Foods you may want to introduce into your kids' diets that you may not have tried yet.
Most kids are usually not particularly adventurous eaters. For some reason, foods in nugget form are overwhelming popular with young ones. And, sometimes little one's taste buds can be completely unpredictable. One day watermelon is their absolute favorite and the next day, how dare you put that on their plate! Some kids naturally have a healthy appetite for nutritious foods, and others have to be pleaded with just to eat something besides crackers.
In any case, I'm not a doctor or food nutritionist. I'm also not here to preach about how healthy my kids diets are. Sometimes my kids eat superfoods and sometimes they eat Happy Meals. This article is just for people looking for new healthy foods to introduce to their children. These are some ideas that have been appealing to one of more of my boys. They are foods that you may not already be purchasing, unlike apples, bananas, oranges, berries, sweet potatoes, carrots and broccoli which you probably buy semi-regularly.
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I try my best to feed my kids something from each color of the rainbow throughout the day. Each of the colors come with their own nutritional benefits. I was told not to worry if your kids don't eat too many vegetables; fruits of the same color probably have similar benefits. One deep red vegetable that I was able to get my kids to eat as toddlers, is the beet. In fact, my middle dragon (D2) LOVED beets when he was younger. Beets are rich in antioxidants and are anti-inflammatory in addition to being a good source of fiber and iron. And, they are so easy to prepare. My husband would pick up some organic beets at the grocery store and simply boil them. (Sometimes we buy golden beets too!) D2 would eat them at room temp, and we would refrigerate the leftovers and he would eat them cold the next day for a different experience! He isn't as into beets now at 5, but they can be blended into smoothies! For more about beets read here.
If you can't get your littles to try beets just boiled or boiled and seasoned, dried beet chips may be something to try. And, moms, one of my favorite salads includes spinach, beets and mushrooms!
Grapefruit has a really unique taste and I never have been a big fan of it. My mom used to put sugar on it before she ate it, and I didn't even like it that way. So, it never occurred to me that my kids would want to try it. But one day, my husband was eating a grapefruit and my kids really wanted to try it. After all it looks like an orange, which of course they like. And, to my surprise both my two older boys (7 and 5) liked it with nothing added! Grapefruit is an extremely healthy citrus fruit, if not the heathiest citrus fruit. For example an orange contains less than 10% DV of Vitamin A, while a grapefruit has more than 50% of an adult's DV. It also has more than 100% of DV of Vitamin C. It is also filled with antioxidants and may even boost your mood! (Please note some medications cannot be taken with grapefruit. always check your labels.) For adults, grapefruit may also help with digestion and in turn weight loss. For more, read here.
MINI SWEET PEPPERS
I think its something about the bright colors but these weren't too hard to get my kids to eat either. And, its those colors that pack the nutritional punch. Red peppers have the highest level of beta-carotene. (Read about the different colors here.) Sweet peppers have a crazy amount of Vitamin C in addition to containing Vitamin B6, Copper, Vitamin K and
Manganese. (Read more about the amounts of these nutrients and what they help with here.) After a few times of seeing me and my husband enjoy them, my kids were willing to taste test. My middle son crunches on them raw. My oldest son eats them with cream cheese. (Which is how I love them too! I, however, add a little sea salt.)
My youngest son is a melon lover. Watermelon and cantaloupe are staples in his diet, especially during the summer. So, we decided to try honeydew melon, even though it wasn't something we usually purchase. Oh my goodness, a ripe honeydew melon is so good and my little guy loves it! You may not be aware that it a good source of potassium and folate. (Read more here.) It's also a great way to keep the kids hydrated after playing outside!
Dragon fruit contains vitamin C, beta-carotene, lycopene and betalain - which all may be helpful in preventing or fighting cancer. Additionally, dragon fruit has prebiotic fiber that supports the growth of probiotics, which we know are good for the immune system! (Read more here.) One really easy way to enjoy dragon fruit is buying it already cut up and frozen. But because the fruit looks so cool, you may want to buy it fresh the first time and have a "dragon" themed day! Personally, I like to put in breakfast popsicles or smoothies. (Click here for my Acai breakfast popsicle recipe for summer.) You can also get it dried as well, but I haven't tried it this way yet! Let me know if you do.
BONUS: JICAMA (New to us!l)
This one we are trying this week! I have never tried it, but I have read its actually a nutritional powerhouse. Jicama has prebiotic fiber like dragon fruit, and notably contains Vitamin C and Vitamin B-6. (Read more here.) It can be eaten a variety of ways but I am going to introduce it my toddler raw cut up in little pieces to look like apple, then put into a fruit salad. (Make sure you peel it, the other parts of the plant beside the inner root are not to be eaten!) I will update the blog to let you know how it goes.