Let your kids munch on these superfoods to get all the nutrients they need.
WORDS TEO KUAN YEE
You are what you eat – so it makes sense to choose quality foods that will provide the essential nutrients for junior. These superfoods will help build strong bones and immunity system, and even benefit junior’s vision (important given this digital age). As we all need a variety of foods to keep us healthy, it is good to expose junior to as many of the superfoods as possible so that he can develop a liking for them that will hopefully carry the healthy eating habits into adulthood.
‘An apple a day keeps the doctor away’, as the saying goes. Brimming with fibre, vitamin C, and antioxidants, the apple provides a natural sweet treat for junior’s post-meal snack. Shave off the skin (it may be too tough for kids to bite) and slice them up into tiny bite-friendly morsels. Some fast food restaurants serve them in ready-to-eat and cute packaging to entice junior to choose fruit over fries.
The family of berries, especially blueberries, and together with raspberries, strawberries, and cranberries, help to add a pop of colour to your child’s meals. Blueberries carry much vitamin E, as well as vitamin C and iron. The vitamins help to protect the heart and arteries, and the nervous system.
Steamed and mixed with tomato sauce or mushroom cream sauce, or baked with a bit of butter for extra flavour, this power-packed vegetable contains cell-protecting antioxidants, fibre and a range of vitamins.
Containing starch, rice is slowly absorbed and digested by our bodies, providing the blood sugar that releases energy.
Compared with white rice, brown rice provides a steady stream of blood sugar that
better fuels junior’s expending energy needs as he charges through the day.
Soak it overnight to soften it before mixing it with white rice
to slowly get junior to accept the taste.
There are also brown rice cereal, crackers, bread and pasta too.
An excellent source of beta carotene, carrots help improve junior’s night vision and build strong immunity. Chopped carrots can be steamed or boiled in soups to draw out their natural sweetness.
A handy and tasty snack for junior, cheeses come in all sorts of packed variety – cheese cubes, mozzarella toppings, and sliced cheeses that provide protein, calcium, vitamin D, and phosphorus. When eaten at the end of a meal, protein from cheese is absorbed onto the teeth surface which delays the onslaught of dental caries.
Offering protein, Omega-3 fats and vitamins A and D (this helps the body absorb calcium), eggs can be served up in an exciting array of dishes – scrambled, sunny-side up or mixed with ham or cheese. This is a great option for breakfast to provide the energy that junior needs to power him through the morning.
An excellent source of vitamin C, oranges are also a very good source of dietary fibre, B vitamins including vitamin B1, pantothenic acid, and folate as well as vitamin A, calcium, copper and potassium.
Similar health benefits can also be found in fresh orange juice
which might be more palatable for junior.
An oily fish, this provides a good source of essential fats that support brain function and the immune system. It is also versatile – it cooks easily either pan-fried (steak or belly) with a bit of vegetable oil, or steamed (select the tail section which has no bone) with soy sauce, and its flaky texture with a mild flavour which will please any picky eater.
Brightly coloured cherry tomatoes help fussy eaters who do not like eating vegetables. Chop or blend them into pasta sauce – they contain a pigment called lycopene which prevents cancer. They are also a good source of vitamin C, potassium, manganese, dietary fibre, vitamin A (in the form of beta-carotene), vitamin B6, folate, vitamin E, and phosphorus.
A better dessert choice than sugary ice-cream, and easier on the stomach than milk, yoghurt provides calcium, protein, and phosphorus which help build strong bones and teeth.
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