it on salads, popcorn, pasta, rice, vegetables, or even homemade kale chips.
Loaded with micronutrients such as magnesium and zinc, pumpkin seeds are an excellent addition to your diet. Aside from micronutrients, they also provide a good amount of iron. To include pumpkin seeds in your diet, try these:
- Add them to homemade trail mix or granola.
- Use them as a topping for oatmeal, cereal, yogurt, or salads.
- Roast them with cinnamon, coconut oil, and pure maple syrup.
Turmeric increases antioxidant activity and has great anti-inflammatory benefits. This relatively mild spice can be added to many foods, and will often add a yellow hue to your dishes. The active component in turmeric is curcumin, which is better released with black pepper and some dietary fat in your meals. Here’s how you can add turmeric to your foods:
Add it to oatmeal with pure maple syrup and natural nut butter
Sprinkle it in your scrambled eggs
Stir it into the batter of homemade muffins
Mix it with golden raisins and add it to rice
Increase your vitamin K2 intake by switching to grass-fed sources for your dairy foods. Vitamin K2 is a micronutrient which boasts anti-inflammatory properties and promotes bone and heart health.
Leafy greens are important for our potassium, vitamin K1, magnesium and iron intake. Aside from a salad, here are ways you can eat more leafy greens:
- Make a kale pesto and spread it on toast, a grilled cheese sandwich, or add it to pizza or pasta.
- Purée leafy greens into a soup.
- Add a handful of leafy greens into a fruit smoothie.
While it’s great for tummy troubles and fighting inflammation, ginger can be quite spicy for young palates. Start with a little at a time to see how your little one reacts. You can add ground ginger or freshly grated ginger to fruit salad, applesauce, homemade baked goods and quick breads, or add it to your cooked veggies or oatmeal.
Gut health has an impact on nearly every aspect of your overall health. To promote improved gut health, fermented foods provide a great variety of health-promoting probiotics. You can try to prepare your own kid-friendly fermented foods, or offer classics like yogurt with “live active cultures” or kefir milk.
These are great for vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids. Because kids are not always fond of fish, here are some ideas to get the kiddos to eat up:
- Try making homemade salmon or tuna meatballs using canned wild salmon, bread crumbs, an egg, herbs/spices, and oil. Roll these into balls and then bake them until thoroughly cooked. Pair with their favorite dipping sauce and you’re good to go.
- Try a tuna apple melt. Top a slice of bread with thinly cut or diced apples and tuna and then melt a piece of cheese over the top in the oven.
Cilantro is a great source of fat soluble vitamins A and K, and is also known for its natural detoxification properties. Diced cilantro goes well with tacos and quesadillas, or it can be puréed or blended into guacamole or pesto. You can even add a handful to a fruit smoothie or soups.
How do you keep your picky eaters from missing out on great nutrition? Any nutrition tricks you use for yourself? Share your tips and tricks with us on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and Pinterest.
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