Top 3 Superhero Ingredients & Easy Ways to Get Them into Your Kid’s Diet. Guest Blog
Give us another food stick and we’ll beat ourselves with it when it comes to feeding our children. Why can’t I breastfeed properly? Baby led weaning or no? Why do my kids refuse to eat anything with green in it?
I’m currently on a mission to come up with easy ways of packing as much nutrition into every meal I make for my son as I can, without the resulting spit out, throw about or mush up. Speaking to friends with older children it seems an ongoing theme, so I thought I’d share my top 3 Superhero ingredients and some simple ideas for getting them into your little Superheroes.
I’m in love with this stuff and I’m not the only one: back in the day in Mexico, Chia was so highly regarded for its punch packing nutritional content they used it as currency! The Aztecs used it as the original Superfood and swore that just a spoonful of Chia a day could fuel them in battle for up to 24 hours.
So what is it that makes these unassuming little seeds so good for you? Chia has roughly 3 x the amount of iron than Spinach, is packed with minerals and vitamins (A, B, D and E) and is rich in antioxidants. Add that to that the fact that Chia is 37% dietary fibre (a one-ounce serving of chia has 11 grams of dietary fibre which is about a third of the recommended daily intake for adults), is one of the richest sources of antioxidants around and with a healthy helping of Omega-3’s to throw into the ring, it pretty much gives you a nutritional powerhouse. Chia is known to be great for heart and digestive health, amazing for skin repair, has calcium and boron which make for healthy bones and muscle and has so many other benefits, it makes getting it into your diet a bit of a no brainer. Quick ways to add it to your children’s food repertoire
The best thing about Chia is that it’s really easy to add to your food. There’s an argument that it’s better for you and easier to digest if you soak it overnight or grind it but it’s still pretty amazing in its simple seed form-it’s tasteless so you can just pop it in salad dressings, sprinkle a bit into your mash, add it to your sauces or add some to your cereal.
For a quick breakfast fix, I cook organic porridge oats using half quantity of coconut milk and half almond milk, then sprinkle on a generous spoonful of chia, drizzle over some Agave Syrup or sweetener of your choice and add some berries.
There’s more to basil it seems, than being a mean accompaniment to a tomato and mozzarella salad! It’s crammed with Omega-3 fatty acid, vitamins A (just 100g of fresh leaves are said to contain a whopping 175% of an adult’s daily required dose of vitamin A), C and K, as well as iron, potassium and calcium, and is also known for its natural anti-inflammatory properties. For us that’s all great news, because wrapped up in this one little leaf come some great health benefits which contribute to everything from good vision and strong bones, to a healthy heart and improved brain function.
There’s a huge variety of Basil to choose from including Sweet (the most common), Ararat, Lemon, Lime, Dark Opal, Cinnamon and Christmas. Holy Basil (known as the ‘hot’ basil used in Thai and Indian cooking) has been used in Ayurveda for thousands of years to treat coughs and colds and is believed to help cleanse the body, get rid of toxins from the respiratory tract and
ease gas and bloating.
Easy ways to use it
Good old Pesto and Wholegrain Pasta has proved to be a winner in our house. To get the maximum nutrients out of the basil, making the Pesto fresh is better if you have the time. I tend to use this simple recipe which gives great results: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/easy-pesto/. Alternatively, a few Tulsi leaves can add a lovely Thai style flavour to a healthy
chicken stir fry, or you could try “hiding” some finely chopped or ground Sweet Basil into sauces and soups.
If Sweet Potatoes were to list their super powers, they might read something like this:
• Sweet Potatoes are old souls and are known to have been around as early as 750BC in Peru. We have a raft of celebrity friends-in fact George Washington was a fan!
• Nutritionally superior to your bog standard potato, Sweet Potatoes are rich in Manganese helping keep you fuller for longer, have high quantities of B6 crucial for heart health, and are a great source of Beta-carotene which helps repair skin suffering from UV damage.
• Sweet Potatoes are packed full of vitamins C and E which play an important role in disease prevention and longevity (and importantly keep your skin ‘glowy’ and your hair shiny!).
Because Sweet Potatoes have a sweet, wholesome flavour, they tend to be popular with children. I tend to mash them up and use them to hide the less popular goodies (namely fish in our house) or make Sweet Potato “dippy wedges” by rolling them in Olive Oil and Paprika or Thyme, roasting them in the oven, and then dipping them in fresh tomato salsa, Greek Yoghurt or Hummus.
Got any other super ingredients you’d like to put to the vote? We’d love to hear from you!