5 Health Foods You Can (and Should!) Sneak into Your Child’s Diet
Trying to get kids to eat good, wholesome food is so hard. Most of them turn up their noses to anything green and scream out in disgust when they spot cauliflower on their plates. I know one child who won’t even eat fruit!
So how do you ensure they’re consuming all those good-for-you vitamins and minerals to stay healthy and strong? With creativity and a little bit of sneakiness, you can definitely get them to eat healthier. Below are a few health foods, their benefits and ways to get your kids to eat them without even realizing it!
Pumpkin seeds are packed with magnesium, zinc and tryptophan. These nutrients protect our hearts, lower blood pressure and help us sleep (calling all sleep-deprived parents!).
Pumpkin seeds are relatively tasteless. Kids may be a little apprehensive to try them but they probably won’t reject them based on flavor. Here are some ways to add them to your child’s diet:
- Put them in your smoothies - blenders grind them right up!
- Crush and add them as a crunchy crust to baked chicken, steak or fish.
- Sprinkle pumpkin seeds with cinnamon, mix with honey and roast them for a sweet and crunchy treat
Spinach is loaded with tons of beneficial nutrients, such as antioxidants, iron, vitamin K and vitamin A. Those vitamins and minerals support our eye health, bone strength and immune systems.
When mixed with other foods, spinach’s flavor is often overshadowed. It should be pretty easy to add spinach to your child’s meals in one of these ways:
- This is another one you can add to smoothies. It sometimes turns your smoothie to a fun green slime color if mixed with bananas, mangoes and pineapple. Kids love that!
- There are a lot of kid-friendly muffin, waffle and brownie recipes that include spinach. A quick google search will reveal lots of recipes.
- Chop up spinach and add it to meatballs.
Ground flaxseeds are full of fiber, omega-3 fatty acids and lignans (antioxidants). They aid digestion, lower cholesterol and improve your blood sugar. You can add ground flaxseed to eggs, yogurt or oatmeal. It’s relatively easy to put flaxseed in cookies and cupcakes too.
And, bonus! Kween’s granola butter already has that golden flax goodness.
Sweet potatoes have vitamin A, carotenoids, potassium and vitamin C. These nutrients support our eye health and immune systems. They also help regulate blood sugar levels.
You would expect kids to adore sweet potatoes. Unfortunately, many still reject them despite their fun color and how sweet they are. If your child refuses to eat sweet potatoes mashed, you can sneak them into mealtime by making sweet potato-based muffins, spiralizing them or even cutting, salting and roasting them into chips.
Turmeric has anti-inflammatory properties, and it’s also an antioxidant. Scientists are currently studying its positive effect on mental health issues, such as depression, too!
Obviously, it’s a super spice but it is very flavorful on its own. Since strong flavors and kids don’t mix, you’ll most certainly need to sneak it into their meals. Luckily, you only need a small amount of turmeric to reap its health benefits. Sprinkle it into tomato sauce, mac and cheese, soup and baked goods.
Now go have fun and keep those kids healthy!
I hope you and your family have fun (and success!) experimenting all of these different ways to add healthy foods to mealtime. If you come up with your own creative ideas, please be sure to share them!
Gina Kelly is a freelance health and wellness writer. She lives in NJ with her husband, two kids and two yorkies. When she isn’t chasing down her family with forkfuls of broccoli, you can find her hiking, reading historical fiction or researching the latest wellness trend. Connect with her at www.ginanicolekelly.com.