A healthy diet is key to ensuring your child grows and develops properly. Growing children require specific vitamins and minerals to aid in their growth. Add these superfoods to your children’s diet to help them grow strong and healthy.
1. Sweet potatoes
calcium and iron. Sweet potatoes are considered one of the most nutritious vegetables! They are great alone, in casseroles or as delicious baked fries.
Broccoli contains fiber and calcium and helps with vision. It is most nutritious when eaten raw but still beneficial cooked. Broccoli can be a good snack dipped in a little ranch dressing. If your children do not like broccoli, it can be disguised in casseroles, soups and stews.
3. Whole Grains
Whole grains like oats and wheat are a good source of folic acid, fiber, iron, zinc and B vitamins. Some sources are fortified with calcium and vitamin D. Aim to make at least half your grains whole grains.
Cheese is rich in calcium, protein, vitamin B12, and phosphorus. Consuming at least three servings of dairy a day helps build strong bones and teeth and prevent cavities.
Yogurt promotes intestinal health with its healthy bacteria and is a source of calcium and protein.
Tuna is loaded with omega-3 fatty acids, which are important for brain development and heart health. You can use canned tuna to whip up a delicious tuna salad and serve with crackers, over lettuce, on a sandwich or in a pita pocket.
Berries not only taste great, but they are great for you. The brighter the berries, the more nutrients they contain. Berries have phytochemicals and flavanoids that help prevent cancer. They are also low in calories, high in fiber and contain many vitamins and minerals. Berries can be bought fresh or frozen and are deliciously sweet. They can be eaten alone, mixed in smoothies, cereal, salads and oatmeal, or served over ice cream or yogurt.
Eggs are an affordable healthy food. The protein found in eggs is the highest-quality protein, making it a great addition to your diet. The high-quality protein keeps you feeling full longer and aids in building muscle strength. Eggs contain 13 essential nutrients, including those needed for brain function and eye health. Recent studies show that eating an egg a day will not increase your risk for heart disease, as they are lower in cholesterol than originally thought.
Consuming milk is important beginning at birth. It is necessary for building and maintaining strong bones. Milk comes in many forms; cow’s milk, organic milk, soy milk, rice milk, almond milk, condensed milk and evaporated milk. Research has shown that children who drink milk are less likely to drink soda and sweetened juices. Milk is a good source of calcium, vitamins A, D, and B12, protein and potassium. Kids ages 2 to 8 should consume at least two cups of milk a day, and children ages 9 to 18 should have at least three cups a day.
Rachel Sestrich lives in St. Louis with her husband and two daughters. Rachel currently works in research and has a passion for improving childhood nutrition.