As a parent you get very creative with making healthy meals for your child while always being conscious of taste. You know what’s best for them but often times we find ourselves catering to their dietary demands because we are desperate to get them to eat. Speaking to many moms about issues regarding nutrition I know they are not alone in this struggle and it is often distressing because they want to give their child the very best. Well struggle no more because I have a very exciting solution for you! There are superfoods that can be simply added to meals to enhance the nutritional value without compromising taste. This way your child’s meal can appear the same yet you know you’ve giving it a little nutritional enhancement to satisfy your need to give them the very best.
- Nutritional yeast: It is a deactivated yeast so those who are concerned about yeast containing meals, this is not your typical yeast. It is chopped full of B vitamins and is a complete protein source! Not only is it nutritionally beneficial it tastes like cheese so it can be easily added to pasta dishes, chili or even sprinkled on top of popcorn.
- Protein powder: Whether it be whey, hemp, rice, pea, soy or a blend of these protein powders they are a great way to get protein into your child. Toddlers and children need lots of protein for healthy growth and development so just enhance their meals with a little protein powder. Great ways to do this are by making fruit smoothies or adding it into your baked goods or even pancakes.
- Extra virgin coconut oil: This is a delicious and healthy saturated fat. Fats have had a bad reputation, but it is important to understand that fats are extremely important for health. Extra virgin coconut oil is a medium chain triglyceride which are easily digestible by even babies as young as 6-9 months old. They are rich in Lauric acid which has antimicrobial effects and therefore can boost their immune system. You can add this to any meal, use it as body lotion or cook your vegetables in it.
- Flax or chia seeds: High in fiber and essential fatty acids these seeds are a simple way to boost the nutritional value of any meal. Always buy the whole seed and grind them right before use. This way you liberate the fatty acids so they can be digested. Buying ground flax seeds means that the omega 3’s have had a long time exposed to oxygen and are likely rancid. Which goes against why you would use them as a omega fatty acid source in the first place. Sprinkle them onto your breakfast cereal or oats, yogurt treat, smoothie or into your baked treats.
- Hemp seeds: A complete protein, source of Omega 3, 6 and 9, full of minerals and a great source of fiber. To learn more check out my post on the benefits of hemp seeds. Hemp seeds are a great salad topping, sprinkle them on your oatmeal or turn them into a gravy.
- Fish oil: A very high source of omega 3 fatty acids and extremely important for neurological development in children. Fish oil’s are a healthy source of fat and are extremely anti-inflammatory. Its a very easy thing to introduce at a young age so that they grow up used to the taste. You can add it to a smoothie or salad dressing. There are a wide variety of flavours available so its a pleasant addition to a wide variety of meals.
In great health & happiness,
Dr. Michelle Peris is a Naturopathic Doctor whose goal is to inspire health through educating, motivating and empowering people. She has a family based practice out of a clinic in Oakville, Ontario.
Contact Dr. Michelle today to book your 15 minute complimentary consult.